My experiences as a creative person, tutor of children, and teacher of creative writing

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Helping Scientist type of Children Learn

If your child is an endless series of “Whys?”, then you have a budding “Scientist”. These independent, logical souls may take apart anything to see “how it works”. After they understand the underlining principles of something, they are done with it. They are impatient with
repetition, want feedback on the quality of their work, communicate with those these consider peers (generally adults), and particularity enjoy logical lecture.
These are creative people, whose creativity is directed toward actualizing the potential of things. Thus, they often become inventors, mathematicians, scientists, and computer programers.
As a parent, you might need to help this child deal with loneliness. This is partly because there are so few of them around. They are only about 12% of the population. Encourage these children to participate in school math, science or chess clubs where they have a good chance of meeting others like themselves. Also, these children feel lonely because they have so few social
skills. They tend to forget people in their drive to amass more information. He may need your encouragement in developing friendships. He needs your assistance, as a parent, in learning social rules, and in noticing how his behavior affects others. While you’re at it, teach him how to apologize. He will use it a lot!
A “scientist” needs to be recognized for real accomplishment. Never criticize his competency! This will devastate him. Though they place no value on tradition or authority, they do have a high regard for anyone they consider capable. Remember that they live to accumulate competencies, so give the appropriate respect and recognition for each accomplishment. He might enjoy having his awards (and there probably will be many) prominently displayed.
These children do run a risk of becoming too competitive. Generally their competition is directed toward academic areas in which they excel. They can obsess about grades, and lose their balance in life. Your child will need you to encourage him to participate in other activities, such as sports or music. For relaxation, try science fiction. If this child attempts to extend his competitiveness to athletic or artistic areas, he generally finds himself outclassed. You may have to help him understand that he can not be superior at everything. Every person has different gifts, but no one has every gift.
These children have no problem remembering details, in fact they may be an encyclopedia of information on subjects that interest them. This is the problem. They are generally only interested in technical and scientific areas. They are not concerned merely with facts though, but with theory. They want to know the “whys”and “hows” of what they study. When they have learned one area, they want “new input”. Few teachers can provide enough material to keep up with this insatiable desire to learn. Since these children learn so quickly, they are often bored in school. They need their parents to provide them with considerable supplementary reading materials, and field trips in their current area of interest.
You may need to make sure he completes assignments, since he may now be on to another interest. Repetitive, routine task work is often highly ineffective with these theorists. A more positive approach would be to allow him to share his studies with the class in the form of reports, demonstrations and displays.
A tremendous ally in this constant battle to keep the “scientist’s” attention is the computer. The computer can supply information at the fast pace these children need. Learning programs also allow them to work independently, where they feel most comfortable.
As a parent you will need to monitor creative English or art assignments. Your child may find them completely frustrating. He may feel out of his element, and procrastinate. Since he hates to feel incompetent, he may need you to walk him through the creative process. Remind him that it is just like science. Encourage him to gather ideas and materials, make notes, incubate the ideas, experiment with the medium, record ideas, suspend judgement, and just begin writing or creating. Perfection will come later.
Parents can assist their children to develop their interests by supplying them with scientific toys such as chemistry sets, ant farms, physics sets, and aquariums. He also needs a quiet, place where he can work by himself, preferable on a computer. “Scientists” thrive on having time and space to experiment, plenty of new information, and little interference.