Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Comments part 2 - Like father like son



The critic from part one went on to say:


“The final chapters of Part 1 feels sloppily put together.”

I then asked the critic if he had viewed the video and this was his response.

“No, I didn't watch the video when I wrote the comment. I just assumed that it was the one about the man who unlearned, after some time, to ride a normal bike, and learned to ride a reverse bike he engineered. 

Now, I've re-watched the video. And yes, I was thinking of this one. I think you really could just describe it, and save the reader the trouble. It's a great bonus for the reader who actually does bother of course. But sometimes, it might not be convenient for them to watch a YouTube video (by typing out the link, or going to your blog, no less), and they just want to read. What then?” 


Yes, the critic has a valid point. It is my mistake in assuming that all readers will have a smart phone where they will check out the video I had mentioned in my book. My only defense is that I had mentioned in ‘Author’s Note’ that ‘Without listening to the links attached the material in this book will not be as meaningful or useful’.

I did not want to repeat what was in the video as the point I want to put across will be clear from watching the video. I thought it is easier to demonstrate via the video rather than explaining it.
Anyway, let me explain the video, as the critic pointed out that some readers may not view the video.

A special bike was built by some engineers which turns left when you turn the handle to the right and turns right when you turn the handle to the left.

It took the rider 8 months of 5 minutes a day to be able to ride the bike whilst his son learned to ride a similar bike in two weeks.

What he is trying to portray is that once something has been learned for a long time it is difficult to change your thinking. The older you get the lesser the plasticity of the brain. (See chapter on plasticity of the brain page 23). 

The failed attempts of the bike riding illustrate how our brain tricks us into thinking the same way (bias). And the more rigid our thinking, the more difficult it can become to change.

This is why it can be difficult to unlearn something. (See chapter on unlearn page 75). It takes me about one month to get my students to unlearn all the wrong teaching they have learned in kindergarten and primary one. This too is explained by the fact that once the bike rider had learned to ride the special bike he could not ride a normal bike.

As I have explained in my book I don’t know why about 70% of the kids in the world don’t seem to have any problem reading regardless of the way they have been taught. I am only writing about the 30% of kids who find it difficult to change their mind set.  

Since I am writing about the bike I might as well write about something I wrote on Facebook about cognitive bias which I had read on the internet.

Anchoring is a cognitive bias that describes the tendency for an individual to rely too heavily on an initial piece of information offered (known as the "anchor") when making decisions. 

The video is to emphasise my point on initial learning as mentioned in the chapter ‘Importance of initial learning’ on page 35.

When we make decisions we tend to be swayed by what we remember. What we remember is influenced by many things including things like frequency of exposure. 

When a child has been exposed to the wrong sounds of alphabets (explained in part ii of my book) his anchor has been fixed and he shuts down when something completely different is taught to him. 


From the comments I have received I have learned one thing. Don’t be harsh on your children when they are young for they will turn and be harsh on you when you have grown old and they have attained adulthood like the critic above.

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