I drop the kids off at school each morning. It’s a short drive, no more than three minutes, but they can be demanding about what they want. Usually it is a song.
The exact song varies from time to time, but one will stick for a month or two as the favorite. Past requests include Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes (the 11-minute live version, for when the commute was longer); Johnny Cash’s cover of Rusty Cage (complete with child-seat head-banging); and now, Show Don’t Tell by Rush. You could make the argument that my little girl just wants to please her daddy, but hey — you’ve got to foster an early appreciation for the classics.
My son isn’t out of this equation. He likes almost all of the songs, provided I can cue his participation in the chorus with hand puppets that sing along.
So that’s the setup. This morning, after getting parked and past the chorus, I opened the car door and the music stopped. My daughter was still jamming along, and I asked her what she was listening to. “My invisible music,” she said.
I’m a fan of instruction by analogy, and she gave me a perfect setup. I don’t expect her to immediately walk around using “inaudible” in her conversations, but language is learned in context – and that goes for the languages and jargons of business and science. If she can connect the “in” in the words as meaning “not,” then she can cross over and catch the “aud” part as a Latin root. From there, it’s another puzzle piece she can use to ferret out new words on her own.
It reminds me of the need to be accessible without being too basic. There’s a fine line between talking down to your audience and talking over their head. If you do it right, they learn a new vocabulary through context, and feel smarter instead of dumber.
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, language, communication[/tags]