On Language and Logic

For a few last afternoons, Robert was pasting pictures in  the order determined  by the three sentences printed above the four empty rectangles.

We worked on problems presented on pages of a thin workbook Cut, Paste, & Color. Logic, Grade Level 1-2 by Remedia Publication.

X is first.

Y is not the last.

W is behind Z.

It was not our first attempt to do so.  Using copies of the pages from that book, we worked on those tasks a few  times in the previous  three or four years.   We had to work together as Robert needed a lot of support and was not able to complete the tasks  independently.

The reason was that Robert had problems with understanding negation. After reading, ” Gorilla is not the oldest.” he, not surprisingly,  placed the picture of the ape above the word “oldest”. To remedy that, we returned to the old set of cards from Super Duper School Company.  Despite Robert becoming very good in understanding negation in this context (cards), whenever we returned to the Logic workbook, the errors resurfaced. Consequently, we brought back the cards, returned to the workbook , practiced with cards, and ….gave up.

For the last few days, I have been trying a different approach.  Simpler one and more… logical.  After reading, for instance, the sentence, “Gorilla is not the oldest” I ask Robert to write, “No gorilla.”  in the space above the word “oldest”.  I think, it would work better.

The error I made during the  previous teaching attempts, was caused by not addressing the problem in the context of the activity, but practicing it in different setting (with cards). Nothing wrong with the cards as long as they are used as a SUPPORT of the main activity.  When used separately, they become a goal in itself and do not apply to anything else.  I made a mistake of not using Robert’s ability to understand (?) negation in one context to solve more complex problems  in a different setting. Consequently, Robert did not recognize a new problem as a variation of the old one.

Lack of a full understanding of this language concept -negation-  resulted in failing to complete exercises in logical thinking.

Negation, unfortunately, is not the only concept Robert has not grasped yet.  Many “simple” words still manage to confuse Robert.  While he understands “north,south, or southwest”, he still has difficulties with “top and bottom. ”

That might suggest that Robert  understands the idea of “top and bottom”  (when presented as “north and south”) but doesn’t understand the language concepts as the names for those ideas.





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