Teaching Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Students

By Rosemary Perry | Go to book overview

2

WAYS OF KNOWING AND UNDERSTANDING CHILDREN
In this chapter we are thinking about how we can come to know children by:
• developing relationships with them;
• considering ways in which observation assists our understanding;
• using knowledge gained from observation to guide teaching actions.

TEACHERS AND CHILDREN: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Coming to know children and building relationships with them are two of the most exciting yet demanding challenges you will face as a teacher. If you are to enable children to engage in meaningful learning experiences and to approach learning with confidence it is vital that you and the children know each other well and build mutually trusting relationships. In order to develop this knowledge and construct these relationships both you and the children will need to find out how the other thinks and feels, what each can do, and how each is likely to behave in particular situations. Although it is to be expected that as the teacher you will have a far more detailed knowledge of children than children will have of you, and that you will show far more empathy and unconditional positive regard than the children, it is important to remember that coming to know another person and building an effective relationship requires the contribution of both parties.

It also takes time to achieve these goals. Trusting relationships are generally built as children and teachers talk and join together in play and other activities, as well as observe each other in everyday situations. If the duration of your teaching practice is only a few weeks, the challenges of building trusting relationships are even greater. You will be surprised, however, at the amount of knowledge you can gain in a short period of time, and at the strength of the relationships that can develop if you really set out to ‘come to know’ children. In developing relationships you should be prepared to accept that you may not always be 100 per cent successful. Leanne’s account of her experience during a recent teaching practicum provides a reminder that success in establishing relationships is not always assured despite your best efforts. Leanne wrote:

-21-

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Teaching Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Students
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Foreword x
  • Preface xii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • 1 - Teaching Practice in Early Childhood Settings 1
  • 2 - Ways of Knowing and Understanding Children 21
  • 3 - Early Childhood Curriculum 50
  • 4 - Creating Environments for Learning and Teaching 77
  • 5 - Developing a Practical Theory and Practical Skills 103
  • 6 - Working with Adults in Early Childhood Settings 127
  • 7 - Making the Most of the Teaching Practice Experience 153
  • References 176
  • Index 181
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