Intentional Teacher

The Intentional teacher

Teachers, since long have been classified as friend, philosopher and guide..But now in context of modern days teaching and in the wake of “Teaching for Understanding” it has become important for the contemporary teachers to change the old tagline “Friend,Philosopher and Guide” to  the new role of teachers called “Intentional Teachers” Now let’s try to understand this ‘INTENTIONAL’ teacher and her teaching style.

To be ‘Intentional’ is to act purposefully with a goal in mind and a plan for accomplishing it. An intentional teacher aims at clearly define learning objectives for children, employs instructional strategies which will help children to achieve the plan objectives. -(Epstein). The intentional teacher continually assesses progress of the children in her care and adjusts the teaching strategies based on that assessment. In simple term ,The teacher who can explain WHY she is doing WHAT she is doing, is the teacher who is acting intentionally and therefore called “ Intentional Teacher”

what this intentional teacher does:

The first thing this intentional teacher does is setting up the classroom, the physical environment even before the children arrives. And creating this setting is done with careful consideration of children’s development, curriculum goals, teaching strategies and the characteristic of the cultural and social background of the children .The intentional teacher makes sure that the classroom setting promotes not only children’s learning but also their pleasure in learning and the motivation to pursue it. The classroom is teacher’s workshop so this intentional teacher makes it welcoming and inspiring for teachers too.

Children’s interaction with teachers and peers determines what children learn and how they feel about learning. The intentional teacher establishes and maintains an interactive classroom environment that supports children’s learning and development. This classroom provides a sense of safety and security where children are not scared of raising their doubt and asking questions. They are appreciated for what they can do rather than checking on what they cannot do.

A teacher need to remember that Intentional teaching does not happen by chance .It is planed, thoughtful and purposeful. Intentional teacher use their knowledge, judgement and expertise to organize learning experiences for children and when unplanned situation arises (as it always does) they grab this opportunities and take advantage of it. Let’s understand this with a classroom situation. The teacher had observed several children are talking and comparing— ‘I am bigger than you ….’. She intentionally (to teach the math concept of comparing) chooses a familiar and popular material with the potential for maths talk. She provides play dough to children to play with and while children are rolling their play dough  she engages them in conversation—

‘mine is longer than…’

‘Sana’s is as long as the table’

‘we need to join them together to fit the big table’

‘look how long mine’s getting … which is longest?’

’ who is tallest out of Sam, Rishabh and Abhi?’

By planning to create an opportunity for children to make comparisons and draw and test a conclusion, the teacher here was “teaching”…important ways of thinking mathematically’. By engaging children in shared, sustained conversation, she was extending their understandings, providing new language to describe things and showing that she valued children’s thinking.

The second thing that the intentional teacher does is :

the Intentional teacher plans Child directed activities as well as Adult Directed activities to support the learning in the classroom.

In child-guided learning, teachers provide materials but children make connections on their own or through interactions with their friends. For example teacher has already introduce concept of ones and tens now she provides unfix cubes, beans ,beads etc to children and children are making their own groups of tens and ones and creating their own math story. The intentional teacher here supports children by providing enough of material for children to explore and by providing challenge on how they can apply the learnt concept in the real life situation

Adult-guided learning involves materials and experiences children

are less likely to encounter on their own, systems of knowledge they cannot create on their own. For example teacher introduces the new concept of Shapes. Children may not be aware of the names of the shapes like trapezium, heptagon but they have seen them around them. Here the teacher has to introduce them during the group time and name them .Adult guided learning is helpful during introduction of new concept to the class. And child directed activities support to strengthen the new learning and skills that children have just acquire.

The intentional teacher makes sure that the different learning style in her classroom is addressed by the various activities that she planned for teaching. To sum up, the intentional teachers has clear goal in her mind while she plans any teaching activities. She also keeps in mind the different learning style of her classroom children. And sets up her classroom in manner where these learning styles are addressed. She asks intentional questions which stimulates learning.

To become Intentional Teacher make sure that when you plan any learning activity give opportunity for exploration of the concept, plan one social cooperative activity, one outdoor physical activity of the concept that you want to teach .Set up your classroom with creative teaching aids, use flash card. story books ,puppets and discussion to introduce your concept.

Here is how you can make your classroom learning more interesting and more engaging. For children project-based learning is easily implemented through the project approach, a three-phase structure for in-depth study of a topic that interests students helps to respond children’s curiosity to make project more engaging. Here is a three phase structure created by Helm& Kats for project based learning

The Three Phases of a Project

Phase 1: Beginning

  • Identify potential topic initiated by children.
  • Build children’s background knowledge.
  • Narrow topic further.
  • Help children create list of questions to investigate.

Phase 2: Investigation

  • Collect resources for investigating topic (books, videos, artefacts).
  • Help children use resources.
  • Arrange to meet with experts on topic.
  • Arrange field site visits.
  • Note new questions.
  • Help children record and represent what they’ve learned.

Phase 3: Culmination

  • Guide children to reflect on what they’ve learned.
  • List what children know now.
  • Help children find a way to share their learning (make a book ,do a model)
  • Give a presentation, visit another class

Take any math, language or social science   concept that you teach and introduce it on this phases you will see excellent results at the end of the project. Let’s take a topic and understand it.

The Three Phases of a Project– water conservation/Rain water Harvesting

Phase 1: Beginning

  • Why water shortage in our city?
  • What can be the real reasons?
  • What people use to do in olden days?
  • How is it happening ?
  • What is called conservation/rain water harvesting?
  • Why is it needed?.
  • Help children create list of questions to investigate.?

Phase 2: Investigation

  • Collect resources for investigating topic (books, videos, artefacts).
  • What is rain water harvesting, how is it done?
  • Can we do Water conservation ourselves.
  • Arrange to meet with experts on topic.
  • Arrange site visits of reservoir or observe rain water harvest system in school.
  • How can we help in water conservation
  • Help children record and represent what they’ve learned.

Phase 3: Culmination

  • Prepare mind map of Rain water harvest.
  • . Create rain harvesting module
  • List what children know now about benefits of Rain water harvest.
  • Help children find a way to share their learning (make a book ,do a model about rain water harvest.                                                                            The intentional teacher makes sure that she has consider the uniqueness of each child and have created positive relationship with her children and created enabling environment for learning to take place

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