July 8, 2013

Training independency

All things children can do themselves, the teacher must not do. (Hans Wenke)

You want to help the children in your classroom to be independent, and to help them making their own decisions.
But if you give them too much freedom, they may get confused, misuse the freedom or make the wrong choices.
On the other hand, if you use the benefit of your experiences during the years and make all the choices for them, you are destroying their ability to make their own decisions.
The effect will be that you make your pupils dependent on you and there is even the risk of making them rebellious and resentful.
If you want your pupils to grow up into independent persons, you need to create a balance. 
I suggest to use this school model I created for training independency step by step.

  1. Agreements about things the children can do themselves: toilet – drinking water – washing hands – how to use the classroom.
  2. Introduction and working with a ‘household assignment’.
  3. Agreements about the materials the children can take themselves.
  1. Making the choice for a sign for the block period, introducing of the rules.
  2. What can you do yourself without help: thinking yourself – try again – ask your mate. (making of action guides)
  3. Explain that the block period is only temporary and help is possible on a later moment
  1. The whole school makes agreements about which materials can be taken by the children themselves, how to handle if they make a mistake etc.
  1. Let them invent the rules : think again – read again – ask someone else – start with another part of the assignment (action guides)
  2. Learn them to analyse the problem : what kind of problem – did  I had a similar problem before – ask a real question – try to help step by step (action guide)
  3. Learn planning, try to anticipate and make a work planning
  4. Give attention to social problems: how to solve them – how to work together
  5. Agreements about the noise during the work (making of “noise cards”)
  1. First try yourself
  2. Start asking your workmate instead of walking around in the classroom
  3. Use your help signal if you couldn’t find the right help.
  4. Ask clear questions – don’t be impatient in trying to help
  5. Explaining is not the same as giving the answer
  6. Learn to explain step by step
  7. Investigate first what is known already
  8. Use a ‘help booklet’.
 My advice is to train the agreements during two weeks in all classes in school.
Material I mentioned here can be found on the Facebook site 'Dalton Material'.

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