Friday, August 17, 2012

Teacher Language- When not to talk

"Never say anything a child could say"

As the presenter at our math staff development said these words I let the simple brilliance of it sink in.

Never say anything a child could say.

How many times do we give them their words, rush to fill in instruction, or shorten our wait time becomes it fits our needs? 

Or becomes the silence and the awkwardness of allowing a child to say it makes us uncomfortable? 

Or because silence and waiting makes us feel like we aren't in control? 

In my own practice in special ed I'm going to extend it to "Never say or DO anything a child could say or do."

Even with my almost a year old daughter (how on earth did that happen?) we are trying to let her do her own things. She likes to turn on and off the lights. It takes longer to leave a room, but it makes her feel like she is more in control. She likes to help buckle her car seat, which takes a lot longer when we're doing it together, but it lets her be a part of the getting-in-the-car routine. So much of her life is being carted around from here to there, it's important to give her an opportunity to be involved in her environment.

The same goes for our kids. If we do and say things for them they'll be more passive in their environments and what's worse, they will believe that we WANT them to be passive in their environments. They'll be less likely to feel as though they belong and are control in their environments.


Unknown said...

I have always adhered to the "if she can do it, you don't have to" philosophy when raising my daughter, and it has paid off more than I can imagine, while my friends are crying about all of the laundry, cooking and homework that they have to do, I'm relaxing in the knowledge that my 11 year old does her own laundry, cooks once a week and only asks us to homework check after she's checked it herself.

I may, however, be lacking in the "don't say it if they can" area. I'm still working on think time, which requires inhuman levels of patience. Hopefully,especially with your words spurring me on, I will let every student have a voice of their own.

organized chaos said...

I love getting a vision of how that theory will be applied when she's older! I love that independence and responsibility- little L will def. be doing that! Thanks!