A teacher asked a five-year-old student, “If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”
Within a few seconds, the student replied confidently, “Four!”
The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer (three). She was disappointed. “Maybe the child did not listen properly,” she thought.
She repeated, “My boy, listen carefully. If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”
The student had seen the disappointment on his teacher’s face. He calculated again on his fingers. This time hesitatingly he replied, “Four…”
The disappointed teacher’s then remembered that this student liked strawberries. She thought maybe he doesn’t like apples and that is making him lose focus.
This time with an exaggerated excitement and twinkling in her eyes she asked, “If I give you one strawberry and one strawberry and one strawberry, then how many strawberries you will have?”
The boy calculated on his fingers again. There was no pressure on him, but a little on the teacher. She wanted her new approach to succeed.
With a hesitating smile, the student enquired, “Three?”
The teacher now had a victorious smile. Her approach had succeeded. She wanted to congratulate herself. But one last thing remained.
Once again, she asked him, “Now, if I give you one apple and one apple and one more apple, how many apples will you have?”
Promptly the student answered, “Four!”
The teacher was aghast. “How my boy, how?” she demanded in a little stern and irritated voice.
In a voice that was low and hesitating, young student replied, “Because I already have one apple in my bag.”
When someone gives an answer that is different from what we expect, let us not jump to conclusion that they are wrong. There maybe an angle that we may not have thought of or not understood at all.