Saturday, November 24, 2007

NAEYC 2007 Session: Teaching with intentionality

Teaching with intentionality: The classroom art of tact, mindfulness, and thoughtfulness

Presenters: Kate Milne, Alexa Fraley, Trisha Wilburn, and Kate Meyer, Virginia Tech

Intentionality in teaching is being planful (their word) and deliberate, knowing what you’re doing and why. In encompasses staffing, scheduling, and support. Teachers in the newly full-time Virginia Tech child center have time scheduled into their days for planning with their co-teacher and a weekly meeting with all the staff. They do heavy documentation, not just of their plans but of their reflections on each day. Each day is only planned on the day before and not ahead of time. Activities they set up are called “provocations” in the sense that they provoke the children to think. They take pictures of everything and use these photos of the children’s work when extending the children’s provocations. The planning and reflection binders are available every day to interested parents. During their morning meeting with the children they ask the children what they think of what’s been set out for them and what they’d like to do in the future.

They assert that intentionality helps in expanding curriculum because they can make sure all areas (social studies, science, etc.) are being covered. Intentional teachers are less stressed and encourage intentional kids.

Also discussed were factors related to presenting appropriate materials for children and pedagogical documentation. They did not discuss tact.

I appreciate the amount of time they put into their classroom documentation and I’m sure it only benefits their program. While I doubt that their level of documentation is appropriate for our program, their attitude of reflection toward each day and each child is something I could personally do better to emulate.

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