Library Index


'This is easy' ...'boredom' ...lack of Understanding

Geoffrey Waldon: 'This is easy' ... 'boredom' ... lack of understanding

"The children in fact who put up the greatest amount of opposition to doing things very often are the ones who insist, verbally, on doing things for themselves – which of course is something we hear in our normally developing baby - are really the ones who have great difficulty in understanding what they are doing … rather like the children who sometimes start an activity and you hear the child say, 'Oh this is easy' – I hate to hear that phrase, because it's likely that the child will run into great difficulties in the next few minutes – and whether some children say this as a kind of - like whistling in the dark – as a way of helping themselves ... if so then it obviously means that giving the child that activity was a frightening activity.

But you find that the more advanced the child the more readily they engage in the simple activities, this is one of the interesting things about it. The more able the child – whether the child is 'backward' or not – but the more relatively able, the more the child enjoys doing the simpler behaviours. Now on the whole it's us as parents, as adults – I see everyone who's interested in the child's welfare as being a 'parent' – our problem on the whole is keeping things down where they belong because we keep wanting to romp ahead.

People often tell me things like I'm sure the child must be bored because he's doing the same thing over and over again; well, since you've only got to look at the average two year old on its own to see that average two year olds love doing things over and over and over again and that they learn from those but they're not repeating things in a stereotyped way, they've got a kind of carrier phase which comes out differently on every occasion, but it generates a great deal of experience of space and of the materials

So when parents – that's all of us, teachers, and so on - say that the child is likely to be bored then what we really mean is that we're likely to be bored. And boredom in the adult sense of the word really is a function of lack of understanding because strictly speaking boredom would mean something like you know all there is to know about something: well is there anything we ever know all there is to know about it? I think it's something that we very often – it's our own inadequacies which lead us to assume that something isn't very simple ..."