Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recognizing and Remedying Confusion

"Betsy was reciting her arithmetic. She was getting on famously with that. Weeks ago, as soon as Miss Benson had seen the confusion of the little girl's mind, the two had settled down to a serious struggle with that subject. Miss Benson had had Betsy recite all by herself, so she wouldn't be flurried by the others; and to begin with had gone back, back to bedrock, to things Betsy absolutely knew, to the 2x2s, and the 3x3s. And then, very cautiously, a step at a time, they had advanced, stopping short whenever Betsy felt a beginning of that bewildered 'guessing' impulse that made her answer wildly at random.

After awhile, in the dark night that arithmetic had always been to her, Betsy began to make out a few definite outlines, which were always there, facts which she knew to be so without guessing from the expression of her teacher's face. From that moment on, her progress had been rapid, one sure fact hooking itself on to another and another on to that. She attacked a page of problems with a zest and self-confidence which made her arithmetic lessons among the most interesting hours at school."

-- from Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

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