In my playshops with teachers we have regular conversations about what structures support and limit education. We discuss how certain structures, that we think need to be put in place, may in fact get in the way of a child’s learning and development.
Education is ongoing balance between structure and flow. Too much structure and we stifle the child’s creative spirit and capacity to make decisions for herself. Too much flow and there may not be a container, and enough guidance or safety.
It is my personal opinion that for teaching and learning to thrive, any structure used should meet the following four criteria:
- Does it support the child’s safety?
- Does it support the child’s academic development?
- Does it support the child’s creativity and imagination?
- Does it support the child’s self-esteem and empowerment, including her capacity to be self-directed?
When all four of these criteria are met, it is not only a win for the student, but for the teacher well. Too much structure stifles the teacher’s capacity to let go of control, trust her intuition and leverage teachable moments. It blocks her capacity to simply be a human being that wishes to enjoy having a spontaneous and creative connection with her student. It may keep her too much in her head and out of her heart.
Feeling empowered and joyful in teaching is dependent on how well students are provided with the same experiences. To allow children to trust their heart and follow their instincts, teachers must demonstrate this. As they do, and create joy in both teaching and learning, they will remember why they got into the field in the first place.
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How much structure is too much structure? I recommend that you read this article. It may invite you to be more curious about what structure is necessary and not necessary. And it may shed greater light on how our beliefs create the parameters of what’s possible in our children’s learning and development.
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Don’t Decide, Discover
Teacher as Leader & Learner