I've been doing quite a bit of reading about learning styles, inquiry-based learning, and educational motivation for a proposal I wrote and it occurred to me this morning while I was scrubbing pee off the floor around the toilet for the fifteenth time this month that perhaps the reason the children have not responded to my requests to please pay attention to what they are doing when going potty is that I have been lecturing to a roomful of visual learners. Or doers.
I mean, with the exception of one embarrassing incident with Wes on a cold night in December when I became so exasperated I took his hands and showed him exactly what I meant when I said "you have to aim it into the potty!" I had never actually varied from my ineffective approach of fussing at them every time they pissed all over the floor.
Perhaps, being boys after all, they need to be presented with a problem that their natural curiosity will then drive them to seek a solution for, thereby motivating them to seek new knowledge, form new relationships, and develop a facility for scientific problem solving.
So, when they get home from school. I plan to meet them in the bathroom, a laboratory (lavatory) of sorts, an informal setting that will facilitate creativity and teamwork. After some brief introduction, I will present them with the problem statement, which is provided below, graphically for my little visual learners:
After they have had time to study the problem statement, we will gather around a whiteboard and brainstorm possible solutions. I will remind them that there are no bad ideas! Be creative! I expect responses like this:
--Go potty outside only
--Stop going potty
--You clean it up, Mom
As the brainstorming session proceeds, the ideas will naturally coalesce around more practical solutions, which they can then apply and test. My hope is that the the practical solutions they come up with are something along the lines of:
--I will face the potty when urinating
--I will ensure that urine is getting into the potty
--I will not talk to my brothers while I am going potty
--I will not attempt to drive a matchbox car on the wall while I am going potty
--I will pay attention to the task at hand (ahem) for the thirty seconds it takes to empty my bladder thus ensuring I do not whiz all over the floor
--If some pee accidentally gets on the floor, I will wipe it up with toilet paper and dispose of it properly.
The next step will be to write our testable hypothesis:
"Ho: If I pay attention, face the toilet, and do not attempt to do unrelated tasks at the same time, I can get 85% of the urine into the toilet."
Alternative hypothesis is that we will ignore all warning labels on the Comet Bleach Spray and teach the kids to clean up their own damn bathroom. Experiments will be conducted this weekend and I will summarize my results in a report sometime in 2014.