This story was related to me by a mother:
With the passing of Leader A recently, the teacher decided to discuss this issue in the 7 year old’s classroom. All of a sudden, the child asked this question,”Leader A is like our Jeidi master and now he is gone, left Obi-wan (Leader B)- will the clones wars happens?” While this question frustrated the teacher and parent who viewed his question seemed odd and even naive, I interpreted the questions that he was wondering now that Leader A was gone, he is curious to find out if there will be unrest with Leader B taking over. I had assumed that he was aware that any possible political situations his parents may have talked of. I checked with him by asking “What made you ask that question?” and found that I was spot on with my interpretation. The little boy was very happy that I managed to uncover his idea.
Sometimes, students and teachers who work with gifted students may find them scattered and disorganised. They ask the weirdest questions at the most inappropriate times. Why is that so? Most children find them so as their brains are busy building many connections to issues that they already know on hand.
Why did They ask this Question?
During a normal lesson, the lesson is usually sequential and most children are able to follow the teacher from one point of the lesson to the next. However, while most children are following a linear progression, this child was busy making connections with this issue to other things. They may use analogies, multiple perspectives or even heuristics of putting two and two together and forming their own judgement. Thus, while others move on – they ‘stay behind’ as they try to form their own connections with their ideas.
Thus, when the child asks this “strange” question later on, the child’s comments does not seem to go in with the flow of the class’ discussion. Some may even wonder why does this question even come about! It would seem as if the child is not following the discussion and be in dreamland. What should the teacher or parent do at this point?
How to Tackle the Issue
One common approach some teachers take is to merely answer the child’s question (or ignores his comment) and then moves on. This is not likely to work because the child is still trying to figure out the connection between the issue that was discussed with the assurance of the teacher’s validity as an authority figure.
Rather, ask the child “What made you ask this question?” will be better because the child will be able to verbalise how he/she was making the connections. When they answer this question, they have to retrace their earlier steps by thinking aloud. If the teacher then clarifies that point, it will aid the child’s connections and thus, move forward quickly.
Yet one must note that this can happen even with students who are not gifted. Yet, this is a fabulous sign that the child is really making connections and is on the road to learning as a whole. This skill really enables the child to see that learning takes not take place in a compartmentalised environment but as part of a jigsaw puzzle of the world as a whole.