Thursday, December 11, 2008

Testing times

Linnea is four-and-a-half now and we met the woman who used to be our local librarian, before the library closed for refurbishments. We met her at the rehomed Singalong session in the church next door to the library, and she was delighted to see us. She sat down to chat to Linnea and very quickly she asked "How old are you?" and "How high can you count? Can you count up to twenty?"

Linnea, brilliantly, said "No, I don't have twenty fingers. I only have ten."

Some discussion of toes ensued.

Then the librarian asked "Are you going to teach her her times tables?" to which I said "I'm sure she'll learn them when she sees they're useful." "Oh, because I learned mine and I can still remember instantly - instantly! - any of them."

All I could come up with in response to that was "I can't."

Oh, and I showed her how to do the nine times tables on her fingers.

And then Linnea borrowed her fingers to make more sets of three and did some multiplying.

(Linnea is very focussed on three times four and four times three at the moment.)

I was struck by academic-testing-as-conversation, indeed.

2 comments:

micheinnz said...

Academic-testing-as-conversation is related to racing babies. Chances are SHE knows a child who can do x, y and z at Linnea's age and the fact that Linnea can't or doesn't is Proof that said child is cleverer than Linnea. Or something.

Dealing with people is hard. Let's do particle physics.

Louise said...

Or it's just not having very long to talk and not knowing how else to draw the kid out. I've found myself in conversations with small kids which are mainly questions on my part and responses on theirs, in situations where I wasn't inclined to wait to see whether/what the kid wanted to talk and I wanted to have had some interaction (like a visit or phone-conversation with far-away niblings), oh, and also where I was more likely to understand what the child was saying if I picked the topic. To be sure, I don't usually ask about arithmetic, more about things like what they had for lunch and what they are doing.

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