Saturday, April 04, 2009

the miseducation of juniper minna

i've been trying to teach juniper things in the afternoon. like the letter C, how to catch a ball, the existence of camels and frogs, pooing into a receptacle, etc. sometimes it works, mostly it doesn't, but even when she doesn't seem to have benefitted from our afternoon lessons i usually come away a bit wiser w/r/t schooling toddlers. anyway, i thought it'd be worthwhile to set down a few of the things i've learned here, on virtual paper, before i forget this and have to relearn it the next time around. (not that jiyoun is pregnant, i don't think)

hint #1: confusion isn't always a bad thing

actually, hint #1 was going be "combine concepts with physical gestures", but then after i typed it i thought wow i cant believe i just wrote that. it seemed really brilliant in my head but when you read it it seems like the most obvious thing in the world. but still, an example: about three months ago, when i took it upon myself to teach juniper about frogs, we spent about an hour crouching and hopping around the living room, yelling, "ribbit!"and "hop!" combine this with a brief clip from "planet earth", which we watched on repeat, and all the physical representations and illustrations of frogs in the house (which i'd dutifully gathered in preparation, all the stuffed frogs grouped in a pile and picture books open to the right page) laying on the rug in front of us, and the lesson went along swimmingly. all well and good. for about a week afterward anytime we came across a frog, whether in book or on, say, youtube, we'd crouch and hop, yelling, "ribbit!" and "hop!"

by the way, juniper neither hops nor says ribbit. by hopping i mean she squats low and puts her hands on the ground, and then with great effort and coordinated force she pushes up with hands and legs and clears exactly zero inches of vertical space. by the end she has her arms in the air, like a gymnast who just landed from standing position. "rop!"

anyway, things got murkier about a month and a half later when we came across a picture of a bunny who in the korean storybook i can't read seems to be playing hide-and-go-seek with a bear in a vest. i asked juniper, "hey, what do bunnies do?" and before she could answer (not that she could answer at the time) some perverse impulse to invite misunderstanding seized me and i yelled, "rabbit!" she yelled, "rop!" and then we "hopped" around the room. which was not actually wrong but maybe not actually right either.

it's getting late so i'll have to return to this later. seeya again in three months.



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