Teacher, Parent, Child
The book every parent and teacher should read!
Teacher, Parent, Child is a game changer for education. It explains, through stories of real adults and children, why we are wrong to assume that learning capacity is dependent upon intelligence, and why the apparent ability of any student in school is only their history of understanding.
When the parent or the teacher applies enough sensitivity to restructure the child’s understanding, then dramatic improvements follow.
What the experts say:
“This book is based on nearly 40 years of teaching experience and research into all aspects of learning and school systems. It is a must for anyone who is interested in how students learn at any age and how we could teach them better, not just to get better grades but more importantly to prepare them with higher reasoning skills for the world driven by artificial intelligence which awaits them as they mature.
The works of Andersen bring new meaning to those of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bloom in education, as he brings forth a new paradigm in how children really learn and how we could teach them better”.
Prof. David S. Martin. Ph.D., Dean Emeritus, Gallaudet University, Washington D.C.
“Roy’s series of books clearly and methodically map out exactly how students learn. He isn’t afraid to address head-on the many misconceptions that are plaguing our society and thus having a negative impact on our students’ learning. Parents and educators who read these books will not only have a better understanding, but will also be inspired to change in their attitudes and preconceived notions on how students can excel in their learning. If you’ve ever wanted to unravel how student’s learn, then these books are the answer you have been looking for! They should be mandatory reading for every parent and educator.”
Erin Calhoun. National Institute of Learning Development. USA
“Dear Roy, What you have done should reach out to all the parents, parents-to-be and other practitioners such as kindergarten teachers, primary and secondary teachers. You have done extraordinary work!”
Chun Hong Zong. Educator. China
“These ideas in your books are ground breaking, profound indeed. I need to share these with teachers I train in my country.”
Daniel Mabalane. Educator. South Africa.
“I’m glad to see you here,” I remarked as I arrived panting at the bus stop near the school, “thought the bus might have passed.”
“No. It’s always late,” he replied.
We talked about one or two things, and then looking at him I asked,
“Are you a student at the school?”
“I was, but now I’m at Art College.”
“Don’t mind me asking, but when did you leave the school?”
“Oh, two years ago.” He was nonchalant in his reply.
“So, tell me,” I asked, “what did you think of the teachers?’
“Some were OK,” he said in a matter-of-fact manner.
“How did you feel about their teaching? Did you feel they knew a lot about what they were teaching?”
He half laughed to himself. “Some did,” he told me, “but others did not seem to know too much. Some students knew more than the teachers. They would just tell us to work from textbooks or give PowerPoint presentations. But! Nothing really made much sense. I mean, it was boring just to sit in the class, and be shown slides and told points to remember.
Anyway, lessons were always boring, because we never learned anything interesting. Everything was just about how to answer exam questions. Lessons were only about the types of questions we could be asked, and the best way to answer them. There was never any interest as to why we should learn the subject, just to pass exams often,” he continued, “I did not understand what I was doing, and if I asked the teacher they didn’t really explain it to me. We were, more or less, left to make our own sense of what was in the textbook. So, we kind of relied upon one or two in the class to tell us the answers in the break or after school.”
Nothing has changed, I thought to myself. It was the same when I was at school. I remembered then reading a letter that a 16-year-old girl had recently written in America.
“I can go weeks in most of my classes,” she wrote, “without doing homework and still maintain a grade of ‘B’. The curriculum is not challenging so no one is trying. Teachers don’t care, and people constantly say we can’t do it. So we no longer try.”i
Moving to another thought, I mentioned to my new friend, “You know, the big thing now is to look for any student who does not keep up with the rest and suspect them of dyslexia.”
“Tell me about it,” he said. “Mind you, we look forward to being told we are because then we get extra help in the lesson by an assistant teacher to understand what is going on. But the big thing is that we get an extra 25 minutes in an exam. This really makes a big difference.”
“Are you dyslexic?” I asked him.
“Well, I went to the teacher in my last year and asked her. They gave me some tests and said I had a small learning problem. The first time in my whole life anyone has said this to me and this in the very last year. So, I was really glad they said this. It gave me the time I needed in my exams to get a better grade.” (And for the school in the league table, I thought.)
“Tell me,” I asked him, changing the subject, “was there a lot of bullying going on? …… ”
“….. He’s 15,” she told me, “He’s a good boy. He does not get into trouble, and comes home early every night.”
“What does he like best in school?” I asked.
“Well, he doesn’t seem to like anything special,” and then added, as if to reassure me he is a good student, “But he tries you know. He really does.”
There was a slight knock on the door before it gently opened. Alice came in with a tray and placed it on my desk in a way that did not disturb the various papers lying about.
“And, what’s his name?” I asked.
“Peter. He’s my eldest son. Can you tell me his IQ?” she repeated the question with urgency.
So many parents have asked me the same thing. I picked up the teapot and poured it into her cup. In giving the cup and saucer to the mother, I asked,
“Do you think it’s important to know your son’s IQ?”
She looked at me a little puzzled.
“Then, I would know if he will be OK in his big exams.”
Her face took on a kind of strange look as if I had not realized this.
“A number will not tell you how your son will perform in a test,” I told her.
“But it would mean he would be clever enough to get into university,” She responded.
“Well, there is a great myth about IQ, you know; for a start and to be very honest. You cannot measure intelligence.”
The mother now looked at me with suspicion, as if she had come to see the wrong person.
“Look,” I said quietly. “We have brain cells and we have chemicals between them. Change the chemicals, and the signal moving through the brain cells will be affected. This is exactly what happens when our emotions change. When we are happy and interested, these chemicals, we call them neurotransmitters; conduct the signals through the networks of the brain according to the ways they have developed to structure themselves.”
“What do you mean developed?” The suspicion in her face had changed to one of puzzlement as her eyebrows frowned, but the tone of her question still belayed a lingering suspicion.
“Well,” I began to explain a little deeply how we actually think, “The networks related to how we understand the information we receive from our senses, like when we see things or hear sounds, are built up through experiences. The basic formation of these networks begins while the baby is still in the womb.”
The mother suddenly changed her face to one of interest now.
“What do you mean inside the womb?”
“Well, the intelligence of the child doesn’t begin weeks after birth when they can respond to simple games their parents play with them. Long before this and while in the womb, the brain of the unborn baby will begin to build up a basic way to handle sounds through those it hears about the mother, and sight from the defused light that enters the embryonic sac. According to the emotional chemicals, it receives from the mother, by the happiness or stress in her life, the fetus will start to devise a way of regulating its brain chemistry to relate to and classify information. All these acts create the foundation blocks that the baby will build upon after birth, as they begin to make sense of the world about them.”
“You mean, if I was stressed when I was carrying my son, he would have known this?”
“Of course, your son was a part of you in all ways at that time. But don’t worry about this, as a normal human being your emotions will move up and down, and at this stage of its development, the fetus is only setting up a temporary system of processing information. It is their experiences after birth that will far more importantly set the levels by which their neurotransmitters are produced, and so how sensitive they will become as they understand things.
I distracted the intensity of her obvious concern by pouring tea into my cup.
“Well actually, there’s no way to know the intelligence of a child when they are born. We cannot measure the genetic value of intelligence.”
“I thought you could!”
“So do many people, but it’s a myth. Look!” I told her, “we inherit genetic codes, but these codes only give our brain the instructions for how to form in a very basic sense. The genes interact with proteins to make anything happen and proteins are affected by a cup of coffee.” My thoughts drifted to what I wished I was drinking, instead of this tea.
“There’s no way we can stop the workings of a child’s mind, open up their brain and find the genes inside. We simply cannot know what the intelligence of an individual is genetically. Although, for very political reasons many psychologists have said they can. But the truth is they cannot. Anyway, as far as neurons are concerned, brain cells that are, they develop through two kinds of networks, radial and tangential. Radial follows a genetic framework; while tangential develop through signals from the environment. Most of the networks relating to how the brain processes information form through signals from the environment, what we see and what we hear. So, while it’s important that children get the right nutrition, their brain can better form, it’s also and I believe more important to train their senses to be more aware in their understanding of things.”
“Isn’t it more important to give them the right kind of food? I always gave my children a good breakfast when they were young. Mind you,” she hesitated for a moment, “now we have to get off to work so early in the morning, the kids look after themselves.”
“Do they eat breakfast? They should do, you know. It’s very important for them. Their brain needs fuel to burn if it’s to work.”
She looked a bit sheepish at this.
“Well, most times, they get something in school. You see, it’s a struggle to get them into bed and so they are tired when they wake up, and I have to go to work early.”
“So, what time do they eat?”
“The break is at eleven o’clock.”
I did not reply, but many things were beginning to fall into place. Nutrition is important, but less than the drive of the individual and this comes from the guidance, time given and love of the parents….”
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