Our little towhead boy once obsessed about finding, catching and looking at frogs.
Now that he is sixteen, he opts for chillin’ in his king-size bed to browse Facebook or to study.
Wondering if he still likes to catch frogs I interview him below and ask him to describe why (specifically) he likes to do it. Afterwards, I explain what I think he has learned.
Typical to any kid who is sixteen, he mumbles the following while I dictate his answers:
Yeah, I still like to catch them.
What is the appeal for picking up a frog?
I’m kind of afraid to pick up frogs (but) I want to look at them closely. Capturing them is fun. It’s a challenge to figure out how to do it.
How do you do catch them?
First, I wet my hands. Frogs (are amphibians and they) breathe through their skin and the oils of your hand mess them up. I trick it to jump to a place where I can catch it, grab it quickly around the waist and scoop it up into my hand without squeezing it.
Do you care about identifying it?
Well, if it’s a poison dart frog it’s kind of important to know what kind of frog it is, but I mostly like to look closely at its eyes and face.
I put it back where I found it and look for another one.
My daughter pipes in:
It’s really weird and gross when we caught toads in Hawaii and they would pee and swell up in your hand.
The last part may explain why most people are squeamish about picking up amphibians or reptiles. Furthermore, their texture is bumpy. They feel cold and slimy. The animal’s heartbeat is pulsing in your hand. It’s probably squirming while you hold it and easy to drop. It could be defecating or possibly spitting blood like a horned lizard. Well, those are all the reasons why I fear holding creatures, but I do it anyway. My husband is really good at it.
Qualitative Analysis of the Learning
What the heck could my son and daughter or anyone learn from picking up a frog?
In order to answer this, I’m going to borrow the social learning theory concepts of Albert Bandura (1977) that I found in an article at SimplyPsychology.
Perhaps my husband and I model this and our kids imitate us. Picking up critters has also been reinforced by us positively and therefore they continue to do it.
Another theory that pertains here is what Howard Gardner says is a “Naturalist Intelligence.” Our son has “an ability to find and distinguish among different… animals… that are found in the natural world.”
In order for him to catch a frog, he would have pranced around bushes in the sandbanks by the riverbed to pick ’em up which requires a “Bodily Intelligence.”
This is a stretch but he might even be using “Interpersonal Intelligence.” But, that would mean that he is understanding the mood and intention of the frog he is holding.
Check out my Pinterest page and when you do, look for a Board on the top titled “Ideal Education.” I use images from that group for quickie-posts interpreting intrinsic learning.