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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015
REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • AUTUMN 2015 - ISSUE 58 5 example, we develop intentions about the environment or spaces in our service. We intend for the environment to be safe, warm, friendly, inclusive and interesting because we believe this is the type of environment that will best nurture children. We act on those intentions through our pedagogy or practice. 'Teaching' is the other word to consider. Educators, families and children may have different ideas about what is meant by the word 'teaching.' The Frameworks recognise that for some people the word 'teaching' can mean formal lessons or instruction or very structured activities or experiences. Teaching can be like that and there can be a place for those approaches for a particular purpose. For example, we don't use play-based approaches to teach children about the dangers of fire or hot surfaces. We are quite 'structured' when teaching children about the danger of playing with matches. Intentional teaching is not about one way to teach children, such as formally or informally. Teaching, as the Frameworks suggest, is also about learning together in many different informal, powerful and pleasurable ways: • Parents teach babies to smile by smiling with them in hundreds of warm, close interactions. Babies imitate or learn from that intimate, loving, intense type of teaching. • Educators teach children to feel confident about themselves as learners through warm, encouraging and supportive interactions with them everyday. Children learn from that consistent, positive teaching about their competence and capabilities. • Educators teach children to act fairly with others by strategies such as modelling, explaining, engaging in shared problem solving and listening. Over time, children learn about fairness from these multiple intentional teaching strategies and experiences. Why focus on intentional teaching? There is a considerable body of research about teaching, teachers, education and learning. In addition to the research, all of us have opinions about what is important in education, what is good teaching and how children learn best. The Frameworks respond to these debates by providing guidance for educators so that they can focus on what matters for children's learning, development and wellbeing. A key reason why intentional teaching is important is because it recognises the potential for learning in everyday experiences and interactions between people, including between adults and children.Intentional teaching also recognises the potential for learning from interactions with our environments. This potential for learning in everyday routines, experiences, interactions and environments means we need to think carefully about and plan for (or in other words be intentional about) all aspects of our program or curriculum. In school age programs, for example, educators act intentionally when they think about and discuss the impact of arrival time on children's wellbeing and learning. They talk with families and children and document or make notes about what families and children say and what they see happening when the children arrive - what helps or hinders the process, who finds it difficult to settle and who doesn't, and what experiences or activities are popular at these times. They use this information to re-plan and change practices in response to what they have noticed and heard because they understand that what they say, do or provide, can make a positive difference to how the children settle and become engaged in the experiences that are available.
Reflections Issue 57 Summer 2014
Reflections Issue 59 Winter 2015