Intentional teaching involves educators being deliberate about their actions in order to develop children's skills, concepts, understandings and dispositions. It is an important component of the teaching and learning process. This chapter describes intentional teaching and its purpose. It outlines the relationship between intentional teaching, guided play and child-directed play. The place of scaffolding in intentional teaching is described, with a range of verbal scaffolding strategies to extend children's science skills, knowledge and understanding presented. The components of a lesson plan are then introduced and illustrated to demonstrate how to plan for intentional teaching in science.
At the end of this chapter you will be able to:
■ describe intentional teaching and its purpose
■ outline the relationship between intentional teaching and play
■ describe the use of science verbal scaffolding strategies as part of intentional teaching
■ describe the components of a lesson plan
■ plan for intentional teaching in science using a lesson plan.
What is intentional teaching?
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) defines intentional teaching as ‘educators being deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful in their decisions and actions’ (DEEWR, 2009, p. 15). Intentional teaching is a process where educators deliberately plan and instruct learning activities and experiences in order to develop children's skills, concepts, understandings and dispositions. It can be argued that, to some extent, all teaching is ‘intentional’ as educators are continually making decisions about the learning environment, daily program, resources to be made available to the children, and teaching strategies to be used.
The process of developing intentional teaching is involved and thoughtful. Learning experiences should be meaningful and challenging to children. A range of teaching strategies should be incorporated to help extend children's thinking and learning. These could include modelling, guided practice, demonstrating, questioning, brain-storming, wondering, explaining, sustained shared thinking, or problem solving. In intentional teaching, educators demonstrate an awareness of when to lead children, when to interact with children and when to let children lead. Intentional teaching can occur with individual, small group or whole class activities. Intentional teaching can also happen incidentally when educators take advantage of ‘teachable moments’ throughout the day.
Children continually explore their world. Thus, intentional teaching can be incorporated in science learning experiences to expose children to scientific inquiry and involve them in scientific processes.