“Is it that we become complacent, lack motivation, are unwilling to become vulnerable to the prospect that we could be wrong? Or all of those?”
The Storypark blog shares diverse opinions from educators and parents all over the world. Today our guest blog is from the author of ‘Uplifting Early Childhood‘. What are your thoughts? Share them below in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!
Opinion: The single most important word for an ECE teacher is “why?”
We should all be familiar with reflection. For most of us it would have been a major part of our teacher education. Reflecting on our practice, on our philosophy and working to change or build on to those areas of our practice that we have identified.
But it seems to me that as teachers we often lose the ability to ask ourselves why.
Is it that we become complacent, lack motivation, are unwilling to become vulnerable to the prospect that we could be wrong? Or all of those?
There are two kind of why’s that I think are important to consistently ask ourselves in our daily practice…
Why do I respond the way I do…
Why do children respond the way they do…
When you ask yourself why you respond the way you do, you are giving yourself the opportunity to question your values, your beliefs, your professional and personal philosophy. You question your culture and its traditions and especially how all of those have impacted your view on how children learn and your role in that process. It’s a powerful thing when you are able to notice when you may not have responded in the most effective way and then consider why you responded that way.
When you ask yourself why children have responded the way they have, you are thinking critically about children’s values and beliefs, their culture and traditions. You are thinking about their view of the world and the relationships they have with their peers and you. It’s an equally powerful thing to observe play or actions, or interactions between children, adults, and the environment and consider why each have responded the way they have.
A small example would be when children are eating lunch at the table. One child has been given a fork to eat their rice with, but they’ve decided to use their fingers. For some, it would be instinctual to intervene and ask them to use their fork citing hygiene or eating etiquette. But just taking the time to consider why you want to respond in that way and consider why they have made the decision to eat with their fingers can be the difference between an effective and reflective response and an ineffective one.
My advice would be to make sure that before we act, or react, or look for those ‘teachable moments’ that we consider those two fundamental why’s. Us and the children will be much better off if we do.