Helping Your Child to Learn - The Teaching Technique of Facilitating
What is facilitating?
As a teaching technique, facilitating refers to the process of making children's learning easier. Facilitation, therefore, refers to all the things that staff do to make children's learning more possible, such as scheduling, selecting materials, organising space, and interacting verbally and non-verbally with them. Facilitating is also about careful observation and thoughtful timing to ensure that learning is appropriate to the children's needs and interests.
You can best facilitate creative thought in a flexible but well-planned, well-organized environment where children's ideas are valued and where curriculum ideas are generated by children as well as teachers/caregivers.
How do you facilitate learning?
How you arrange the learning environment will contribute to their ability to facilitate children's learning. Facilitation supports children's learning by paying attention to what materials they are offered, how space is used, how their time is organised and how people are used. You can facilitate specific children's learning on specific occasions through regularly:
- observing how children approach a specific task and identifying the elements of the task with which they have difficulties.
- reflecting on how they can make a task easier for the child but with minimal intervention. Specifically, you need to think about what changes to the use of people, space, time and materials might be made to make a task easier for the child. Such changes might include ensuring that distractions, such as loud noises or other children, are kept to a minimum by redirecting the other children to alternative tasks, placing a tool nearby that might make the task easier, expanding the space available for the activity by moving furniture and joining two tables together, or moving another adult nearby to assist with a particularly tricky negotiation between the children.
- waiting a few seconds after they have made changes in the organisation of space, time, materials and people to see if additional changes are needed; then monitoring at regular intervals.
Facilitating children's learning also involves constantly assessing the environment to see if more significant changes are needed in the positioning of people, the positioning of equipment and materials, or the planning of the day's activities.
When and why do you facilitate learning for your child?
You generally facilitate children's learning through using equipment, time, materials, space and people. You do this when you are encouraging children to be independent learners and to learn through self-discovery. A supportive and helpful learning environment will make it more likely that these goals will be achieved and that children will be self-motivated learners.
Children who feel supported in their striving toward autonomy have greater internal motivation, higher achievement, and healthier adjustment.
You can also use facilitation to:
- increase the complexity of children's fantasy play through ensuring that they spend lots of time in the outdoor play space.
- increase children's social play with each other through ensuing that they have lots of time in the outdoor play space. Research has shown that playing outdoors leads to more social play than playing indoors.
- increase children's sense of autonomy through ensuring that they can make choices about when, where, with whom and with what they play.
- increase peer interaction between children by providing small places within the play areas. Research has shown that children engage in more conversational and pro-social play in play spaces that are divided into small areas.
- increase children's capacity to learn by providing lots of opportunities for quiet contemplation and concentration.
- support children's experimentation with writing. This involves providing children with the tools they need for writing and the time to experiment with using these for writing.