Topics in Early Childhood Education

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

To the Left or to the Right?

A couple of years ago I ran into these two signs in Hawaii. One arrow says, "Parking Lot this Way" and the second arrow pointing in the opposite direction says, "One Way." Sometimes life gives us mixed messages so that we are not sure which road to take.

As I have the opportunity to be in many classrooms each year, I often see and hear mixed messages given to the children in our classes. However, I think the mixed message that disturbs me the most is something that I observe on a regular basis. I hear teachers say, "Now, follow my directions and do exactly as I say so that you can get the right answer." Then I hear the same teacher say during a different activity, "Use your imagination, be creative. This is your project." Hmmmm.... It is no surprise to me that we are unable to get children to be creative and to develop thinking skills. The school system is so busy trying to get the children to conform to school requirements that there is little time and effort given to teach independent thinking skills.

To me, this part of education is a conflict and a mixed message. Being creative and developing thinking skills is like following the parking lot sign which is heading in the opposite direction from the world of education which continually says, "one way."



At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with the statement that schools are too busy trying to conform children to certain requirements. Isn't the point of learning to explore multiple ways to the same path of knowledge? I can see how it can be hard to children to try and do what they are told and yet have contradicting statements like "Truly express yourself" and "Follow the guidelines" be spoken to them practically simultaneously. We need to have consistency with our children and either be one sign or the other but not both.
Kastin F. FCS 5170

At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Chunlien said...

I understand how a misguiding sign leads confusion. I once saw an arrow sign was directed toward to the ground. I won't be able to go there unless I had superpower. :D
I visited a preschool classroom several days ago; there are many sentence posters on the wall. I was wondering how these young children would understand the expectations from teacher if they don’t even know how to read.
Clear sign or message in early childhood classroom is necessary and is a tool for assessments as well.
Chunlien L. FCS 5170

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