What are the children learning here?

Just while I’m thinking… Some excellent (and simple) questions to ask when being part of children’s learning:

What are the children learning here?

This is a useful question when deciding how to support children (not so much in terms of making sense of their play;

more in terms of what effect a teacher’s response might actually have… eg. attending to tantrums may teach the child that tantrums have power (the power to get attention, to annoy, to stop all else…), whereas ignoring tantrums suggests the opposite. The noise of a tantrum can be a problem – but this can be removed to another area, where it is less bothersome

What’s the problem with that? …and whose problem is it?

When something is happening that your instinct is to stop (screaming, arguing, running, teasing, etc.), then it’s usually better to step back and ask yourself, what’s the problem?  and respond to the undesirable behavior with a suitable solution to the problem (rather than responding to behaviour without purpose)

eg, you’re screaming and it hurts my ears. If you wish to make that noise, go outside.

eg., you’re arguing right next to me and it’s incredibly annoying. Please take it away. (or leave yourself)

By contrast, “Stop that…” “Don’t…” etc can turn into nagging and become oppressively negative (it is also quite taxing). It needs to be used for a real reason or it becomes white noise in the children’s lives.

(ALSO, when children are fighting, tantruming, or otherwise emotionally worked up, it is not a teachable moment, so spending time on explanations is a questionable action)

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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