ERIC Number: ED342492
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Children Should Be Heard: Developing an Open-Minded Foundation in the Early Years.
Thayer-Bacon, Barbara J.
By offering children the opportunity to speak up in the classroom, educators help build a vital foundation in open-mindedness that is essential for critical thinking. Teaching children to be critical thinkers requires that teachers listen to what children say, encourage them to talk, and not insist that they share the teacher's beliefs. Young children immediately believe in their own ideas, have complete assurance on all subjects, and are impervious to experience or different points of view. Interaction with others is the primary way that children move out of this egocentric manner of thought. Because of the strong connection between language and thought, children need to practice their language skills to improve their thinking ability. Aside from family settings, school is a good place to help children learn these skills. Unfortunately, teachers, like parents, often lack the time to listen patiently, offer guidance, and discuss issues. There are many ways of opening up the time for class discussions and many benefits to doing so. These benefits include increased enthusiasm for the subject and creativity in thinking about the different ideas involved. If children are to receive these benefits, teachers must overcome: (1) beliefs that children learn more from adults than from each other and that children are easier to manage when they are kept quiet; (2) the fear that dialogue may prove psychologically damaging to children; and, most importantly, (3) the tendency to make one's feelings about children contingent on the children's beliefs. (AC)
Descriptors: Child Rearing, Classroom Communication, Classroom Environment, Classroom Techniques, Cognitive Development, Critical Thinking, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Language Skills, Listening, Parent Child Relationship, Teacher Influence, Teacher Student Relationship
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A