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Teacher prep, teaching realities, and the ideals of play

  • 1.  Teacher prep, teaching realities, and the ideals of play

    Posted 05-02-2017 04:26 PM
    In our teacher prep programs, novice teachers are exposed to the ideals of the importance of play.  Unfortunately, as we all have experienced, the realities of our individual teaching contexts bring pressure to bear against our ability to meet those ideals.  What practical strategies can we offer novice teachers about how to reconcile the ideals of the importance of play they developed during their preparation program with the realities of their teaching contexts?

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    Walter Drew
    Melbourne Beach FL
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  • 2.  RE: Teacher prep, teaching realities, and the ideals of play

    Posted 05-02-2017 04:35 PM

    Many of my students do report back to me once they have their own classrooms that the reality of their classroom responsibilities are in direct opposition to their own belief systems about what are appropriate ways to help young children grow and develop.  One support I provide is to remind them of "learning theory", that we start with the concrete, move to symbolic understanding and finally use abstractions in understanding.  This progression from concrete to symbolic to abstract is not isolated to the brains of young children, that adult brains also benefit with beginning with a concrete experience.  So, start with a concrete play experience, provide time to reflect on that experience and then make connections between what the adult experienced and what children experience during play. 



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    Marcia Nell
    East Berlin PA
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  • 3.  RE: Teacher prep, teaching realities, and the ideals of play

    Posted 05-03-2017 09:14 AM
    Not sure what state you are in but Special Olympics has a wonderful inclusive sport play program for children ages 2 - 7 called Young Athletes.  I am the Young Athletes Director in New Jersey and provide free in-services to preschool and kindergarten teachers on how to use the equipment, combine structured and unstructured play experiences and make cross-curricular links through gross motor education.  Not all states offer the same support to schools but I know a lot do.  If you let me know where you are, I can try to connect you.

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    Andrea Moore
    Special Olympics New Jersey
    Lawrenceville NJ
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  • 4.  RE: Teacher prep, teaching realities, and the ideals of play

    Posted 05-03-2017 02:33 PM
    I am so glad to see that someone has begun this discussion! It is so crucial for young teachers to understand  that what is taught in colleges and universities comes from grounded research as well as best practices. It is so important for young and seasoned teachers to stay engaged in current research and continuous professional development opportunities for their own growth. Unfortunately, there are certain schools, whether that is large public school districts, private school, or more specifically charter schools (tend to have less resources and funding due to various models), young teachers will definitely go through their own "cultural shock" within their own young professional careers.  In my opinion. there is a huge gap between what is taught vs. what is actually implemented within the day to day functionality in diverse K-12 institutional settings. I wonder...if there is any way students that are interested in teaching can begin their exposure to diverse K-12 educational settings from their first year of undergraduate career? In addition, students also need additional opportunities to engage as well as learn more about how to effectively navigate various political climates within K-12 settings.  Is there a way K-12 & Higher Education can begin to develop effective partnerships to provide interested students an opportunity to learn about the "life of a teacher" early on? Thoughts or suggestions??

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    Ankit Shah
    Educational Academy for Boys and Girls
    Columbus OH
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  • 5.  RE: Teacher prep, teaching realities, and the ideals of play

    Posted 05-04-2017 09:18 AM
    Good morning Andrea,

    I am very much interested in receiving information regarding the sport play program for children ages 2 - 7.  I am a a Site Director for a Head Start program and I think that this program would prove to be extremely beneficial.  My program is located in Philadelphia, PA .  I would greatly appreciated any information that you are able to provide.  Thanks!

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    Carol Hughes
    Philadelphia PA
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