By Lisa, Educator and Mother of 3
Over the past month I have had to opportunity to meet with my Kinder and First grade teachers to discuss higher order thinking questions along with response time. It has been interesting to see how the teachers have reacted to the information on response time. As I go into my teacher’s rooms during their Language Arts time, and listen to the type of questioning that is taking place after a read aloud, I am often reminded of my time in the classroom. All too often we ask our students a question pause for a quick second, and then answer it for them. Why is that? Through my observations this past month, I realized that so many teachers are so preoccupied with time management that they over look the need to allow children the necessary time to respond. Because teachers are so afraid of falling behind, I have found that they don’t allot enough time for students to really synthesize the questions that are being asked, much less answer them. Pre-K, Kinder and First grade children need to be taught how to listen and synthesize the questions that are being asked and at the same time, we as teachers need to make sure that we are giving the students enough time to answer. This is not a skill or process that should be rushed. The more children are rushed through this process, the less prepared they will be in the upper grades. As teachers we also need to make sure that we model the thinking process out loud. Children don’t automatically know how to think and make connections. We need to help teach them those skills so they make a plethora of great connections. This is one of the many advantages to Read-Alouds. We should not be short changing our children. We need to give them every opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of great literature so that they are able to make connections between characters and text. As educators we also need to make sure that we ask young children plenty of open ended questions. We want them all to know that what they have to say is important. We want the children to hear the connections that other students are able to make. This is how they will learn from each other. Ultimately in the end, the most crucial component of all is the time allotted for children to respond. We cannot and must not rush the students. We must allow them the necessary time to gather their thoughts in their head so that they can express their thoughts.