Family Magazine

What Are You Thinking?

By Maliasa

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Shhhh. . . be quiet! Children are often told to solve problems quietly. Talking to yourself is seen as a sign of madness. Unless children are working in a group, talking to yourself is seen as a something that is disturbing the other children. And more importantly, as something that has no value to the child.

But how can a child explain her ideas?

Sometimes suddenly, sometimes gradually – it can happen anywhere, a child becomes aware of the voice in her head. The inner voice, internal monologue, or verbal thought often comes to our mind when we are asked to reflect on something. The developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky observed that children often talked to themselves while playing. He said that these mutterings later become internalised to form inner speech.

Many studies support Vygotsky’s idea that private speech may help children to solve puzzles and problems more accurately and quickly. The internalisation of speech is not a one-way street. Rather parents may talk to themselves while looking for things in the supermarket or solving something difficult. As adults, we can also explore different opinions and have a discussion with ourselves. Examining things from different points of views, while searching for the best solution to a problem.

So talking and muttering to yourself, while looking for a solution is a great way to check the idea. And this is a great way to help children explore what they are thinking.

Children can also explore and check their ideas and thinking by making a drawing. It may not be easy to understand what a child is drawing and you can ask her to explain it. This helps her to focus on how something can be done. She may not have the words to explain something but she can show her ideas in action.

Any problems with an idea become more obvious when you look at a drawing. Words disappear as soon as you have described something but a drawing can be explored and examined over and over again.

Although the main goal with the drawing may be to explain something, there is nothing wrong with turning it into a piece of art. Use different colours and materials to explain the idea. Make a  drawing  in the sand, salt, shaving cream. . .

An idea for an invention like a homework robot  can be built out of cardboard. Lego or building blocks. Popsicles, pegs, rubber bands


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