Important Teaching Concepts



This essay presents some of the philosophical teaching ideas the writer wishes to emphasize as being particularly important for teaching personhood and character.

Teach well in Advance of Need

Personhood curriculum must teach before the student will need what is taught.

Window of Opportunity

For some of the students there is a fairly narrow window of opportunity for much of what needs to be taught to make a major change. For much of Fundamental Personhood subjects, the window is roughly grades 3, 4, 5, & 6. Unless good use has been made of this window of opportunity, after 6th grade we start to lose kids. If we lose them, it becomes much more difficult to teach them, especially about attitude, motivation, character, and life-views. Consideration of this window has played a major role in laying out the curriculum.

Explicit Teaching

Teaching has to be explicit.

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Meet them Where They Are, then Bring Them Where They Need To Be

A key to teaching personhood and character is "Meet them Where They Are, then Bring Them Where They Need To Be." As has been written elsewhere in this web site, learning is a layering process. "Meeting them where they are" in part means to understand the layer of development they are at, openly identify that layer, and use it as the foundation to build to the next layer. It also means to identify the life goals that the student probably wants to achieve, and show them how what you have to teach will help them meet that goal. Remember that it has to be one of THEIR goals.

Meeting them where they are also means to not put them down, simply because they are at an immature level, have immature goals, or behave in an immature way. Instead, you should openly acknowledge that where they are is normal and to be expected. Tell them you would like to provide input that will help them move forward to adulthood.

People are usually not receptive to what you want to teach them until they feel you really do understand how they feel, and how they think. Until then, they will likely view your efforts with some version of "You just don't understand..." It takes proof that you really do understand for them to trust you. Once they trust, then you can bring in ideas that may change them.

The "Meet..." tactic should be started very early in school, probably 1st or second grade. It should be continually and overtly used throughout their school life, K-12.

Children have a Strong Desire to Learn About Life

Children are very intensely interested in growing up. Typically, they have a distorted and very incomplete understanding of what it means to be grown up, independent adults. This is to a great degree caused by adults isolating them from adult thinking. They often think that being grown up is just being able to be your own boss. The "how" is not understood.

To a considerable degree, many lessons and essays on this web site teach about how to live a life. Many of the kids seem receptive. If, during the teaching, content is clearly and explicitly tied into aspects of living, the kids seem to be very attentive. This writer believes that new content that is closely tied into other knowledge and experience is easily learned. The students are motivated to do so.

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Teaching Academic Content used to be Sufficient.
It Isn't Anymore! Why?

My generation had parents who had the time to spend with us, to help us grow in our Personhood, and to understand the importance of education. It wasn't just hearing a brief lecture "You need to do well in school because you will need it to do well in life."

The children today are different from those with whom I went to school. Today, many of the lower layers of learning are weak or missing. These have to do with nonacademic matters that the writer refers to collectively as Personhood. There are other very significant differences!

Learning has always been, is now, and always will be a layered, bottom-up process. If we fail to include a layer that is needed as the foundation for later layers, those later layers will not be learned as well, and are likely to be lost.

This is particularly true when it comes to Personhood and character. Without this firm foundation, teaching academics will not be as effective. You can do the best classroom job of teaching, but if it is built on a poor foundation, then it is likely that teaching will be forgotten.

For a much more complete essay, read "Why Teach Personhood" located on the Personhood pages.

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