RE: extropians-digest V6 #1

From: Mihail Faina (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 07:18:14 MST

  I am not trying to assume nothing. My question was more like a
"methodology" question - how should we introduce scientific concepts to a 5
year old (ordinary 5 year old and I underline ordinary). Should this be hard
core scientific facts or something built in a FABLE (I didn't say fairy
tales) of some kind? Hard for me to imagine that a 5 year old could picture
a bacteria and get
the meaning of the word metaphor by using "not really" in the explanation.
Using the word doesn't always equal understanding.
Again, I am not here to launch a polemic, my goal is to learn even if I

Michael M. Buttler wrote:

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 11:30:45 -0800
From: "Michael M. Butler" <>
Subject: Re: Subject: Re: Bacteria question.

I once saw a couple of "professional educators" simper condescendingly
at me as they watched me explain the word "metaphor" to a five year old.
They "knew better" than to tell a five year old a word like that.

Why was I explaining the word? Because she'd just criticized something
I'd said, saying "Not _really_." And I agreed. "No, not _really_,
really. They call it a metaphor." "What's _that_?" So I told her. And I
told her what the difference between a metaphor and a fib was.

She used the word five times within the next week. On her own.

On the contrary, I recently used the word on the telephone with a
twelve-year-old. Her response was "Don't use such big words; remember,
I'm only in *public* school."

I hardly think an honest response to a question about bacteria destroys
sense of wonder. And I weep for the upbringing of the twelve-year-old.

Is an ordinary five-year-old supposed to be told fairy tales when she
asks for an explanation about why she's supposed to brush her teeth? Is
"tickling her imagination", in this instance, what is called for?

Are you assuming too much, perhaps?

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