I recently visited my daughter’s family and had to chuckle about the sign on her youngest daughter’s bedroom door. This was the sign taped to the door:
It reminds me about how often we expect children to adapt to our agenda, even if they have their own plan. I became convinced many years ago that if I let children speak and offer suggestions, I usually ended up with a better scenario. I was the king of classroom meetings when I was teaching. When issues came up in the classroom, I often turned it over to the children and asked their suggestions on solving the problem. They always had great suggestions and they were better at following new procedures because they felt as if they had made them.
I also found out that when I had a child that seemed to be doing something completely different than the assignment, I would always ask for an explanation. Often, their explanation made sense and actually made the project better. I learned a long time ago not to jump on what a child was doing when it seemed they were not following the plan for the assignment.
The latest ‘big thing’ in education is to model instructions around STEM/STEAM. (My feeling is that ALL classrooms should already be STEAM classrooms!). The foundation of STEM education is to teach critical and creative thinking skills Let’s not shut down those skills by thinking that we always know what is best for a child. I hope we teachers become much better at listening than we are an instructing. Remember, a child is a candle to be lit, not a cup to be filled.
We teachers need to be courteous, because the actress needs to rehearse.