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-   -   Difference between "teaching" and "exposing" (http://www.mothering.com/forum/370-parenting-gifted-child/1382475-difference-between-teaching-exposing.html)

momyarb 04-29-2013 08:09 AM

I have read a few times where someone mentioned that your child is advanced/ahead/etc. if they did not have to be taught the information they know earlier than their age-peers. At what point does exposing become "teaching" ? Does teaching consist of repetition in explanation ? For example, my son knew his letters, letter sounds, numbers 1-10 in English and Spanish, around 18 months -but they were all from songs we sang or a toy he played with (VTech tote n go computer I think it was). 

 

I am curious how you differentiate between teaching and just exposing, or providing, the ability to pick up knowledge on their own? Is it mainly repetition?


captain optimism 04-29-2013 01:51 PM

I don't think this is something you need to care about. If you enjoy teaching your child something and he enjoys learning it, that's play. If he doesn't think what you're doing is play, well, he's a toddler and he'll tell you no. Even if you make him memorize Latin declensions at age 2, or something crazy like that, I think it's fine if he is sincerely into it. 


momyarb 04-29-2013 02:39 PM

This is more of a general question, not something I am worried about. My son is currently 6. I just read something recently and it brought the question in mind -if there is really a difference between the two.

 

Thanks for the reply!


kattabel 04-30-2013 04:55 AM

Hi momyarb - While I'm not sure how you would define that, I made a comment about not teaching my DD 15mo letters but telling her what they were. I was making a distinction between sitting down with flash cards every day or similar in a deliberate attempt to teach then as opposed to just answering questions or pointing out things as part if your daily tasks and following the child's lead. I was making the distinction as I've had other mums hear DD and say things like 'I really should start teaching mine that/ I've tried to teach colours but he just doesn't get it'
But I wouldn't have a clue about how you might make the distinction for an older child. Maybe teaching is often being used in this context as a deliberate effort process to make/help a child learn something.

serenbat 04-30-2013 05:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by momyarb View Post

 

 

I am curious how you differentiate between teaching and just exposing, or providing, the ability to pick up knowledge on their own? Is it mainly repetition?

to me, it really doesn't matter

 

there clearly are things we show over and over, daily life tasks - how we eat with flatware, that is repetition - you child sees you doing the same task over and over - clearly not what you had in mind but with "academic" be it ABC or 123, it really doesn't matter to me when a VERY young child express their "knowledge" in public most uninformed people will jump to the conclusion you pushed/flashcarded, etc the child - so little you do really matters when others draw their own conclusions 

 

my DS is 5 and just this past weekend a stranger commented on something he was talking about and how at his age "he shouldn't know that" greensad.gif


momyarb 04-30-2013 08:12 AM

Hmm.. those are good points, and a pretty good distinction between the two.


momyarb 04-30-2013 08:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

to me, it really doesn't matter

 

there clearly are things we show over and over, daily life tasks - how we eat with flatware, that is repetition - you child sees you doing the same task over and over - clearly not what you had in mind but with "academic" be it ABC or 123, it really doesn't matter to me when a VERY young child express their "knowledge" in public most uninformed people will jump to the conclusion you pushed/flashcarded, etc the child - so little you do really matters when others draw their own conclusions 

 

my DS is 5 and just this past weekend a stranger commented on something he was talking about and how at his age "he shouldn't know that" greensad.gif

Also very good points!

 

I'm sorry to  hear about the negative feedback. :( How did your DS take it? With all the complaints about education and how America is failing our children ("average" children -for lack of a better descriptor) you would think the stranger would be marveled!


momyarb 04-30-2013 08:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by momyarb View Post

Hmm.. those are good points, and a pretty good distinction between the two.

This was supposed to quote Kattabel. LOL I don't post in here a lot, can you tell? :)


serenbat 04-30-2013 08:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by momyarb View Post

Also very good points!

 

I'm sorry to  hear about the negative feedback. :( How did your DS take it? With all the complaints about education and how America is failing our children ("average" children -for lack of a better descriptor) you would think the stranger would be marveled!

he has been hearing things for 5+ years now- he's good at talking back, we are starting to "learn" select phrases when people make comments, like how you "teach" them to say thank you, you can also "teach" them "I'm better off being knowledgable"!!


momyarb 04-30-2013 08:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

he has been hearing things for 5+ years now- he's good at talking back, we are starting to "learn" select phrases when people make comments, like how you "teach" them to say thank you, you can also "teach" them "I'm better off being knowledgable"!!

Those are good responses. My child says "I know" if he receives a compliment on his abilities. :/ It seems to be an automatic reply. I'm not sure if it is a cover for an insecurity or possible embarrassment -he's generally very modest except when it comes to a compliment on his abilities (this response is usually when it involves the word "smart" from a stranger). We're working on "thank you" instead.


whatsnextmom 04-30-2013 08:57 AM

I've been sitting with this trying to figure out the wording but I've come to the realization that I just don't like the question. Children are wired to learn from their environment and so all exposure *is* teaching. Anyone who says they don't teach their child is just not seeing the whole picture. We do teach them all the time whether it's by modeling how to use a cup or sitting down and read them a story.

 

I'm wondering if the real sentiment to this question is "where do we differentiate between child-led and parent-led learning." Even if it's not,  that's what I'll address lol.

 

The infant stage was a real challenge for me. I was pretty terrible at the running dialogue and baby play stage. Like many moms I suspect, I sang the alphabet song because it's the one song I knew all the words too. I took to daily outings to museums, the park, the zoo, the aquarium because they had free days or affordable year passes. I could talk about art and elephants... not so good about talking through preparation of dinner with an infant staring back at me lol. Around 2, DD and I started to land on a lot of "academic" sort of work (letters, numbers, ect.) It seemed all she wanted but then I wondered if it was truly her motivation or if she had learned that I would always say "yes" to that sort of activity. When I stopped to play more than I stopped to teach, she stopped bringing me paper and pencils and started bringing me toys and super-hero capes.... and she was happier. At that point, outside of loving books, enjoyment of writing lists and having an unusual and mature knowledge base (from all the outings we continued to take) she put aside any interest in traditional academics until she turned 5.... and then jumped 2 to 5 grade levels in all subjects within a few weeks. With DS, I was more experienced. I still gave him an enriching environment because that is what made life fun (and I still sucked at the baby stage) but I didn't indirectly lead him so much. Outside of being an early reader, he wasn't particularly academic until 1st grade and then shot forward just like DD. So, I avoided "teaching" as in "I'm going to point to these words everyday as I read them" but I absolutely spent a lot of time running around the art museum answering questions (or in DS's case, helping him keep track of every dog represented in oil painting lol.) 


momyarb 04-30-2013 09:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

I've been sitting with this trying to figure out the wording but I've come to the realization that I just don't like the question. Children are wired to learn from their environment and so all exposure *is* teaching. Anyone who says they don't teach their child is just not seeing the whole picture. We do teach them all the time whether it's by modeling how to use a cup or sitting down and read them a story.

 

I'm wondering if the real sentiment to this question is "where do we differentiate between child-led and parent-led learning." Even if it's not,  that's what I'll address lol.

 

The infant stage was a real challenge for me. I was pretty terrible at the running dialogue and baby play stage. Like many moms I suspect, I sang the alphabet song because it's the one song I knew all the words too. I took to daily outings to museums, the park, the zoo, the aquarium because they had free days or affordable year passes. I could talk about art and elephants... not so good about talking through preparation of dinner with an infant staring back at me lol. Around 2, DD and I started to land on a lot of "academic" sort of work (letters, numbers, ect.) It seemed all she wanted but then I wondered if it was truly her motivation or if she had learned that I would always say "yes" to that sort of activity. When I stopped to play more than I stopped to teach, she stopped bringing me paper and pencils and started bringing me toys and super-hero capes.... and she was happier. At that point, outside of loving books, enjoyment of writing lists and having an unusual and mature knowledge base (from all the outings we continued to take) she put aside any interest in traditional academics until she turned 5.... and then jumped 2 to 5 grade levels in all subjects within a few weeks. With DS, I was more experienced. I still gave him an enriching environment because that is what made life fun (and I still sucked at the baby stage) but I didn't indirectly lead him so much. Outside of being an early reader, he wasn't particularly academic until 1st grade and then shot forward just like DD. So, I avoided "teaching" as in "I'm going to point to these words everyday as I read them" but I absolutely spent a lot of time running around the art museum answering questions (or in DS's case, helping him keep track of every dog represented in oil painting lol.) 

Perhaps that is where I was going "where do we differentiate between child-led and parent-lead learning" 

 

It really is an open-ended question. One that I have struggled with, though, because I think I am a different learner than my son is -not that I really have pin-pointed how he learns exactly. I'm sure I sound really scatter brained :) I tend to be very organized and structure. He does not seem to be, whether it is currently age related or personality like his dad. I guess I'm still figuring out what is best for him. I do feel compelled to enrich and provide learning that he is not getting in school (my husband is against acceleration, and both my husband and my son want him to be in school). I just recently have been re-evaluating how we are at home with enrichment. I have workbooks that I have had him complete pages in but am still not sure I am hitting his abilities (I have no way of knowing how you find that out.) 

 

I have considered making a portfolio for next year. He is really into making computer games, or at least playing around with game making programs, so that sort of makes it difficult to provide examples of his work.

 

I'm sorry this is a really random comment. Clearly, I have no idea what I'm doing! haha!


ollyoxenfree 04-30-2013 09:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by momyarb View Post

I am curious how you differentiate between teaching and just exposing, or providing, the ability to pick up knowledge on their own? Is it mainly repetition?

 

Teach - definition - 1. impart knowledge to or instruct (someone) as to how to do something: 2. cause (someone) to learn or understand something by example or experience:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kattabel View Post

I was making a distinction between sitting down with flash cards every day or similar in a deliberate attempt to teach then as opposed to just answering questions or pointing out things as part if your daily tasks and following the child's lead. 

 

I think defining "teaching" as "deliberate instruction provided in lecture format" is a very narrow definition. I'm pretty sure such narrowness would be soundly rejected by most educators these days. There are a lot of different pedagogical methods, which is a very good thing because individuals have different learning styles.  Constructivism, the Socratic method, Hands-on learning, Problem-based learning - that's just the tip of the iceberg if you research pedagogical theory.  They have all been pretty widely embraced in public schools, albeit with greater and lesser degrees of success in implementation.  "Just answering questions or pointing things out" could easily fit into some of these methods. 

 

For gifted students, who often absorb information quickly, retain knowledge easily without repetition, remember for an astonishingly long time, and apply this learning to new problems and new situations, the initial "teaching" isn't always obvious. A lot of parents and teachers won't recognize that it has happened or remember it. 

 

Unfortunately, IMO, as a society we tend to celebrate that kind of learning and tend to dismiss the other kind - the learning that happens after some instruction and assistance from a more experienced, knowledgeable person - as inferior.  There are times when deliberate instruction is helpful, useful and valuable. 

 

 

There are a lot of issues wrapped up in the subject. Some of them touch emotional hot-buttons. Readiness to learn is an obvious one. It raises the spectre of "hot-housing" and pushy aspirational parenting. I'm not sure if that's a topic that the OP meant to raise, though, so I won't go further with it.   

 

 


ollyoxenfree 04-30-2013 09:27 AM

Edit function fail - for some reason I can't edit my last post.

 

I meant to mention that "just answering questions or pointing things out" easily fits into the definition of "teach" that I posted: 

 

 

Teach - definition - 1. impart knowledge to or instruct (someone) as to how to do something: 2. cause (someone) to learn or understand something by example or experience:

 

ollyoxenfree 04-30-2013 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by momyarb View Post

 

I guess I'm still figuring out what is best for him. I do feel compelled to enrich and provide learning that he is not getting in school (my husband is against acceleration, and both my husband and my son want him to be in school). I just recently have been re-evaluating how we are at home with enrichment. I have workbooks that I have had him complete pages in but am still not sure I am hitting his abilities (I have no way of knowing how you find that out.) 

 

 

 

Hm. If you think it would be helpful to discuss and don't mind answering a few questions, how old is he and what grade?

 

What kind of learning do you think he is not getting at school?

 

Are you finding that the school curriculum is lacking - either he has advanced beyond it or you think there are serious gaps? Or is it not being taught well or according to his learning style? Or is there some other issue? 

 

Figuring out what the actual problem is will help you narrow the solutions. 

 

I think "child-led" vs. "parent-led" is very important and intertwined with the "readiness to learn" aspect that I raised in my earlier post. If it's an issue of curriculum content/lack of subjects, where does he think the problems are and how would he like to deal with them? Independent projects, extra-curricular classes (not necessarily in the exact same subject e.g. drama class is a fun way to expand language arts), young entrepreneurs (business-related math)........ just a few ideas off the top of my head.     


Cyllya 04-30-2013 08:09 PM

These pages are unschooling-related, but they seem relevant....

http://www.christianunschooling.com/teaching-vs-strewing/

http://sandradodd.com/teaching/


pranava 04-30-2013 08:41 PM

I "teach" my child all the time.  Any time I answer a why question, or point out something interesting we encounter in life, or get a book from the library on a topic he's into, I think that's teaching.  I teach as much as he's willing to listen and learn.  I think teaching is a good thing.  I wish it wasn't equated with hot housing so often, and looked down on.  


moominmamma 04-30-2013 09:18 PM

I think that regardless of semantic distinctions, trouble tends to arise when parents are invested in their child's success as a learner. That can demonstrate itself overtly with hothousing, or subtly through "stimulation" and enthusiasm preferentially expressed for certain (loosely) acadenic types of interests and activities. on the other hand a child might ask a parent to explain multi-digit multiplication at age 5, and parent might respond respectfully by giving the requested teaching and so long as similar enthusiasm and support is given requests for ... I dunno ... a request for help zipping up a jacket or finding lyrics for a Justin Beiber song, then that's cool.

Miranda

nenegoose 04-30-2013 10:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
on the other hand a child might ask a parent to explain multi-digit multiplication at age 5, and parent might respond respectfully by giving the requested teaching and so long as similar enthusiasm and support is given requests for ... I dunno ... a request for help zipping up a jacket or finding lyrics for a Justin Beiber song, then that's cool.

Miranda

 

I realize you're a Canadian so I'm letting the Justin Beiber thing go. wink1.gif


moominmamma 05-01-2013 04:31 AM

Lol, we are SO not pop music / pop culture people, Canadian or not. That hypothetical request would be something that would really test my parenting mettle.

Miranda

captain optimism 05-01-2013 06:13 AM

I love the way Moominmamma put this. Hothousing does come from privileging high-status knowledge over the set of all possible things that could interest a child. 

 

I wouldn't want parents to feel like they couldn't share their own passions and hobbies with their kids, though. It's OK to be parent-directed about wanting your kid to love the same stuff you do, even if that stuff is Russian literature or theoretical physics. Sharing what you love is a way to show love.

 

You just have to also back off if the kid isn't interested, and be available to teach, share, or learn about his or her interests as they develop. I see sometimes that parents are so attached to their own chosen field that they can't let the child have another path, or so delighted by the kid's talents that they don't foster other areas of development. Fortunately, my child is a separate person who can tell me when I'm not keeping that in balance. 


pranava 05-02-2013 07:11 AM

Is there an age when pushing/encouraging learning on a topic that a child is not interested in goes from hothousing to OK?  

 

Just wondering how we determine this.  For example, drilling a 2 year old on phonics so they can read early would likely be called hothousing, but if a 10 year old can't read yet, phonics lessons would not be hothousing(in my opinion anyway).


whatsnextmom 05-02-2013 12:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by pranava View Post

Is there an age when pushing/encouraging learning on a topic that a child is not interested in goes from hothousing to OK?  

 

Just wondering how we determine this.  For example, drilling a 2 year old on phonics so they can read early would likely be called hothousing, but if a 10 year old can't read yet, phonics lessons would not be hothousing(in my opinion anyway).

 

I would say yes. I forced my son to take swim lessons at 9. We live in an area where people swim year round. Inability to swim wasn't keeping DS out of the water. He was still jumping in the pool deep end and running into the ocean but relying on inner tubes and boogie boards to "keep him safe." Obviously, NOT safe at all. He wouldn't let us teach him and when he was younger, he wouldn't even get in the pool with a teacher. So, we waited and at 9 said, "you will take this class and you will learn." He was furious with me until the first time he crossed the pool on his own. 

 

A hot house is used to grow plants out of season. When you are starting reading programs with a 2-year-old you are teaching them out of season. Teaching them at 6 or 7 is developmentally appropriate for most kids and I don't think anyone would call it hot housing. If they actively fight you on it, maybe they need more time but most seem pretty happy to learn it at that age.


Sachi Shah 05-03-2013 05:34 AM

I think in simple language teaching means to teach something to someone. Where exposing means to explain something to someone who have some confusion. 


moominmamma 05-03-2013 06:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

A hot house is used to grow plants out of season. When you are starting reading programs with a 2-year-old you are teaching them out of season. 

 

To extend the metaphor and complicate things, though, we here on this forum are often dealing with unusual "early-season varieties." If I am getting salad greens before the last frost it doesn't necessarily mean I'm using a hothouse: my seeds may have been cold-hardy northern spinach rather than butter lettuce. If I give my gifted homeschooled 4-year-old exactly the same gentle playful teaching that would be given to his non-gifted 7-year-old cousin in school, and he responds by learning to read easily and joyfully just as his cousin does, should that be considered "out of season" and thereby hothousing?

 

For the record, I am not a supporter of actively teaching reading to young children. But I do think the "out of season" metaphor is too simplistic when it comes to speaking of asynchronous gifted kids.

 

As an unschooler, I have never taught any of my kids anything that was not led by their own interest and enthusiasm. I suppose if it came to it I would insist on swimming instruction in the situation described above, because that is a life-and-death safety issue. I can't think of many other examples where I might do so, though. As my kids got older they were able to identify goals for themselves and realize that some grunt-work was necessary along the way -- and undertake that of their own volition. They saw that to, say, learn to program with a 3D graphics engine one was going to need a robust understanding of trigonometry. Or to play the Tchaikowsky violin concerto, years of work to master scales and arpeggios was going to be needed as a precursor. (A snide little brag inserted here: The day before yesterday I listened to dd19 perform the Tchaikowsky. What an amazing thing for me to witness!) Anyway I've always found that open-minded discussion and advice about the importance of certain types of learning was taken into consideration and put into action by my kids. Not necessarily on my schedule or in the way I would have chosen but accomplished nonetheless. 

 

Miranda


whatsnextmom 05-03-2013 09:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

To extend the metaphor and complicate things, though, we here on this forum are often dealing with unusual "early-season varieties." If I am getting salad greens before the last frost it doesn't necessarily mean I'm using a hothouse: my seeds may have been cold-hardy northern spinach rather than butter lettuce. If I give my gifted homeschooled 4-year-old exactly the same gentle playful teaching that would be given to his non-gifted 7-year-old cousin in school, and he responds by learning to read easily and joyfully just as his cousin does, should that be considered "out of season" and thereby hothousing?

 

For the record, I am not a supporter of actively teaching reading to young children. But I do think the "out of season" metaphor is too simplistic when it comes to speaking of asynchronous gifted kids.

 

As an unschooler, I have never taught any of my kids anything that was not led by their own interest and enthusiasm. I suppose if it came to it I would insist on swimming instruction in the situation described above, because that is a life-and-death safety issue. I can't think of many other examples where I might do so, though. As my kids got older they were able to identify goals for themselves and realize that some grunt-work was necessary along the way -- and undertake that of their own volition. They saw that to, say, learn to program with a 3D graphics engine one was going to need a robust understanding of trigonometry. Or to play the Tchaikowsky violin concerto, years of work to master scales and arpeggios was going to be needed as a precursor. (A snide little brag inserted here: The day before yesterday I listened to dd19 perform the Tchaikowsky. What an amazing thing for me to witness!) Anyway I've always found that open-minded discussion and advice about the importance of certain types of learning was taken into consideration and put into action by my kids. Not necessarily on my schedule or in the way I would have chosen but accomplished nonetheless. 

 

Miranda

 

Don't we use simplistic to simplify a complicated point? Of course, it's complicated when you are dealing with gifted children but gifted children can be pushed/encouraged out of season too. Lots of parents go running for curriculum the first time their toddler picks out a sight word. Yes, the child showed interest and initiative but reading names and high frequency words doesn't equate to readiness to sit down with "How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" (which was the method favored when my eldest was in playgroup.) Of course I don't think all advanced kids are hot housed... what would that say about me lol. Society uses the term "hothouse" a good deal in relation to advanced children and it's good to know exactly what that means in the general publics before relating it to what you do with your own children.

 

When your kids are in school, they learn a lot of things they wouldn't take on at that particular time but that doesn't always equate to hot housing. My DD doesn't love taking Spanish. I'm not sure she'd even bother with a second language herself but it's a requirement. Does she see the value in it? Absolutely. Is she happy she's taking it? Well, I think she'd be happier if she had taken it 10 years ago and was done lol (but 10-years-ago, she wasn't interested and I wasn't going to push a 6-year-old into it, and so she didn't.) When we get older, we all learn plenty of stuff because we "should" or we "need" but we are developmentally ready to handle it all. It's really those early years when enthusiasm to teach your child things early in a formal matter that can step on their natural development.


pek64 05-03-2013 09:34 AM

I think teaching has the goal of the child learning, memorizing, or mastering something.

Exposing, in contrast, makes something available, and allows the child to choose what is done.

Taking a child to a museum to see art would be exposing, unless there is an accompanying lecture and the expectation is that the child will be able to answer questions about what was seen and heard during the trip. So it depends entirely on how vested interest the 'teacher' has in the outcome.


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