Generalization of Rules

Those of us who are teachers or parents have seen the phenomenon where children figure out rules and have trouble with the exceptions to the rules, which is quite understandable.  As adults, we should remember this, and correct them but do it understanding how amazing it is that they figured out the rule in the first place and how many exceptions we have.  This is most commonly seen with the past tense in the English language.  I recently heard my son do the same thing in math.  He is enjoying learning how to count to 100 or more and to read numbers over 20 where there is a regular pattern.  So he will count:  twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty-zero.  It took me a while to figure out that he was correctly generalizing a pattern and that, once again, our language did not follow the pattern.  I guess my point in all this is how amazing it is that kids’s brains can find these patterns and that it is helpful to understand what is going when kids generalize a pattern.

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