Did you know that 1 + 1 = 10? Impossible you say? Google it! Find yourself website with a simple explanation and read through it or watch a video on it. You’ll find out that it’s true. If you get the explanation, you understand why that is possible and two is not the correct answer in this case. Or is it? 🙂 Don’t you worry. Math is still Math and 1 + 1 still equals two. Yeah, some of you geeky people probably know why. But if you are following what I am getting at, when you know why, your world of understanding opens just a little bit more.
Today schools teach these new ways of learning math. What happened to adding numbers and carrying the one?!?!?!? Why is learning math so difficult now? It’s because the teachers and curriculum designers want your kids to understand why? If they understand the why, they understand the answer, they will have learned, and their world will have opened just a little bit more.
Let me put it another way. Imagine trying to create a musical number without first knowing what the keys on the piano meant or having any idea of music theory. Near impossible right? Sure you can copy someone else’s work, perhaps play it by ear. But trying to create your own piece and not understanding just the basics of music is like having both your hands and feet tied together and then jumping into the deep end thinking you win Olympic Gold swimming freestyle. You wouldn’t! You wouldn’t expect yourself to do any swimming much less win anything. But if you just struggled enough to free yourself of those ropes holding your hands and feet together, you just might give yourself a chance to. Learn the notes on the piano enough to sight read music and you can add that trill in Für Elise to make it just that much better. Understand a little bit of music theory and not only can you pick up another classical piece, but you can start making your own beautiful creations yourself, maybe start dabbling into jazz pieces, or pick up other instruments to play. The possibilities start to open for you when you start understanding bit by bit and little by little the steps you took to get there.
The example might be a little extreme for math especially if your kid’s aspirations isn’t to be this next rocket science genius or world renown doctor. That isn’t the point. Getting to the answers is easy. Finding that one trick to get you results is efficient. Maybe it’s a product of our instant world of fast food and quick access to all the information of the world via the internet. In contrast, learning isn’t that instant. Anyone who has ever struggled in school or tried to pick up something new, knows that learning is hard. Your kid struggling with school and just wants to get the answers or just finish the assignment up quickly. Encourage them to stick with it. Learning takes time and with that eventually understanding. Teach them to embrace the struggle of learning. How? Learning isn’t shown. It’s modeled. Rather then giving up when you don’t know something. Show them how to use resources. Ask their teachers, learn with them. You’ll slowly start to see your kids understand, become bold in their learning, and maybe eventually fearless in taking up challenges. And isn’t that what a parent wants for their kids? For them to be prepared for the challenges of life. Stick with it! It all starts by making their world open just a little bit bigger and showing them why.
And if you’re still stick as to why 1+1=10 is still correct. Find your local geek and see if they can explain it. Or hunt me down, I’ll be happy to show you and open your world up a little. x^_^
Joseph Ngai, Software Quality Assurance Specialist