Friday, February 08, 2013

Smarter Than a Fourth Grader

I wonder what children learn in school these days.  Today a grade four student asked me what the word racist meant.  (I had described Adolf Hitler as a racist.)  Is it a good thing or a bad thing that she didn't know the word?

I don't know.

Is it normal for grade four students to not know what rationing is, or what the word solidarity means, or what WWII is, or what the Great Depression was?  Or that you do not actually need literal sugar to live, because blood sugar isn't created by actual sugar?  They don't know that we grow grapes in Canada or what molasses is, or what soap was made out of, or what nitroglycerin is used for.

Is it terrible that they don't know that we have sheep in Canada, or that silk comes from silk worms, but they know what allies are and what bullets are made out of?

I have no idea.

I don't know when I learned these things but it feels like I've always known them.

Sometimes I wish I remembered that moment of dawning realization that must have occurred for me when I first gained these pieces of information.

And sometimes I just wish grade four students knew more than they do so I could communicate with them more effectively.

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