Who Should Lead the Learning? Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 17 and 18 (Week 9)

Published on: October 26, 2015

Filled Under: Beyond The Pages, Books, Guest Speakers

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This week we are discussing Chapter 17: In Defense of Authentic Learning and Chapter 18 Who Should Lead the Learning? Michael Gramling will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.



Rae Pica is really on to something when she points out how completely overvalued rote learning has become in this misguided era of testing and accountability. What I find most discouraging, however, is the degree to which this approach to education has gained a strangle hold in early childhood education.

Rote learning, while bad enough for school age children, is a complete disaster for children enrolled in pre-k and infant-toddler programs. Rote learning wastes the very precious and short-lived window of opportunity available to educators and parents to provide the kinds of sensory, social, intellectual, and above all, language experiences necessary for the developing brain to reach its full potential. During the one time in a human life when the brain is connecting neurons and making pathways in a manner that will not be possible later in childhood or adulthood, during that very unique time in human development for which there are no do-overs, during the one developmental stage when the brain is a sponge and is absorbing information at lightning speed and needs to be completely immersed in an ocean of words, we administer information with an eye dropper.

Worse yet, the information prescribed for children is limited deliberately to the tiny body of knowledge required on the Kindergarten readiness assessment – eight colors, 26 letters, 20 numerals, seven days of the week, five senses, four seasons, 12 months, body parts, emotions, a list of personal information that can be summarized in three lines on a driver’s license, an undetermined number of arbitrary sight words, and the conventions of print.  (It goes from left to right last time I looked.)

In the Age of Accountability, this paltry collection of Kindergarten facts is all that matters. It is taught relentlessly and tediously day in and day out from the moment a child enters the infant program until the moment she graduates from preschool. “What color?” we ask our children over and over and over for five long years.  What letter? Shape? Number?

Folks, there are only eight crayons in the box.

To paraphrase the words of the great poet and lyricist Paul Simon, “When I look back on all the _____ I learned in pre-school, it’s a wonder that I can think at all.”

A wonder indeed.

It is for those reasons I was delighted to find an appearance by Lillian Katz in Rae Pica’s chapter Who Should Lead the Learning? I believe the distinction Dr. Katz makes between academic and intellectual goals strikes at heart of the inability of publicly funded ECE to make a dent in the achievement gap.  Consider for example a teaching strategy found frequently in many early literacy curricula. In which the teacher is required to “teach” the definition of a list of supposedly unfamiliar vocabulary words found in a particular reading selection required by that particular curriculum.

But to define a word is an academic process – one that is used widely in elementary and secondary schools to prepare children for specific competitive events, like spelling bees, academic teams and college entrance exams.  The intellectual process that Dr. Katz believes young children quite capable of, however, is the ability to understand new words in context, and after hearing a word enough times used in different contexts, to know how to use the word in order to communicate ideas, experiences, opinions and feelings. It is the intellectual ability to communicate, not the academic ability to define, that forms the foundation on which literacy is built and success in school made possible.

Consider for example, the word on, which in the adult-led, curriculum-driven early childhood classroom is actually an object of study. Why is this particular word one that we believe is worthy of our study? Because it’s on the assessment, of course.

And the Kindergarten checklist.

“Is the cup on the table or under the table?” we ask earnestly, seeking to assess the child’s knowledge of this esoteric concept, quite prepared with a lesson plan designed to teach this particular word if the child does not demonstrate comprehension.

But because we know that the developing brain in early childhood is absorbing language at an incredible rate simply by hearing adults communicate, whether a particular child responds correctly or not is in reality of little relevance to the educational process. It is a very safe bet that unless the child has been locked in a closet for three years or has suffered traumatic brain injury, he knows perfectly well not only that the cup is on the table, but that he needs to be at school on time, with his shoes and socks on, and that if he wants to know what’s on TV he has to turn it on. Furthermore, things can be on fire, and adults can sometimes be on a roll.

I could go on.

So let’s abandon those micromanaged curricula. Let’s quit trying to control the learning process and make room instead for the child’s incredible capacity for intellectual growth.

Thought Questions:

  • If children in fact need to be taught language through a series of programmed, incremental lessons, then how do we account for the child’s use of words that we are quite sure we never taught her?
  • How is it that the child knows how to use these words in the appropriate context, and what does this suggest about the child’s ability to acquire language without being taught?
  • How might this inform our strategies in home and classroom?

Michael Gramling
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGreatDisconnect


Please share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapters 17 and 18 and about the commentary Michael has provided. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that – Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor

What to read next: Chapter 19 The Trouble with Testing and Chapter 24 The Homework Debate (11/2/15).

*If you’re a MN participant seeking training hours, please visit this link to access to requirements.

63 Responses to Who Should Lead the Learning? Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 17 and 18 (Week 9)

  1. Rae Pica says:

    Thank you, Michael! Love the examples — and the fire! — in your piece!

  2. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Michael: In class I often get the question from parents,”How can I help my child get ready for kindergarten. How can I make sure they are not behind?” I answer them back with a few other questions, “Do you read and tell stories to your child? Do you talk to them throughout the day? Do you take them to new places and outside to explore?” I often get a confused look from parents and while they say yes to all my questions. Then I tell the them GREAT, you are doing all you need to do! Parents have started doubting their parenting, thinking that everyday interacting and caring is not enough. They have been told by media and even some educators that they need to be “working” with their child on their school readiness skills.
    I feel that this mentality has taken away some of the time that parents and even teachers had to just enjoy and be in the moment with the children in their lives.

  3. Betsy says:

    It seems families want products and concrete examples of what they conceptualize as learning and “kindergarten readiness”. When I am working with families it has become my practice to share photos of activity in our learning environment and share how the children are developing through the activity. I often use fairly academic vocabulary and share research so they begin to understand and take seriously how exploration and discovery through self driven supported play and open ended process focused activities have much stronger outcomes then memorizing and cookie cutter activities. I also always remind them that even more important then the brain development etc. is the fun we are having together.

  4. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Betsy: So True!!! That’s what its all about!!

  5. Jen Nagorski says:

    As a child life specialist, I spent all last week working in radiology getting kiddos ready for IV placements. These chapters and Michael’s insightful blog post helped me remember that although I have a very clear goal in mind for medical play–to help a child understand (and hopefully master) their experience–they will learn more and be more successful if I allow them to lead the play. By following their lead, I can assess which piece they may be struggling with or what coping technique might be most successful for them. For example, a child who repeatedly ties the tourniquet on my Spiderman doll might have the most trouble with this step in the process. I wouldn’t have been able to assess this had I structured and dictated each step without allowing for free play.

    You said it so perfectly, Betsy: “…exploration and discovery through self driven supported play and open ended process focused activities have much stronger outcomes then memorizing and cookie cutter activities.” We can support children’s exploration and play to create opportunities for vital learning.

  6. Rae Pica says:

    Brava to Sarah and Betsy!

    And, Jen, I’ve really enjoyed your contributions to this book study. Your work is something with which I’ve been unfamiliar but I’ve learned so much from your posts. The insight you share here is profound!

  7. Jane says:

    Betsy, I really like your idea of sharing photos. They are also so meaning full to the young child. They provide a bridge between the classroom and home as well as an example to the families.
    I am seeing that young parents are so busy working they have precious few moments to spend with their child each night. I want to encourage them to take time for what is so important for brain development, while still meeting their physical and social emotional needs.

  8. Dianne says:

    I strongly agree that too much emphasis has been placed on rote learning and I don’t think that is helping young children. I have a daycare parent that was so proud of her two year old daughter because she had taught her to sing the ABC’s. It was impressive enough, but to the little girl, it was just singing a song. She was excited to be singing a song and getting extra attention from Mom. Any amount of time a parent can spend with their preschool child just talking and experiencing a variety of things in life is way more valuable at that age. Young children are so fun to watch when they discover new things and experience something they have never experienced before. The joy you see in their face is just amazing.

    As for as learning new words, the words children learn the easiest are not words that someone tries to teach them. They are words that child hears and just picks up on. This is shown in how often a preschooler will repeat a “bad word” that they have heard either at home or on TV or somewhere. Children pick up far more than parents realize just from watching and listening to the people around them. The stories I have heard over the years from preschoolers of things they have seen at home are quite entertaining.

  9. Kim Woehl says:

    I sometimes feel like we are still wondering as educators how to define words like authentic and outcomes. I also feel like we have a significant disconnect between the early educator and the k-12 system.

    We know that children learn to solve problems through play, they do this through investigation, trial and error, being able to make play choices that are interesting to them and then being given enough time to really dig in and allow for this learning to be explored at a deeper level.

    As you shared, “instead of learning to be critical, imaginative, and independent, there is too often an emphasis on being obedient, cooperative, and dependent”. I worry as I see this trickle down effect as government is pushing to change the early education field and make it more like the current k-12 system and we know that this does not do well for children.

    As for taking the side seat in learning, this is the best way to sit back and see what the child really knows, what really interests them, how they decided that this was the best solution to a challenge they were having. We can show that students are meeting outcomes or pre-decided goals but we can do this best by watching the child as they learn best.

  10. Heather Q says:


    I design my curriculum and plan activities around the kids I am teaching right now. Meet the kids where they are and then learning can grow from there. Not rote learning, but by letting the children engage and asking questions and adding interest objects and ideas to let learning just happen. I love watching little light bulbs turn on!

  11. Cindy Kish says:

    Children need time to discover and try things on their own in their own time. They need the tools and open free play time and things for trial and error. I had one child in my care a few years ago that no matter what would not even pick up a crayon here. I tried everything so I asked the mother about it and she said “I don’t know what you are talking about, that is all he does at home. I don’t like a lot of toys all over so I have him color everyday.” So the next day I asked him if instead of using the crayons how about watercolor pencils or paints. When I showed him both he was so excited about using something besides crayons. When I gave him the watercolor pencils and blank paper he showed a great art talent and the parents were so surprised by what he created. I came to find out later that they didn’t even have other forms of art for him to do, just 5 coloring books and a box of 16 crayons. I that was all I had to use I wouldn’t like art either.

    I enjoy watching and observing how the children learn, create and explore when they have the play time that is needed. We all have to work to show the need for this open free time for children and that is a need that is not being met.

  12. Betsy says:

    I am curious Cindy, How did you use this crayon situation to help the family understand and value the missed opportunities at home?

  13. Cindy Kish says:

    I had a open house one evening for all of my families with all of the art and building blocks out. I than asked the parents to talk to their child as they build something with the blocks, they could ask questions but no help. When the child was done with the building I asked the child to pick out some art supplies and do something with them. This child picked out sticks, glue, and other small objects and then build a smaller scale building of what he build with the blocks. I let the children go in the kitchen for snacks with my assistant and talked with all of the parents about what the children had done and how important it is for them to have open time and supplies of many kinds. We talked about how it all didn’t have to be out all at the same time and about rotating the supplies and toys at home like I do here. We also discussed how I would put in my daily emails once a month the things we would be exploring the next month so parents had time to see what they have. We also discussed that if they want to bring things here to share or borrow something from me we can set that up. I did it as a open house for all my families so this family wouldn’t feel like I had singled them out. This family and some of the others took my open house to heart and even started to ask me when they could add other things.

    It went very well and now about once a quarter we offer some kind of family event that families can choose to come or not. It gives them time to get to know each other and we can all learn from each other.

  14. Betsy Carlin says:

    Sounds like it was a great way to bring your community of families together in many ways. Thanks for sharing. So glad I asked!

  15. Diana M says:

    Great comments by everyone! I agree completely that rote leaking is not particularly useful for young children like preschoolers and so forth. I remember one conference with the parents of one kid who didn’t really know his letter or numbers too well. They told me that the child preferred to spend his time outdoors at home and so they hadn’t really been working on those things outside of school. I told them that was fantastic! For goodness sake don’t make your child come inside to drill his letters and numbers! He only has a short time to enjoy being a kid, the pressures of school will come soon enough! Luckily the parents seemed to agree with my vein of thinking.

  16. Rae Pica says:

    I love it when parents get it!

  17. Rachel D says:

    Some very interesting comments from all. When Rae Pica started talking about rote learning I thought back to my years in school and all of the pointless facts that I had to memorize in order to do well on some standardized test. I completely agree with the statement about how children can learn so much with just their every day interactions. Having a parent who will take time to talk with their child about what they are doing at that moment is one of the best ways for a child to learn. Just like in the previous chapter where it mentioned that children learn best through experiences, not through memorization. Making sure that the children are the ones actually involved and have control of their own learning.

  18. Kelsie Brandl says:

    “It is the intellectual ability to communicate, not the academic ability to define, that forms the foundation on which literacy is built and success in school made possible.”
    This is so true. Once school is said and done, who cares what antidisestablishmentarianism means or how it’s spelled? Use it the right way in a sentence and you’re good. Dr. Seuss is where it’s at. He formed my love of reading a writing. When I learned Spanish, we learned through hearing and activities. We never really had spelling tests or anything pressured. So why does learning our own language have to be so stressful especially at a young age? We’re not raising Olympians to go to battle. It’s not the Roman Empire. Great read!

  19. Samantha Miller says:

    As I sit doing circle time in my classroom I have often wondered what the point is of doing calendar. Hardly any of my children can tell me what day it is when they know what yesterday was. I do think repeatedly counting has help some know what numbers are which, but overall I have never understood. I have continued to do calendar as it is required but I don’t spend much time on it. I find that they benefit more from things they personally get to do. We practice together writing letters and then they do a search in my room and find those letters on posters or the Metter magnets, they also find the color of the week and the shape. I have seen many of my kids get so excited they found them and I can see they are actually grasping the concept. Plus this gets them moving! I wholeheartedly agree with letting them get to pick what they want to know. The themes that we have don’t match what they want to explore which doesn’t let them use their own brain power. As much as I can I want to implement more child directed activities

  20. Freda says:

    Back when I was in school, having to memorize pages upon pages of studies was the worst thing I remember was not fun at all. But often times that has been the only way to have a work recognized as correct. We as parents/teachers need to encourage creativity and free thinkers/innovators. Memorizing will only work for a minute but actually absorbing a lesson will last for a way longer period.

  21. Nikki Shapiro says:

    Open ended experiences allow children to lead their learning. For example, art is a great concept for this discussion. Are we product driven or process driven? Years ago I presented at an early childhood conference on this concept. I had the group divide in half. My co-presenter lead one half of the group in a product driven project – making a lady bug. Everyone had to follow the teacher and do each step exactly like the model. My half of the group was asked to create a cool bug with any materials they wanted from a big box of materials, and tell a story about what their bug eats and where it lives. The first half of the group was quiet and focused on following instructions. My half was moving around, playing, laughing, engaging all of their senses and having fun. Group one was finished and sitting in ten minutes. Group two didn’t want to end their creating times when the session was over. The discussion at the end of the activity was great – it was an aha moment for some educators. I think adults are scared of the mess, or lack of control, or not sending home a perfect looking product. But the children are engaged, excited and learning when they are given these kinds of opportunities for learning.

  22. Marcy Dragseth says:

    I agree that having kids memorize their colors, letters and so on it is not the answer. Encouraging them to be creative. And asking them questions rather than giving them the answers. Just as we guide them in discipline, we also need to guide them in learning. To make them responsible adults we need to encourage problem solving at a early age and it will be with them forever.

  23. Kelly North says:

    We just need to let kids be kids. To me that is just letting them play, because that’s how they learn the best. They don’t need to be “taught” they need to be able to participate and observe.

  24. Kirsten Barie says:

    Even though I do not agree with the idea of rote learning, I can see why it is happening. Teachers and schools are under pressure from “the powers that be” that they need to complete a certain set of tasks and curriculum in order to keep everyone on track. I think that sometimes rote learning is used due to a shortage of time…lack of time to get it all done, lack of time for teachers to even try to plan something new like Josh Stumpenhorst does as it was mentioned in Chapter 18. In early childhood I can see some strides being made to go away from rote learning and focus on a child led curriculum. Over my years of being involved with various programs and different philosophies, I must say that many parents still do not understand why we do the things we do (any why their children aren’t coming home with worksheets on their ABCs and numbers). I believe it is important to educate the parents on this topic.

  25. Rae Pica says:

    Yes, yes, yes! We HAVE TO educate the parents! thanks for your comments, Kirsten.

  26. Yi Ling (Ivy) Flanders says:

    Wow, I really like the idea of giving children “time”, to let them have a total understanding of a concept or solving a problem on their own pace, we definitely need to give them enough time! We sometime will rush them as we have a schedule to follow throughout the day, but if we can take a few period of time for them to process their thinking or idea, that would make the learning even more meaningful.

  27. Steph Kallinen says:

    The line “Don’t do anything for the students that they can do for themselves, and don’t answer questions that they’re able to answer on their own” really resonated with me! What a hard thing to do in a day care setting sometimes- it is way easier to put the shoe on, tie the shoe or write their name on their project myself- but I need to think of the benefits they will get from me being patient and letting them do it on their own!

  28. Kathryn says:

    I agree that in order for true authentic learning to be done, a child has to understand and comprehend what is being taught to them. But comprehension is not happening because we are pushing curriculum that is not developmentally appropriate for them. We need to do more hands-on and exploration learning activities so that they can see the real-life outcomes for their learning.

  29. Samantha says:

    I am started to lay back and let the kids decide how they want to learn. If they decide to play with cars I say, let’s count these or what color is this. Then we vroom vroom together. I also attended Dawn Braa’s loose parts class and loved it. I allowed the kids to play with tires, boards and they brought bikes in. I stood back and just watch them be safe. My 4 & 5 year old helped the 1 years old roll the tires and laughed and learned with them. They were singing songs I had taught them or just talking about what way to roll or how dirty they were getting. It’s a blast watching the kids play and learn their way.

  30. Shari Ernst says:

    I love the sentence “Let’s quit trying to control the learning process and make room instead for the child’s incredible capacity for intellectual growth”. So true and so simple…but schools don’t see it.
    “Memorizing isn’t necessarily synonymous with real learning until a child know what they are learning represents the information has no relevance to the child’s life”.. so much truth to this….basically no true learning. So we beat the days of the week into their young minds and they are just reciting it to be obedient. Uggg. We really don’t need to memorize a lot anymore. Like the book says we live in a digital age where we just type in on a word on a computer and bam there is all is. But I also get why we are taught these things. We need to know things like the days of the week but many the way we go about it should make sense to the child. It’s crazy to think that educational foundations have not changed in 125 years. It’s almost embarrassing to read that. With our high tech way of life why haven’t we changed the way we educate our future generations? Kids used to be expected to recite what was learned and sit still and quiet…those days should be in our history and we now know that we need to prepare our kids to be independent, imaginative, and good team players to be successful in their future.

  31. Melissa D says:

    I think that one of the great things about being an early childhood educator (outside of the school system) is that we have great opportunities for open ended learning and exploration. By letting the children lead their learning we are helping make sure they are excited about learning and creating a foundation that will (hopefully) continue with them through their entire academic career. Children are able to learn so much through exploration…they can learn to trust their instincts, how to “fail” and keep trying, cooperation, etc.

  32. Karlee O says:

    When I first read the chapters I was a bit disengaged thinking ‘this doesn’t apply to me. Memorizing facts is for school children, not my toddlers.; Then when I read Gramling’s writing I realized that this is directed at the me who applied for the toddler position years ago who thought that children memorizing flash cards was teaching. Through my continuing education ive been brought to see how engaging in a child’s play and interests is the best way to educate, not by assessing them on their ability to parrot back “the apple is red.” The apple has many traits, hard, smooth, shiny, cool, round etc how do I know that they are connecting the word red with the attribute associated with color? Experiences are the way they really learn, not memorization.

  33. Jill B says:

    As I read this, I am currently working on my state’s rating program. In order to get a top rating, you are required to teach a curriculum for all ages. This puzzled me prior to these readings but even more so now. Infants and toddlers learn through play, through observation and interaction with their surroundings as well as exposure to new things. Every day I take my group outside. This will continue to take precedence over a rating mandatory curriculum. My own son did not attend a formal preschool and he was perfectly ready for kindergarten and was very happy going to state parks, visiting family, and going to children’s museums and the zoo instead of sitting in a classroom and me not being able to take him places because he had school 5 days a week at the age of 3. On the flip side, my oldest craved being challenged and loved preschool. It all goes back to meeting the child’s learning needs.

  34. Amy Carter says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this. Entirely way too much emphasis on rote leading. My second grade daughter just had a math test about telling time. On the review were questions about the phases “half past” and “quarter to” and “quarter after.” I was so baffled and frustrated that they were having them memorize this when they haven’t even begun fractions. This is also one of the biggest complaints I hear from teachers themselves- that students are being judged on test scores and not actual comprehension of the material.
    Also great points made about the emphasis on learning being obedient, cooperative, and dependent. It’s crazy to think the education system has not really changed much in 125 years…

  35. Tasha Martin says:

    Children most definately learn the best from watching, listening and, seeing others do so. I have watched this myself as my eldest child would teach the younger children and it kept going as I have had more children. I encourage helping one another. I feel it also goes in a negative way. I see everyday children start to fall behind from where they were at one point to not listening or even caring as much because they are learning from other children that have been taught its ok not do things that may not be ok in this childs home. I work in a very diverse childcare center which is mostly Samolian. They raise their children in a very different way, I watch some of the other children start to pick up some bad and some good habits. Non the less learning from one another is an amazing thing to see on a daily basis. All children learn at their own pace no amount of training or pushing is going to make it go faster but it can make them not want to learn if pushed to much.

  36. Arissa Kordell says:

    When we discuss Kindergarten readiness we need to remember that things have changed so much from when we were going to Kindergarten vs our kids. Our children are expected to know and learn so much more before they even start school compared to what we needed to know. Kids are expected to know their ABC’s and to count. When we were going to Kindergarten we learned these things during class, not before we arrived. When we were kids we spent more of our time outside and playing and being creative, the norm now is for kids to sit in front of a TV or tablet and play their games. We forget that by simply talking to our kids and having a conversation with them, even if they don’t talk back or understand, can help so much. Reading a book to our kids at night helps prepare them for reading in school and helps them to begin recognizing words and sounds. We don’t have to push our kids to learn and understand in order to make them ready for Kindergarten, we just need to simply spend time with our kids. The biggest thing I thought about is that our kids are becoming more and more “not ready” for Kindergarten. Kids are starting school behind and then they continue to struggle as the years go on. We need to be better as parents to help prepare our children for school and that doesn’t necessarily mean putting them in a preschool program. We just need to communicate with out children and do activities to help prepare them.

  37. Laura says:

    I understand kindergarten readiness but I understand more that children need to be children. What works for one child being challenged may not work for another needing the extra assistance for something they have not quite mastered. Today it seems like children do not have the common world knowledge that is needed but have plenty of book smarts that necessarily will not be able to help them with everyday tasks and living. I totally get that book smarts will help with a career. Parents and caregivers are always trying to solve problems for the children and not letting them work them out and figure things out on their own… Children NEED to learn to solve problems and that is something this chapter points out.
    Everyone learns differently and I completely agree that each child needs to have their learning needs met, if that means repeating something, physically seeing and doing something or watching to learn. Each and every child is different.

  38. Kora says:

    I liked the statement about why it was important for students to be able to lead their own learning, because when they are older they will not have a teacher. I thought it was a very good point. I love seeing the awww affect that my kids have when they have learned something for themselves. It is self-gratifying. But on the downside it is sad that there are people in the education system that don’t care for the quality of education. Also there was a very good point that people in general don’t have to memorize things like before. That is what google is for now days.

  39. Joni Helmeke says:

    The line that stuck out for me the most from these two chapters was “don’t do for students what they can do for themselves.” I have held this philosophy when working with children, trying to hold back and not intervene whenever possible so that children can experience the frustration and then real reward of figuring something out for themselves. Very much like encouraging an infant to take his/her first steps or other infantile milestones, real learning comes when the educational environment or learning experience is set up in such as way to foster mastery of a skill or property.

  40. Bobbie S says:

    I tell my parents that children are like sponges, they are soaking up all the information they have around them and are learning how to apply it to daily lives.
    Children learn how to put words into contest from family, daycare provider, and siblings (fi they have any).
    Strategies at home; how we talk to our husband/wife. How we treat our children, howe we teach children to be towards each other. The list can go on forever, my daycare children get a paper each Friday that has “homework” about manners or something of such. Yes parents lie and will say oh little johny did awesome yet little johny doesn’t even say please yet. That is on them and when they come to me and say why is he lieing all the time I pull out the sheet and I say remember this, yep you showed him at a young age this is okay. As parents we have to look at ourselves first no one is perfect but we are the adults and if we want children to be nice and respectful and use their words correctly we need to also.

  41. Sue says:

    YES! Memorization does not equal learning!
    I remember growing up on all my report cards they would state, she is very obedient, cooperative and a good listener–nothing about learning anything!

  42. Jessica Kabogoza says:

    I agree that mere memorization of facts is not the best way to learn anything. At the very least it lacks any sort of passion or drive to familiarize yourself with a subject. One of my favorite things is to have my daughter ask me questions about a book we’ve read or something we’ve watched together on tv. I love it when I can “see” her mind thinking about what she’s watching. With all that said, I still think there is a place, and even sometimes an excitement about learning things through memorization. I very vividly remember being in 3rd grade and finally memorizing all my multiplication tables. I can still feel how proud I was of myself and how good I felt about what I could spout out. Another example would be the weekly spelling tests I took in grade school. It always felt good to get back that paper with a 10/10. As stated earlier, memorization should not be the only form of learning, but there is a place for it and it can be a way to boost confidence to delve deeper into other subjects.

  43. Terri VanHoudt says:

    The 2 go hand in hand. Authentic Learning & Leading the group. Authentic Learning is when those teachable moments come into play. Especially when working with young children as i do. I think to learn a new skill it is sometimes alot easier to let them see, feel touch the concept when possible. It is easier to grasp the ideas if you can feel or touch it. My oldest son, we did practice spelling words with his writing paper on top of sandpaper. The rough surface helped him to remember the feel of each letter when had to spell them. I currently have 3- 1 year olds and 1- 3 year olds, 1-4 year olds, and that is enough. I talked about my 3 & 4 year old boys in the last question. We are really trying to work on cooperation by working together than. at this point i am not having much sucess unless i am sitting right there. I believe and understand the concept of not having the teacher stand up and just recite information.

  44. Anna Patnode says:

    Week 9 -7/30/18
    Reading – chapters 17 and 18
    In my preschool program I have tried to find a balance between student and teacher lead activities. While I think there is still room for teacher lead activities the topics addressed in chapters 17 and 18 make me believe they are less useful then I once believed. The thought questions posed by Michael Gramling are also very useful. Children really are sponges, we all know it, believe it and have seen it in action, yet we insist on teaching them as if they need us to have a vocabulary lesson versus just conversational learning. The idea of how little education has changed in the last 125 years is ridiculous and the state Rae pointed out about the percentage of jobs not yet created is startling to the system we try and use to educate our children. I’m thankful for the opportunity to run my own program but I need to find ways to encourage the local public schools to my children have optimal learning outside my home as well.

  45. Nallely says:

    It is true that the idea of memorizing is not a way of learning, what it does is to limit the imagination, knowledge and skills that can develop. Following a routine becomes boring and frustrating for children, when what they should do is explore and experiment. I believe that the teachers who are at the head of the children are sometimes rigid and authoritative, and the children are scared and come to follow only the instructions, I agree that the teachers can be more involved with the children to create that bond of trust and greater use of learning, learn all of everyone and also let the children think and accept that teachers can also be wrong in some situations.

  46. Nallely says:

    It is true that the idea of memorizing is not a way of learning, what it does is to limit the imagination, knowledge and skills that can develop. Following a routine becomes boring and frustrating for children, when what they should do is explore and experiment. I believe that the teachers who are at the head of the children are sometimes rigid and authoritative, and the children are scared and come to follow only the instructions, I agree that the teachers can be more involved with the children to create that bond of trust and greater use of learning, learn all of everyone and also let the children think and accept that teachers can also be wrong in some situations.

  47. Liz says:

    As a preschool teacher I have also seen and heard many of the same comments from the posts. It saddens me that a sense of moderation and common sense can not be used in caring for and teaching young children. I hope in the future everyone begins to understand the need to take our cues from children and provide them varied opportunities to learn and express themselves.

  48. Laura Borchardt says:

    Parents love “product art.” They love worksheets to see their child’s development. There are so many other ways to observe child development and record it. Teachers of early childhood are now developing different ways to show children’s work to parents through pictures and observations. It is very important for the preschoolers to be leading us through their learning. If they are talking about what they are observing we can question them about it and give them resources to expand their knowledge of their play. It is also easy to make plans for your classroom not too far in advance or have a flexible enough schedule to incorporate the preschoolers interests as a whole classroom. They get very into what the group is excited about at the moment. During the summer this often includes bugs they find outside.

  49. DeAnna Stowe says:

    Authentic learning is real life learning. It is a style of learning that encourages a child to create their own creation/ lesson on their own and share with the rest of the world. Our problem with education these days is with some of our educators. Our educators don’t believe this to be true learning. They believe sitting still at a desk, taking notes, and following a direct curriculum is the most effective learning a child/student will benefit from.

  50. Brittany says:

    Language this is an amazing part of development that we do not have a full understanding of it. Now does a little baby that does not know any language begin to understand and learn how to form sounds and then words without any special curriculum. Yes, I know that the first five years of life that they brain is developing so much and fast but we need to allow our children to develop language at their speed. I like the best thing we can do for our children for language is to just read read read books to them along with being present and talking to them. Reading books and talking will help them to continue to develop language at their speed since I know some four year olds that know who to read with no special curriculum.

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