Jun 1, 2011

Learning goes in mysterious ways

I have to tell you about my daughter. I'm amazed about how fast and well 3 year old can learn. I got some hints how it can happen from book The genius in all of us, but still it amazes me. Here's the full story.

Image from http://lekmer.se
So this is all about a game, bingo game to be exact. Rules go so, that there's own board for each player with 5 rows and 5 columns filled with 6 different looking Hello Kitty creatures in random order. On top of each column there's a letter B,I,N,G and O. Then there's 2 dices with one having the letters (B,I,N,G,O) and a joker and other dice have those 6 creatures.

My daughter, 3 years and 7 months currently, is unbelievably fast on checking from rolled dices, whether she has the item on her board or not. When the dices stop rolling, she immediately tells if she has the item on her board or not. Also she takes in to account if the item was filled in previous rounds. She's so fast, that almost every time, I can't believe she could have checked it already and I always check if she was just guessing. But she's never been wrong.

This got me thinking about learning. We've never ever tried to teach her to be fast on this. She has learned that only by playing. I have got to a conclusion that she must have some kind of map of the board in her head that she wouldn't need to look the board to know if it the item is there or not. There's about 10 different board from which we randomly take our own ones, so remembering by heart is somewhat difficult. I've tried tens of times in my head to beat her, to be faster, but I haven't been able. She must use some other technique than I am.

It's so amazing how human beings have such capability to learn to process things in surprising ways. I'm really sure I could have not taught this skill to her, since teaching anything to 3 year old is really hard. Still somehow she has been able to discover this way to process this much faster than anyone else I've seen her play with. I find it fascinating that even such a young person has this capacity in brains to learn to be such a good in something. It's not rocket science by any means, but still it requires special skill to do it. I believe that we all have these hidden capabilities in our brains that we might not ever really learn to take in to use.

Book I mentioned in the beginning, The genius in all of us, tells also about this. With right stimulus's and right circumstances almost everyone can learn special skills. You are not "born with" some skills, but you really can learn. I think that's essential to understand to be able to enjoy learning. It has been proven that young people learn faster, but it doesn't mean that older wouldn't learn at all. This at least gives me hope and happiness while I'm getting older and also seeing my daughter growing and learning new things.
Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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