Monday, March 10, 2014

What are Teachable Moments?

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Teachable Moments.

It's a phrase that you will hear a lot on my blog and the ABCJLM Preschool Curriculum website.  And with almost 1.5 million search results on Google, it is a phrase that you have probably heard a plethora of other places as well. 

Our next blog series is going to take a look at what teachable moments are, when and where they occur, and why they are important.  To end I will share several ideas how to turn the mundane into a teachable moment. 

Wikipedia says a "teachable moment, in education, is the time at which learning a particular topic or idea becomes possible or easiest."  This is only a portion of what I am talking about. 

Beth Lewis on About.com defines a teachable moment as "an unplanned opportunity that arises in the classroom where a teacher has an ideal chance to offer insight to his or her students."  Now we are getting somewhere. 

I would go further to define it as an unplanned, God-given opportunity that arises with your child or student, that if grasped, provides an ideal chance for learning to occur.  It is the personal implication of the moment that provides for the maximum amount of learning. 

Unplanned, arises - This is the important part of a teachable moment.  They just happen.  Manufacturing the moment doesn't produce the same interest or personal impact that an unplanned moment has. 

God-given, provides - I believe God's hands is on every situation we encounter.  He provides opportunities for us to "impress upon our children" who He is and how much He loves us.   The Holy Spirit will guide us to recognize and have the words to explain the moments when they arise. 

Opportunity - A moment in time, chance.

Ideal Chance - It is an ideal chance because the child is interested or personally involved in the situation.  It is a chance because it is "an opportune or favorable time" and "unpredictable." (Dictionary)

Learning - Academic, social, and biblical learning.  

Teachable moments are opportunities God has given us to make a deep impression of Him on them

Before we close on this first day of our series, let's look at a few examples.

  • While driving in the car, your child points out a beautiful rainbow.  This is a teachable moment to tell the child about God's promise to Noah.
  • You run into the grocery store to purchase a gallon of milk.  The checkout lines are line but someone notices that you only have one item and allows you to go ahead of them.  This is a teachable moment to talk about kindness.
  • While giving your child a bath, he remarks that the toy is sitting on the water.  This is a teachable moment to demonstrate the words "sink" and "float."
  • Your child is helping you bake cookies, even though it takes longer you allow her to stir, unwrap, and dump ingredients.  These activities allow the child to improve gross and fine motor skills and counting.  This is a teachable moment when you allow the child to give the cookies to a neighbor and discuss how giving to others is showing love.
And I could go on and on.  Teachable moments are all around us.

I have learned that I must slow down to take advantage of the fleeting moments.  Second, I have to be dialed into the Holy Spirit to recognize them (More on this tomorrow!)

I'd love to hear an example of a teachable moment you have seen.  I hope that you will leave a comment here or on Facebook for all to read. 

Tomorrow:  When and Where Do Teachable Moments Occur



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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.