Mambo No 5

Since the beginning of the year, there has been a famous saying amongst my students.

Teacher, I don’t know how to do.

These words flow like water from their mouth.

So of course at the start, I would help them out. I’d explain what they needed to do and they’d be on their way.

7 months in, they were still saying the same thing. Something is definitely wrong somewhere. Is it because they cannot comprehend the question? Highly unlikely because they understand other things they read. They can explain what they understand. I tried my luck on something

What does the instruction say?

They would read the instruction in front of me. Half way through reading, they would pause, throw me a sheepish smile, turn around and get started completing the work.

That was it! They were not reading the instruction. That’s why they weren’t able to answer the questions 💆🏻💆🏻.

So the next time your child says they do not know how to do something, ask them to read the instruction to you. Now, if they still do not know what to do, that would mean they do not understand the instruction. So what you do is break the instruction down.

Let’s take this instruction as an example:

Connect the dots to create a picture.

What does ‘connect’ mean? Show me the ‘dots’. What does ‘create a picture’ mean? Now read it again and tell me what you think it means. Voila. That should do the trick. One word at a time. One breathe at a time. The kids will soon be able to understand on their own.



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