Re: report on how kids can't write

Subject: Re: report on how kids can't write
From: Kathy Vincent <vincentk -at- WFU -dot- EDU>
Date: Sun, 14 Aug 1994 12:18:29 GMT

Yes, but ... on the other hand, just how complicated an explanation
can you give to a kid? "Person, place, thing, or idea" is fine for starters.
Get the basic message in, tweak and/or elaborate upon the semantics later
-- when kids know what "semantics" means ...

Recently, I read SPinker's _The_Language_Instinct_ -- which I
thoroughly enjoyed. He did have one habit, however, that annoyed me,
and that was saying pretty much the same thing your college
professor said. And yet when he would say, "this is what it REALLY
means," all he was doing was giving an expanded, farther along
the educational path version of what he was saying was "wrong."

Personally, I think it was a mistake for your prof to say
"forget everything you ever learned." No one ever told me that,
and I managed to make the transition just fine.

Kids don't start out with neurolinguistics and cognitive science
and transformational grammar. They don't start off with words
like "behavior" and "semantics" and "appalled" and "category."
They start off with birds and bees and dogs and cats and run and
walk and eat and swing etc.

If college/university didn't teach us something new, expand our
base of information and knowledge, we wouldn't need colleges and
universities. But if students don't arrive in colleges and
universities with a good base to expand and to elaborate upon --
so that a prof can say a "thing" is not just a concrete object
you can see or hold in your hand, but also refers to abstract
"things" such as behavior and skill and and and -- the expansion
on the concept of "noun" may well be missed or misunderstood.

In all training and education, we build upon and expand upon
what went before. Unless you're Picasso, you don't start out
drawing like Raphael. You don't start life playing professional
soccer or hockey like Pele or Gretzky. You don't start life
on the high dive or deep sea diving -- you gotta learn to
float FIRST and breathe FIRST and swim FIRST. Then you move
on to the Big Stuff. If I'm teaching basic UNIX courses to people,
I don't start off with an elaborate explanation of internals.
I start off with a few basic commands and then, once things are
rolling along, I can say, "Remember this? Here's what's happening
behind the scenes," or "now let's make that more flexible and more
powerful by ...." I talk about files and terminals and printers --
and only later go on to explain, "Remember when ... well, all
those terminals and printers are nothing but 'files' as far as
the operating system goes." Try telling that to a beginner with
no computer experience.

Same thing.

My two cents.

vincentk -at- wfu -dot- edu
Kathy Vincent vincentk -at- ac -dot- wfunet -dot- wfu -dot- edu
"I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as
a week sometimes to make it up."
-- Mark Twain "The Innocents Abroad"

Previous by Author: Re: Hobbe's Internet timeline
Next by Author: Need subscriber how-to info
Previous by Thread: Re: report on how kids can't write
Next by Thread: Re: report on how kids can't write

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads