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Learners gain surface knowledge but are

transformed by transformational
knowledge.
StumblingStonesCases@gmail.com
Issue 1: Introduction to Chitter Chatter Time
I must be a teacher of good things (Ephesians 4:1-32, KJV). I am a provider of knowledge
and understanding who attempts to lead myself and those whom I instruct into wisdom which is
the correct use of knowledge undergirded by sound and firm understanding. As a teacher I have
the charge and responsibility to provide knowledge and understanding and act as a guide on
pathways to knowledge. My goal is for those receiving instruction to learn to think critically and
understand the process of solving problems - both old and novel; to apply what has been learned;
and to expect and accept wisdom as the outcome of learning and living.
Ive taught in educational environments from preschool through doctoral programs. My
most favorite was teaching young children because they are so excited about learning and
demonstrate a readiness to acquire new skills as well as knowledge and comprehension. At this
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very young age - before possibly becoming jaded and disillusioned by a lack of effective learning
opportunities or for various reasons being unsuccessful in matriculating through a system of
education - children appear to function with the expectation of love, acceptance, fairness,
honesty, and trust.
When I was teaching young children I attempted to engage them in a 10-minute activity the
first thing every morning. I called this activity Chitter Chatter Time. In other words, I
attempted to engage them in light and lively discussion most often related to the main topic of
the day by asking questions and waiting for responses. Sometimes I was successful and
sometimes not. Over time I found that the responses that the children made were similar to those
given by children on the television show Kids Say the Darndest Things which was a series
hosted by Bill Cosby from 1998 to 2000. The responses were also like those given by children
on the show Art Linkletters House Party which aired from 1945 to 1969. In this and
following issues I will provide some of my students responses and ask you what I should have
learned from them. My email address is StumblingStonesCases@gmail.com. Drop me a
message and tell me what you think.
What are Problems?
This is an excerpt from a session that I had with preschoolers before we started
problem-solving activities. I wanted to introduce them to the
concept of problems and solutions.
Me: Okay, today class we are going to talk about problems
that you might have and how to solve them. Lets see. Who
wants to tell me about a problem youve had?
Silence with lots of blank stares.
Me: Hum, no one has had any problems?
Baxter: What a problem (whats a problem)?
Me: Good question Baxter! Can anyone tell me what the word problem means?
More silence with more blank stares.
Me: Thats okay, a problem is when you are in a situation and arent sure what to do.
Julie Ann: Like...uh...you gotta go to bed and you NOT want to?
Me: Yes! Thats a problem. Did that happen to you? Tell us about it.
Julie Ann: Mom telled (in place of told) me to goda (go to) bed...cartoons is on.
Me: And you didnt want to?
Julie Ann: No!
Me: We have to do what our parents ask us to do right? If we dont what happens? Before
Julie Ann could answer, Baxter answered.
Baxter: Mom fussy, fussy, fussy.
Me: Baxter, are you saying that if we do not do what our moms ask, they might fuss?
Baxter: Yeah...a lot
Me: Okay, heres what we know. Julie Ann had a problem because her mom wanted her to go
to bed when the cartoons were on TV. She did not want to go to bed. Baxter added that if Julie
Ann did not go to bed her mom might fuss. Are there any questions so far?
Class: No, Miss C.!.
Me: Alright. Lets go a little further. Julie Ann has to have a solution to her problem so... (I
was interrupted by Baxter).
Baxter: Whatta (whats a) sueshun (Pronounced sue - shun)?
Me: Good question Baxter! Everyone listen to me. The word is sah-lue-shun. Repeat after me
sah-lue-shun. (They all repeat the word with various pronunciations) Good. Lets
see...uh...oh yeah...a solution is doing the right thing. Its like when you have a problem and you
figure out the right thing to do. What was the solution to Julie Anns problem?
Deafening silence...and then from the back of the group and from a student who hardly
ever spoke during Chitter Chatter Time came a wonderful answer.
Larry: Goda (go to) bed.
Me: Fantastic answer! Yes. Lets see now. Julie Ann had a problem. Her mom told her to go
to bed while the cartoons were still on TV. If she didnt go to bed her mom might have fussed at
her. Julie Ann had to find the right solution to her problem. Her solution was to go to bed.
Thanks everyone. Would anyone else like to talk? Does anyone else have problems? Larry,
what about you, would you like to tell us about any problem?
Larry: No.
Me: Why? Dont you have some problems?
Larry: Yeah. A lot. No sueshunz (solutions).
What Do You Think?
Heres some questions for you to think about.
1.Did I ask the right questions?
2.Were my explanations clear? What other ways could I have
answered?
3.What should I have learned from this interaction?
4.Should I have been concerned about Larry?