Importance of Creating Dialogue and High-level Interactions to the Preschool Learner
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This study is going to include research on how effective questioning and the use of feedback loops encourages the preschool learner into a higher order of thinking for increased learning outcomes. Children are curious thinkers by nature and teachers have long understood the importance of language use to extend their thinking. Historically, teachers were most the most verbal during the school day giving instruction while students were expected to sit quietly and complete their assignments. Instruction was very rote and students spent time memorizing facts. They were only expected to speak if they were asked to recite facts they had learned or read aloud. In very early education students where punished if they spoke out of turn even if the conversation was academic.
What we have learned over time, through years of pedagogical documentation, that ongoing dialogue opens up the possibility of shared reflection with the children who are innately creative, inquisitive and exploratory in nature (2015, Fauzan, N. & Zani, N.). The documentation has enabled educators to plan learning experiences and develop new techniques to allow for greater critical thinking skills. We know that academics expectations have and the demand for outcomes has increased in recent years and at a much earlier age. Working with preschool students now also involves intentional teaching practices that include creating dialogue and high-level interactions in order to increase their knowledge and higher order of thinking so they are best prepared for elementary school.
Exposure to language in various forms has always been an important part of a child’s education. Cunningham and Lee found that talking with young children encourages development in many areas, such as: spoken language, early literacy, cognitive development, social skills, and emotional maturity. In the preschool years, children learn how to participate in conversation. These abilities are critical for future success in school. Children who develop strong spoken language abilities in their early years stride far ahead of their peers when it comes to reading later in childhood. Those who do not have language strengths find it difficult to keep pace with their peers (2010, Cunningham, D., Lee A., & Test, J.). They also state that conversations with preschoolers that includes dialogue that allows for discussion of events, ideas, images, and explanations promotes the children’s thinking ability.
Even parents that have chosen less conventional methods of education, such as homeschooling, have also found that conversation is an intricate and valuable part of their educational methods. What Florida homeschool mom, Bonnie, has expressed is that through conversation her children she has learned that they have instantaneous teachable moments through her availability to immediately be able to converse with them about questions, topics, and concepts. She states that she has learned that a conversation isn’t the same as a lecture and that conversation involves engagement (nd, Family, B.). Her children have learned to listen, process the information, and then respond. She states that this process stimulates a larger portion of our brains and helps us to better retain the information and that the beauty of learning through conversation is that it can happen anywhere and about any subject.
Looking at current issues concerning conversation, Greenberg suggests there is a need to change pedagogic practices so that the dialogue that takes place in the classroom between teachers and pupils and between pupils themselves can become a powerful learning tool.