Supply and demand. Anyone who took basic high school economics probably recalls this handy chart:
What I didn’t realize was that apparently, babies are also in-the-know. At least when it comes to mealtime in the highchair:
See, here’s what happens. Even if I know he’s hungry and even if it’s food I know he loves, when I load up his tray with large quantities of said food, it promptly lands on the floor or (more frequently) the dog’s belly.
↑ supply, ↓ demand
But when I give him just a few manageable pieces at a time, he usually eats every bit himself, even with a begging pup at his side.
↓ supply, ↑ demand
The more I’ve observed this fascinating phenomenon, the more I’ve wondered about its application to (where else?) the classroom.
- Do I ever “load up” my students so much that they shut down (too many instructions, information, etc. at once)?
- When I’m trying to get through a large amount of material and overload my students, is it still about the learning? With the supply/demand principles, does it even end up as efficient as I’d hoped?
- When does overload actually work, and how does it differ from the above scenario (immersion, etc)?
My not-even-one-year-old baby seems to grasp that he should give a scarce supply greater attention — and I’m pretty sure it’s because he’s onto the fact that the scarcity is because I’m giving him greater attention as I sit close, notice, and adjust to his needs over the course of meal time. And if my baby is onto me, I’m pretty sure my students usually are, too.
featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto