Thursday, January 27, 2011

Intentional teaching

I recently found this article on intentional teaching, if you were to ask what is the philosphy of the Burlington Integrated Preschool my answer would be is that we teach with intention and have a balance between teacher and child directed activities. This article does a nice job explaining what it means to teach with intention in early childhood.

Intentional teaching involves planning—having a goal and a means to accomplish it. Intentional teaching can also be serendipitous—taking advantage of unexpected opportunities. That means teachers must not only be child development experts in general, they must also understand the specific knowledge and skills appropriate for children to master in content areas such as literacy and mathematics, social and emotional development, physical development, and the creative arts.

In child-guided experiences, teachers create a materials-rich and safe environment, and provide support. In adult-guided learning, teachers plan activities, occasionally demonstrate skills, and make comments and ask questions to introduce new concepts and challenge children’s thinking.
Sometimes it is clear when adult-guided learning is needed (for example, children cannot invent the alphabet on their own). At other times, child-guided learning predominates (for example, children intuit certain properties of number such as “oneness”). It is always a judgment call. We thus need to observe children’s behavior, know their optimal modes of learning, and adjust accordingly.