Earlier in today’s Facebook posting, I shared how we can draw lessons from our children through a process called reflection.

In this blog post, I will be focusing on using teachable moments with our children.

WHAT IS A TEACHABLE MOMENT?

A teachable moment is an unplanned event during the day that adults can use as a learning opportunity for kids. When a child displays an action or behavior that can be used as a learning tool or when he/ she observes some things around, parents and providers should capitalize on the moment and provide the opportunity to extend or expand the child’s learning.

WHERE DOES A TEACHABLE MOMENT OCCUR?

A teachable moment can happen almost anywhere – in the supermarket, when picking your child up from school, when walking through a shopping mall or setting the table for dinner.It is not something you can plan for, rather, it is a fleeting opportunity that must be sensed and seized by parents.

WHEN DOES A TEACHABLE MOMENT TAKE PLACE?

Teachable moments sometimes occur when your child asks you a question. This question may be something related to the activity that the both of you are currently engaged in. So for example, when you are looking through a pamphlet for a blood donation drive, your child may ask “ Why do people donate blood?”

At other times, the question directed at you may be something totally unrelated to the task that you are engaged in. Your child may also question you on things that he /she observed from some time back. While doing their homework, your child may suddenly ask” Mummy, remember that man who talked to himself the other time. Why does he do that?”

A teachable moment can also happen when you see that a lesson can be drawn by things that happen around you. It need not be initiated from your child’s questions.

WHAT DO I DO DURING A TEACHABLE MOMENT?

Here are some beginning tips you can try when a teachable moment arises.

  • Pause and Explain

-It is a good idea to pause at whatever that you are doing and use this time to provide an explanation to your child.

-Children are curious beings and when they pose a question, they are giving us a good cue that they are ready to be engaged. The probability of your child retaining this information is also likely to be higher.

-If the child did not ask a question,you may want to start with “ Hey, I want to share with you something. See that girl crying over there?”

  • Ask your child’s opinion for something that he/she observed. What do you think just happened? How do you think the girl is feeling? What would you do if it happens to you?

-Sharing their thoughts gives us a chance to get to know what children are thinking and how they are feeling. In addition, this is an opportunity for children to use their vocabulary skills. When we do this, and listen to their responses attentively, we are also showing them respect.

– Asking children for their opinion also shows them that we are interested to know them.   When parents and other adults become more of a “partner” and less of a “boss” during conversations, children will open up and enjoy the interaction time.

-Allowing the children to put themselves in another person’s shoes fosters empathy.Empathy is a skill that experts from many disciplines have deemed important for personal, relationship and career success. A strong sense of empathy allows children to make decisions that are right for them without hurting others or seeking approval or acceptance. This may strengthen them against negative peer pressure and a range of maladaptive behaviors such as substance abuse, bullying, aggression or violence against others.

-Remember to thank your child after you’ve heard from him/ her!

  • Highlight to your child the positive behaviours or moral values that you would like to instil in him/ her.

Share the lesson that you would like your child to learn after hearing his/ her thoughts.

Take time to explain other possible reasons for someone’s behaviour for example.

-In the example given above, the child can be guided to learn that people donate to help others and one way to do so is through donating blood. You can also tell them that donations are not necessarily monetary in nature.

-Further discussions may include other ways that a child can contribute/ donate to those who may be in need.  To bring it further, you may also want to follow up with an activity where your child gets to participate in a donation drive for example.

IN CONCLUSION…

The possibilities of leading a teachable moment is endless. There is no right or wrong way. A single teachable moment can lead you to another and you may find your discussion going into other topics as your child asks you more questions.

There is a teachable moment that we can find everyday. Pay close attention and practice these 3 beginning steps as you embark on the wonderful experience of sharing a teachable moment with your child.

Some of the above information have been taken from these websites:

www.aplaceofourown.org

www. K6educators.about.com

www. Education.Jhu.edu

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sack-md/empathy_b_1658984.html

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