Saturday, November 29, 2008

See It, Try It!

In her Exchange article "Seeing Children" Deb Curtis told this story...
"A few years ago when I was teaching preschool I discovered that I could learn to see the children’s perspectives in very powerful ways if I observed them closely and then tried out what they were doing. I had been frustrated with a group of boys who had taken to zooming the small cars off of block ramps that they built. They would fling the cars across the tilted ramps, watching them fly through the air, hitting the ceiling, the windows, and sometimes people. I spent a lot of time trying to stop their behavior, but to no avail.

"After the boys left one day, my co-teacher and I decided to try out the cars and ramps ourselves. Much to our surprise we had a blast! We experienced the excitement and challenge as we built the ramps and zoomed the cars. With this new perspective, we approached the children’s work in a very different way. We offered the boys challenges to build their ramps more carefully and control the speed more accurately. They took up our suggestions and the activity became a focused, complex learning experience for all. Since then, trying out what they are doing has become a regular practice for me to see children more clearly."

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