“Early childhood education, like all education, is a deliberate intervention in the lives of young children. It results from a belief that children growing up naturally might not come to know all the things we want them to know.”
~ Spodek (quoted p.xiii MacNaughton and Williams)
In the Introduction to their Techniques for teaching young children, Glenda MacNaughton and Gillian Williams paint an interesting picture of the art of teaching, posing equally interesting questions to reflect upon:
“Good teaching relies on timing. Knowing just when a comment, question or suggestion might be useful can be difficult to judge. So, timing the right moment to intervene in children’s learning is hard. Staff need to make judgements by thinking about what will be gained and what will be lost through their intervention. The following questions can help staff decide if the gains from intervening might outweigh the losses.
- Will the children learn more effectively and more enjoyably if I intervene?
- Is the children’s learning and enjoyment at risk if I don’t intervene?
- Is this the best moment to intervene?” (p.x)
“Judging the optimum moment and method of intervention is a fundamental art of teaching.” (p.x)
“However, once staff choose to intervene they have another set of choices about how to do so.” (p.xi)
“We believe that excellent teaching is most likely to occur when staff make informed choices about their interventions and see excellent teaching as reflective teaching. Engaging with current debates about what young children can know and should know is essential to critical reflection about when, how, where and why to intervene in young children’s lives.” (p.xiii)
Ref: G MacNaughton & G Williams (2009) Techniques for teaching young children. Pearson Education