How can we help our young learners understand new knowledge, strategies, and ways of approaching learning? If we think about the words in the title of this article, we have a good roadmap of how we can guide children through learning.
We often begin by showing children how to do something new. Let's think about tying shoes. We don't just tell a child to tie his or her shoes. We show them how to do this. Often we talk about a process as we are showing a new skill. For example, in the case of tying shoes we might say, "Let's make two bunny ears from the shoelaces." Then we do this for the child. This is the "I Do" stage of teaching. As adults, we are doing something and the child is watching. We have talked about this in depth in our post about modeling - http://www.maggiesbighome.com/2016/10/teaching-skills-to-children-use-modeling.html
The next part of teaching is the "We Do" phase. This often takes the longest as we are partners with children and try out a new skill or strategy together. That is key. We are still right there, guiding children, as they attempt the new learning. In the case of tying shoes, we sit with a child and orally review the steps in securing shoes as the child ties laces. We may repeat directions, give children parts of a new skill to do while we do other parts, or guide small groups of children as they work together. The key is to allow plenty of time for practice under the guidance of the adult.
Finally, we invite children to continue to practice the new learning on their own. Aptly titled, the "You Do" phase of learning, we say, "Now it's your turn. You do it!" Children have opportunities to independently practice doing something like tying their shoes.
When we follow these three sequential components of teaching and learning, children receive the adult guidance that is necessary for learning something new. We have found it beneficial to share these concepts with families and to advise them that the "We Do" phase often takes a lot of time as it is expected that practice makes permanent.
NAEYC - 2.A.10 & 2.A.11
Head Start - IV.A., B., & C.
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