Learning and Young Children

I recently returned from a visit to an international school in Dubai. One of the most impressive things I observed was the respect that teachers showed young children.  One teacher, when she heard that some of the children had already read a particularly story, asked the group if they would like to hear the story again. The children were eager and very agreeable. Another teacher had arranged learning centers where children could chose both the centers they wanted to visit and also how long they spent at each center.  A third teacher listened to students describing a scientific component in detail that far exceeded the scope of the lesson.  In each of these instances children were immersed in the lessons. They were engaged, enthusiastic, and comfortable with expressing their views and needs. In each case, while teachers were following curriculum pacing guides, teachers also realized that learning can be better supported by listening to children rather than simply proceeding with their written plans.

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