QUESTIONS Vs. KNOWING THE ANSWERS
Parents are aware of the endless and remarkable questions that come out of young children’s mouths. We have always been taught that it is important to have all the answers, and our current educational system reinforces this belief. So, over time children's seemingly outlandish questions are discouraged, as parents and teachers are disarmed and embarrassed by their inability to respond in what they perceive as the 'correct' way.
Performance in school is judged on the basis of examinations. Children are taught to accept the 'right' answers and to simply repeat them. However, if we want to create a framework where children can go beyond what we know today, does it not make sense to stimulate questions that we have not thought of?
Gunter’s Fables are written in such way as to promote these kinds of questions. They do not deliver all the answers. As parents you can encourage your children to keep their curiosity alive and continue to ask questions, using the fables as a platform. It is a great confidence booster for a young learner to see that the adults around them do not have all the answers either! By admitting the gaps in your knowledge, you can join your child on their journey of discovery, and also help them to learn how to discover information for themselves.
What if children were encouraged to think about why zebras have black and white stripes, and how termites farm mushrooms? Do you ever wondered about this? Do you know the answers? Why not encourage your child to question how trout swim against the current? There are no limits to questioning; children need to be made to feel confident that they can ask anything. This kind of encouragement leads students to develop a never ending series of questions that open up whole new worlds of inquiry. We can only imagine where such students would eventually take our world.
In elementary school, students learn "the answer" as to why the apple falls from the tree. The concept of gravity is a linear one - what goes up, must come down. What if this material was presented so that students instead wondered how the apple got up there in the first place? This way of thinking will expose the student to systems thinking - without ever speaking the term out loud. The fables are written to encourage questions and keep readers and listeners thinking.
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