Thanks to Deborah Stewart at Teach Preschool who shared the latest volume of NAEYC's "Teaching Young Children". With trepidation I read the article, "How Should Teachers Respond To Children's Private Speech" by Laura J. Colker and I found it quite thought provoking. It seems that many teachers try to stifle the private speech of their students. I don't. As I was reading, I began to question my practice in the classroom regarding private speech. Have I been doing something that was not DAP? That is the last thing I meant to do.
Not only do I not stifle it, I encourage and try to facilitate it. I've always felt that the private speech affords me a glance into how students are thinking about problem solving and creating. I've learned to gently insert myself without disrupting the flow and use those moments to hear what and how my students are thinking. Now halfway through the year, I can slip in and talk about the thoughts they are expressing with my "private speakers".
When I was in college, I was fortunate to have a really fantastic professor for several of my math in education courses, Dr. Linda Crawford. Math was not one of my favorite subjects, but she made me excited about teaching it. In all honesty, she was one of my tougher professors, but I certainly learned more from her than I ever thought I could. While I learned volumes from her about teaching students math, I learned so much more about thinking about how I go about the practice of teaching. One of the things she required was for us to reflect on our teaching. (At the time, I saw it as more of a "busy" assignment, but here I am today in the blogging world, doing just that!)
In all of her classes, she promoted talking with children to learn how they are thinking. Discovering how children problem solve can provide powerful insights to us. As I put this into practice, I saw this as a tool to help with language development, as well.
When children used private speech in my classroom, I viewed it not as a disruption, but as another opportunity. I have been facilitating private speech in my room for some time now. I learn alot about my students during these moments, and I've had the great pleasure to be present during more than a few of their own "Aha!" lightbulb moments. Those moments are the greatest gifts to a teacher and as I was reading, I cringed at the thought that I might have to rethink this practice. I must say I was relieved to reach the end of the article and discover this was a practice I did not need to abandon! Freedom of speech in Pre-K----AWESOME!
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