A Third Angle
July 29, 2010 Leave a comment
A Third Angle
A teacher teaching Mathematics to seven-year-old Arnav asked him, “If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”
With a few seconds Arnav replied confidently, “Four!” The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer (three). She was disappointed. “May be the child did not listen properly,” she thought. She repeated, “Arnav, listen carefully. It is very simple. You will be able to do it right if you listen carefully. If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”
Arnav had seen the disappointment on his teacher’s face. He calculated again on his fingers. But within him he was also searching for the answer that will make his teacher happy. This time hesitatingly he replied, “Four…” The disappointment stayed on teacher’s face. She remembered Arnav loves strawberries. She thought maybe he doesn’t like apples and that is making him lose focus.
This time with exaggerated excitement and twinkling eyes she asked, “If I give you one strawberry and one strawberry and one strawberry, then how many will Arnav have?” Seeing the teacher happy, young Arnav calculated on his fingers again. There was no pressure on him, but a little on the teacher. She wanted her new approach to succeed. With a hesitating smile young Arnav enquired, “Three?”
The teacher now had a victorious smile. Her approach had succeeded. She wanted to congratulate herself. But one last thing remained. Once again she asked him, “Now if I give you one apple and one apple and one more apple how many will you have?” Promptly Arnav answered, “Four!”
The teacher was aghast. “How Arnav, how?” she demanded in a little stern and irritated voice. In a voice that was low hesitating young Arnav replied, “Because I already have one apple in my bag.”
Just a thought:
When someone gives me an answer that is different from what we are expecting, not necessarily they are wrong. There may be an angle that we have not understood at all. Look for the third angle in every problem and solutions. They help a lot.
A leader talks to the people & also looks out for the apples in their bag!