Stung by the splendour of a sudden thought

21 May - Posted by Diana

Quote of the week: "..stung by the splendour of a sudden thought..."

Today was my first day back with the children after a one month hiatus back in Australia. Armed with another 6 month supply of teaching resources, I returned to the hugs and cheers of these wonderful children. They couldn't wait to get stuck into the new material and did so with the boundless hunger and enthusiasm I've come to expect from them.

Bearing in mind that most of these children have had little, or no, formal education before coming to CCT, their hunger for knowledge comes as no surprise. Unlike children from a more privileged environment, these children truly understand what a difference education can make to their lives and, by extension, to the lives of their entire family and their community.

Also unlike their more privileged counterparts, for these children, their hopes and dreams are about family and community, it's not about “self”. 

As I've explained in previous posts, the education system here actively discourages critical thinking, children are taught by rote. You accept, without question, anything you are told by your teachers, your elders and anyone with higher social standing (which, for these kids, is pretty well everyone else).
 Our classes are the first opportunity the children have had to actually question what they're being told. In fact, not only is it ok to ask for evidence or a better explanation, it's expected of them. 

Having tricked some of the children with my 'Mermaid Story', they are now far more wary about believing some one, even me, without question, when they are being introduced to new information.

During a lesson on 'How we Treat Animals', I mentioned the enigmatic platypus...

"Oh come on Di, a mammal that lays eggs, lives in the water, is covered in fur but has a duck bill, and a tail like beaver and a poison claw on it's foot? Really?

  • Has anyone else ever seen this amazing animal?
  • Do you have a photo of it?
  • Is there somewhere that we can see it too?" 
All the questions I had suggested they ask when confronted with something they've never heard of before..
Then there was the whale.
"Di, you try to trick us again. An animal that looks like a fish, but is a mammal.
That lives in the ocean, but breathes air.
That sings.
That's bigger than that bus over there, but can jump it's whole body out of the water.
We need to see VIDEO of this amazing thing, not just a photo!"
Thank you Australian Geographic...
Finally, these beautiful children are starting to REALLY think... and to question.