Friday, July 28, 2017

Conformity or Change

Are you riding the wave of conformity or going against the grain?

Conformity is so easy. No hurtles, no obstacles, just riding the wave of what is common and easy. 

Imagine what it would feel like to be a teacher who sets new standards, someone who dares to challenge the norm and gives rise to a new reality of working with children.

Taking the challenge to change will bring about an infinite amount of experiences like the one you see below.

Ultimately, the change has to happen for the right reasons. As teachers and people we have to be true to what we believe. We cannot jump on the wagon because everyone else is doing so. 

I was never one to conform to practices that did not work in unison with my vision of what an educational system for young children should be.

For me shattering the bonds of conformity was liberating!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Questions are not Always the Answer

Over the course of the last year, I've been listening carefully to the discourses that transpire between children and teachers. 
My observations have led me to question the process of questioning young children while they work.

Many times the teacher's chattering, about much of nothing, overshadowed the children's work. Other times the silence could be sliced like a piece of cake.
Then I wondered, do we question other adults incessantly like we question young children or do we observe them to discern what they are doing and thinking? After all aren't our actions conveyors of messages?
Perhaps meaningful observations are what we should focus more of our time on. 
Of all the scenarios I observed, 
few had thoughtful 
 context, common sense and respect for the intelligence of the child. Not because the teachers didn't care but more because they didn't  know how.
Meaningless questions and empty discourse does more harm than silence.

Questions such as what colour did you use in your painting hold little sway in sparking an intelligent exchange. 

What is the answer then to the dilemma of asking good questions.

The truth is the focus must lie on thoughtful provocations, intelligent materials, a sound knowledge in child development so key areas can be easily identified without prodding the child for obvious answers. We must know our students and the hundred languages they engage to know the world and make sense of their experiences.

If teachers master this then the rest comes easily and learning truly happens.