The Whistle Lesson

Delivery Method: 

When two children enter the frame of peer teaching, we witness both cleverness and a few gaps. We are not sure why Justin asks Sami if she can whistle by blowing out, when in fact her whistle by sucking in is excellent (00:07 – 00:12). Could this be a case of Justin looking for something to teach? He loves to teach, as we see in an earlier video, “Can Three-Year-Olds Teach?” We should credit him for knowing what he can do and also for recognizing how Sami’s cheeks indent when she sucks in to make her whistle sound. Justin makes the contrast “whistle out instead of in.” By implication he is asking, “Can you whistle my way instead of your way?” It is interesting that Justin has difficulty whistling by sucking in.

Justin shows his competency as a teacher when he blows out in an exaggerated way without making a noise (00:16 – 00:17). We assume that he does this deliberately to make it clear what he means by “blowing out.” He breaks down the master skill into component skills. Perhaps he realizes that when you actually whistle, the difference between blowing out and sucking in does not look sufficiently different, so Justin blows out as though he were blowing out a birthday candle to help define what he means.

Justin also knows what not to do (00:17 – 00:26). Perhaps he has been told, “Be sure you don’t puff out your checks.” But the interesting fact remains: he thinks to point this out to Sami. The great teacher, Marie Montessori is known for her insight in showing children what not to do as a contrast to what to do. Justin not only breaks the master skill down into the components of blowing out plus whistling, he also knows that whistlers sometimes use a strategy that is not helpful. But again, he has made the objective unnecessarily difficult for Sami, who whistles perfectly well by sucking in. Is this like asking Phil Michelson, “Yes, but can you play golf right-handed?”

It if fun to listen to Sami and Justin compare family whistlers. Sami lists several people. Justin starts with this same strategy, but then bumps up listing individuals to saying, “My whole family knows how to whistle.” (00:37 – 00:47). Is he looking to have the last word on this little bit of competition about which person has more whistlers at home? Sami dilutes the finality of Justin’s “whole family” closing remark by changing the subject to pets. Unwittingly, Justin regains his status by using a medical term, “allergic” (00:49 – 00:54).

Full transcript included with download