The Ease of Doing a Research for My 8-Year-Old Son
First of all, if you may, I would like to start with my lame excuses.... :) I've been very busy lately.... I got some letters and e-mails from my family and friends but I don't have time to respond to almost all of them... which is highly unusual for me and my hypergraphic behaviors.
So, to partly pay back to those "debts", I would like to share my experience about my older son.... who is now 8 years old and in a second grade....
During the past weeks, it was a winter break.... He had an assignment to do a project about geology.... My son, NB, liked to play every kind of games.... Lately, he began to invent his own games... "just for fun because I got bored from my toys"; he said.... So for this geology project he would like to make a board game about geology.
To do this, he must know a bunch of knowledge about geology. In our city, we could get access to public libraries via the internet. So he searched for books and materials for his project in the library kid's section. He reserved many of the books related to geysers, earthquakes, volcanoes, and so on. All of them were written for young readers. When the library sent him an e-mail notifying him that those reserved books/mateial were ready to pick up. We drove him to pick them up, then he started to study those books.
He spent around 4-5 days to study all of those books and he began to draw his "blueprint" how his board game would look like roughly in pieces of papers.
We also had a DVD of Pompei, an ancient city in Italy, recorded from the Discovery Channel for him to study how volcanoes could devastate a city and annihilate people of Pompei within a day.
After few more days of efforts he finished his board game. It's now being ready to be turned in!!
This was a school project for a second grader. What's the difference between this project to my PhD research essentially?
After pondering fairly, my answer is a NO.... Doing research is about studying in what one's interested.... By that, appropriate material is required. After scrutinizing the chosen material, ideas emerge and outputs ensue....
Retrospectively, I might be able to do my research by this approach when I was in my college year!! Intellectually, I don't think that NB was significantly smarter than me when I was at his age. So, what's the main reason why he's capable of doing this at this young young age?
In my humble opinion, these are those important factors; 1) Availability of material suiting his age in this particular field: We're able to easily find books and material in the City's public library. There are tons of books and material for children... These are an excellent source for children to acquire new knowledge without studying in school or classes.
2) Language barriers: I'm still Thai... I'm proud to be one... I can read, write, understand Thai language perfectly... But, I have to admit that, regretably, essential reading material of all ages is not written in Thai language. It's really difficult for everyone to acquire basic, intermediate, and advanced knowledge in sciences, engineering, and technology without English proficiency regardless of his/her interlectual.
And, 3) Library system: From home, my son could browse for anything he wanted in the library. If it's not available, interlibrary loan services are available for him to get those needed materials. In my childhood, library was a place for nerds... Librarians were old ladies with thick eyeglasses. Library was a quiet place maybe as quiet as a cemetary... So, even a boy with excellent academic score like me seldom stepped into those "conventional" libraries-- it's not a place for kids....
Hurrr.... I would not like to discourage my countrymen about this.... But, if we would like to survive in this raging flow of globalization... We cannot afford to be behind in science and technology....
I saw this with my own experience. I'm terribly sorry if it offends anyone by it... All of your comments are always welcome krub... :)
================================= Note: My life has been intertwined with works and many others. New responsibility has emerged, resulting less and less time for my ordinary life. Although, a love to write is still intact... But having less time is related to having less imagination.... Therefore, I could not come up with new writings for quite some times.
It might be a good time for me to leave this forum for moment.... Please take it as Mr. A.T. is having a sabbactatical leave or something like that....
As noted above, my love to write is still the same... and will not be changed. Sometimes somehow, I hope I could come back and give some thoughts in this blog once more.
Cheers, Mr. A.T. June 6th, 2008
My pen-name in Pantip is amatuer translator. Actually, I'm a lousy translator with lame translation. My pen-name is somewhat misleading, I have no background in linguistics what-so-ever. Anyway I love to read, write and communicate with people...
Reading is my most favorite hobby. I read everything from shopping bags to articles in theoretical physics. I do research and teaching for my living. So, reading, writing, thinking and doing research works are my everyday routine.
I would like to define myself as a person who is accepting new ideas and adopting those into my way of life.
I believe in power of knowledge/education. I think every society can be a better society with knowledge. Ignorance can be dispelled by it. Humanity can live sustainably and harmoniously with each other along with its biosphere with understandings in the nature surrounding it.
Apart from my philosophical thoughts reflecting who I am, I can tell you something I like or love in particular;
I love dogs.... Particularly, labradore retrievers.... One day, I would like to spend my time and life with them as a big part of my family.
Zhuge Liang is my hero. With his wisdom and faithfulness, he led a tiny army to a mighty and formidable kingdom. He left his humble residence with a hope to come back. But, sadly, he had never returned and died far far away from home in a horse carriage in a battle field. If I could choose where I would, I would say where-ever my lovely wife was nearby.
I value happiness and my family as my first priority. My profession and my philosophy come in the second. Pursuit in wealth has never been in my desire.
I'm glad to be your friend, and look forward to seeing you around krub.