Problems gain (or lose) interestingness as their context and scale changes.
Take teaching a kids to read as an example. It’s almost inevitable that a child will learn to read given the following ingredients:
- A supportive family
- A strong reading culture at home
- A steady supply of good books
- A reasonable curriculum or methodology for teaching
- An well educated, motivated teacher (who could be a parent) who cares about the child who shows up consistently
- A safe, relatively comfortable, relatively calm environment
- An absence of specific learning difficulties
These factors form a strong, mutually reinforcing (and robust and self-repairing) network/system that makes learning to read more a matter of process than a problem, per se. If one or two of these ingredients are weak or missing, strength in another area will probably make up the difference. The outcome (learning to read) might take a bit more time, but it will happen.
But the more ingredients that are missing from the system – the looser or weaker the network – the harder (and more interesting) the problem becomes. It’s no longer a case of due process, but of finding a path and doing something new.
To be continued…