Date: Aug 6, 2013 5:22 AM
Author: GS Chandy
Subject: Re: PUSHING children to learn math Vs. ENCOURAGING children to learn math
Further my post dt. Jun 26, 2013 12:13 PM - http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2578579 - (which appears below my signature for ready reference, it seems that some of us are suffering from the same old delusion that it is necessary to PUSH children to learn math rather than to ENCOURAGE them.
For whatever good it may (or may not) do, I provide a link to an interesting document that suggests the opposite:
"Guiding Parents in Helping Children Learn"
(IMHO, it's not the best guide that could have been written - and it probably isn't the best guide that's available today - but it does seem to be fairly competent, nonetheless.
(I.e., for whatever it's worth, the Guide suggests that it is much better to ENCOURAGE children to learn math rather than to PUSH them to do it).
("Still Shoveling [not PUSHING]"!)
GSC had posted Jun 26, 2013 12:13 PM (http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2578579)
> Robert Hansen (RH) believes that it is necessary
> (perhaps even essential) to PUSH children to learn
> math. There have recently been a fair number of
> exchanges between RH and myself that involved our
> different understandings of the verbs "TO PUSH" and
> "TO ENCOURAGE" and their relative utility in human
> I believe, on the other hand, that (in nominally
> democratic regimes at least) it is quite
> inappropriate to PUSH children to learn math (or,
> indeed, to learn anything or to do anything at all).
> The 'right' approach (in nominally democratic
> c regimes) is to ENCOURAGE children to learn math
> (or, indeed, to learn anything or to do anything at
> It is true that, in our existing societal,
> educational and 'home' systems, there is much more
> PUSH (and, indeed, SHOVE and even BEAT) than
> ENCOURAGEMENT in a great many of our (adult)
> interactions with children. Likewise in our
> interactions, with other adults as well!
> I claim that this sad truth is, in fact, evidence
> that we adults have failed to understand 'democracy'
> and, for that matter, that we've failed to understand
> just how we should learn to live in society with
> each other.
> In particular, the children suffer the most because
> of this grievious 'societal failure' of us adults -
> they have to be (and are) PUSHED to do things and to
> learn the things that we adults want them to do. To
> a great extent, we adults may believe we 'succeed' in
> teaching them appropriate behaviour and disciplines -
> but, in fact, practically all our interactions (with
> each other and with children) in modern society are
> testaments to our utter failure as thinking human
> I claimed above that "the children suffer the most":
> the statement requires some qualification: I have
> not seen and have rather rarely heard of mothers
> PUSHING (or otherwise FORCING) their infant children
> to do most of the things those infants need to do to
> grow up from infancy into childhood. Rather, they
> mainly depend on the huge power of ENCOURAGEMENT of
> their infants to do (and otherwise learn) the things
> they must.
> Quite soon, however (within just a year or so as a
> matter of fact), the rest of society including the
> fathers intrude - and the PUSHING (and the SHOVING
> and the FORCING) starts. Even the mothers (who
> initially had entirely ENCOURAGED their infant
> children to do and to learn) now start PUSHING and
> SHOVING and FORCING!!! Slowly but insidiously, the
> PUSHING takes over - until practically all of our
> social interactions are based on the power of PUSHING
> (and SHOVING).
> It is my claim that - for the most effective learning
> (whether of math or of anything else), we need to
> re-learn the power of ENCOURAGEMENT (as opposed to
> PUSHING). There is a wholesale re-education required
> in society for this to happen: it may take a couple
> of generations to bring such a happy situation about.
> Our re-education must start somewhere - and it might
> as well be with us adults learning that infants and
> children can, in fact, learn practically everything
> they need in life most effectively through the power
> of ENCOURAGEMENT rather than through the power of
> Most of my postings at Math-teach are, in fact, based
> on the clear understanding I have that ENCOURAGEMENT
> (of infants, children and adults as well) is
> significantly more effective in most circumstances
> than PUSHING and FORCING. I have often written of
> the utility of the relationship "CONTRIBUTES TO" to
> help us understand the complex systems within which
> we live and work. The importance of "CONTRIBUTES TO"
> in systems is in fact derived from the power of
> ENCOURAGING human beings to do things rather than
> PUSHING, SHOVING or otherwise FORCING them to do
> things. The attachments to my post heading the
> thread "Democracy: how to achieve it" (see
> provide brief descriptions of tools that can help
> apply the transitive relationship "CONTRIBUTES TO" to
> help us model (and adequately understand) real-life
> issues in complex systems.
> (With due apologies to Kirby Urner for the number of
> words capitalised in the above - I'm afraid that
> Math-teach provides us no other less intrusive way of
> emphasising important words and ideas).
> ------- End of Forwarded Message
> Message was edited by: GS Chandy
> Message was edited by: GS Chandy
Message was edited by: GS Chandy