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October 05, 2008

Comments

Joanne

I have to agree with point number 6 here. I have a 3 year old who reads at a 1st grade level, knows her letters, numbers, counting, shapes, addition and subtraction. She also has a large vocabulary. She can write several letters. People are always amazed and talk about how intelligent she is and ask if she is gifted.

No, like all kids her age, she is capable of learning so I teach her. All parents need to do is take a little time everyday to teach. You can teach small children simple concepts throughout the day. Teach them counting and patterns when they play with blocks. Have them sort mixed vegetables at the dinner table. Add and subtract fruit at the grocery store. Read a wide variety of books to expand their vocabulary. Take them on nature walks. Buy a preschool workbook and do a couple of pages everyday. I could go on and on. Keep it fun when they are small so they will develop a love of learning.

I recently took my daughter to an arts & crafts activity. Even though the kids were given safety scissors, none of the other parents allowed their children to do any cutting. My daughter was the only one who knew how to color a whole picture. I was amazed that other parents weren't teaching these things. Parents shouldn't be afraid to let their kids use scissors or manipulate small objects. Just watch them. Spend time with them.

I talked to a Kindergarten teacher who works at a "good school" in a middle class area. She said too many kids enter school with little or no basic knowledge. Not because they are dumb but because no one teaches them. The kids who do have this knowledge are then held back by the kids who don't.

Parents have been told by "experts" that learning will damage their kids and turn them off learning. Any teaching is seen as pressure. Just let them play. Thanks to this way of thinking and the harm it has done we now have 8 hours schools, limited recess, standardized tests at the elementary level and English and Math all day everyday.

Amol Arora

Interesting read. I totally agree with this post.

However, the Indian Schooling system is like a factory with stress on conforming rather than creativity. I agree that this pressure does help distractions but it also robs children of their ability to question, think for themselves and innovate - A trend reflected in the kind of industries in the country. Schools & parents are realizing this and thankfully the Indian system is moving towards incorporating aspects of the US system and blending them in the Indian context.

Bob Compton replies:

I have to challenge you on your contention that Indians lack creativity because of their education system. My companies employ over 400 Indians in India and many more in the U.S. - I have found them to be more creative in science, technology and new product creation than most Americans.

Maybe you have had different experiences, but "Americans" do not have a monopoly on creativity and most lack the solid foundation in science and math to be creative in higher order technologies.

Moreover, I have taught classes in inner city Memphis - if Indian schools are "factories", U.S. urban schools are poor performing sweat shops.

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