She came to the point in one game, Despicable Me, where the game wasn't loading as fast as she was used to. I was typing or reading at the time. She waited a second or two before she started to repeat "help" over and over. I looked at the iPad and noticed it was loading slowly. She didn't understand what was going so she asked for help.
What was so cool about this was the ability to see into head and her felt needs. She knows how to use the iPad so using it wasn't the issue. What she needed was help and quickly sought after it when her prior experience didn't match her current current experience. As I mentioned before, the app was loading slowly and her experience was that all apps load really fast. In her head she knew exactly what to do - ask for help.
At what point do students stop asking for help? It's the same point when educators tell students to sit down, be quiet, and listen to the "sage on the stage." My daughter knew when she needed help and I'm students know when they need it too. What keeps them from reaching out to student experts and the teacher?
There is the fear of looking like you don't know which everyone equates with being stupid or dumb, yet we all know people learn at different rates and in different ways. Even though is a known fact in schools, no child wants to be perceived as "slow" to get it. So, students fake understanding rather than reach out to experts for help.
Teachers like to control the learning pace and a student asking for help slows everything down. While teachers espouse to help all children when help is needed there is the class atmosphere that says "don't bother me, I'm teaching and you're not getting it." There is the unwritten and clearly communicated rule that states learning happens instantly and if a student doesn't get it at that moment the teacher moves on.
Help is a four letter word best left for idiots. Asking for help means you have to humble yourself and admit when you don't get it. Since most of us a prideful folks this is tough. However, my three year doesn't see the world that way yet. She perceives no problem asking for what she needs help.
I want a school, a learning space, that allows her and all other children to ask for help from experts as often and needed and not be afraid to do so. From experts comes the experience and understanding others don't have and to not use this because of fear is idiocy. I want educators who will look at my child, see the inquisitive nature, creativity, and desire to learn and cultivate it every day. I want principals who are learning leaders who desire a high performing school that focuses on learning and not on statistics. I want my child, any child, to WANT to ask for help because they need it. I want the calls for help to be met with educator coaching and guidance that causes my child to look deeply at her problem, think critically, and find a solution. I want an education system that values learning above teaching. I want a learning culture that deeply values asking for help over instant understanding.