Teachable Moments

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on May 12, 2009

in Classroom Management, Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers, Teachable Moments, Teachable Moments

Teachable moments are times when something unexpected occurs and the teacher helps to guide the unexpected occurrence into a learning opportunity.

Preschoolers are discovering the world around them. Their natural curiosity and need-to-know creates many opportunities for teachable moments. The teacher has to develop a teaching perspective in order to not miss out on unexpected learning opportunities. Every preschool teacher should have an understanding of what a teachable moment is and how to look at every moment from a teaching perspective.

Teachable Moments: Taking a Teaching Perspective…

  • Arguing and Fighting: A teachable perspective will view arguing and fighting as an opportunity to teach kindness and respect.
  • Spilling a cup of milk: A teachable perspective will view a mishap like this as an opportunity to teach how to hold a cup with two hands or where to set the glass.
  • Throwing paper towels on the floor: A teaching perspective will view this as an opportunity to teach children how to use just one paper towel and how to take care of their world by throwing trash in its proper place.
  • Noticing a bug crawling across the floor: A teaching perspective will view this as an opportunity to explore and discover more about bugs.

Timing of teachable moments…

Along with recognizing a teachable moment is knowing when a child is ready to take something he or she is trying to do a little further. A child trying to tie a shoe can either be a teachable moment or it can simply be a time to let the child experiment with the process. Push too hard too fast, the child can easily believe he or she isn’t capable. Look for interest but give some space to explore the process before trying to turn it into a teachable moment. By gaging the child’s readiness and interest, the child will be more successful and less frustrated in the process of learning.

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