Teaching to count or Learning to count?
DD1 counts. Everyday. Some items that she sees.
She has been adding single digit numbers in her mind.
Sometimes, when she seems to think long before coming up with an answer, I get tempted to show her a specific way to count. Yet, I refrain. I love watching her making her own way.
It is not a very uncommon method among school going children to count in the following manner: 3 plus 4 : take 3 in the mind, count four with fingers, 4, 5, 6, 7, answer is 7.
I wanted to see how else a child could figure out ways to count. I waited. I watched.
One day, she was into adding. Adding single digit numbers was done in mind.
Then came double digit with single digit. I kept watching. Say, for, 12 plus 5, she counted 12 with fingers and then 5 with fingers and again counted the total by repeating counting of fingers appropriately.
She again saw a similar one, say 14 plus 5, this time she counted 14 with fingers and continued to count starting from 15 with 5 more fingers.
Next, another, say, 15 plus 4, she just counted 4 fingers starting with 16.
Next, another, say, 16 plus 4, she mentally counted 4 numbers starting from 17 and stopped at 20. No more using fingers too.
So, you see, children find their way.
They are provided with resources, they come across problems, they find ways to succeed.
All they need is time. Not a drill by doing additions repeatedly just so the child solves problems faster than the rest. Once their mind is set free, it is bound to be faster. We, adults, even those who have hated Maths, manage to add those, that we come cross in daily life with ease. The ability will definitely be there. It is the system which demands to get things done only in a specific manner that has managed to implant hatred for a subject within the child. And everyone starts to blame the child for not liking the subject or for being lazy to finish or for being slow. All these labels are just illusions. Reality is that the child is capable of DOing.
In doing what the system demands, the adult might be successful in teaching, but is the ground for learning set for the child?
Joy of open learning lies in the fact that the child can learn the way he wants to learn and not the way an adult asks to.