We recently reposted a popular blog post about asking open-ended questions. We are thrilled that early childhood educators are becoming more intentional about engaging children in meaningful learning conversations. But has this ever happened to you?
Teacher: Why did you decide to put the triangle-shaped block on top?
Teacher: Because why?
I think all educators would agree that there is a skill to crafting and asking open-ended questions. Did you know there is also a learning curve for answering these wonderful questions that require thought and more than a one-word response? When teachers ask an open-ended question, the focus of the conversation switches to the child. To formulate an answer, the child needs time to pause, think, and reflect. Some children are used to this type of inquiry while others need practice to become comfortable verbalizing their thoughts and opinions.
So, how can we help children develop the skills necessary to answer open-ended questions?
You’ve heard it said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” I would propose this addition: “Except in teaching!” Of course, we know the first moments of the first day of school are critical to establishing a tone for the year ahead, and we put a lot of energy into those first moments. It’s always fun to prepare our classrooms for the new school year because we are full of renewed hopes and dreams.
We’ve all had kids in the classroom who push limits, can’t manage their feelings, constantly demand attention. Believe it or not, they are sending you a message. When kids misbehave, they are operating based on mistaken learning. With time, patience, and planning you can help them relearn! If you reframe your thinking about children’s behavior and recognize that misbehavior is usually based on mistaken learning, you are well on your way to helping your kids.