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Authentic learning through quality interactions

What does it mean?

Children learn best when they are given opportunities to interact with objects, the physical environment and people in contexts that are real, relevant and meaningful to them.

You can help children construct knowledge through quality interactions. This entails giving children sufficient time to express their thoughts and feelings, and engaging in shared and sustained conversations with them.

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How can you do it?

You can:
  • Provide opportunities for children to interact with materials, the environment, peers and teachers in a variety of contexts
  • Give sufficient time for children to talk about their experiences, ask questions, express their thoughts and feelings and explain how they solve problems that occur during play
  • Use cooperative learning strategies to allow children to work with others

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This video illustrates the iTeach principle, Authentic Learning through Quality Interactions, in action in the classroom. When children are given ample opportunities to engage in sustained, shared conversations, these quality interactions expand their thinking, stimulate their creativity and enrich their learning. The teacher shares how she thoughtfully plans an authentic learning activity for the children and facilitates sustained back-and-forth exchanges to promote quality interactions with the children. In addition, we also see that quality interactions can happen beyond the classroom, even during transitions and routines!

Here are some examples of questions you can use to engage children in sustained conversations:

Questions for... Examples
 Recalling information
  • What do you remember about...?
 Directing attention
  • What do you see/hear/feel/smell?
Purpose: to promote organising skills   
 Comparing and classifying
  •  How are they alike/different?
 Sequencing of events
  •  What comes next?
Purpose: to promote analysing skills
 Analysing parts and whole
  •  What are the parts or features of...?
 Analysing patterns and relationshops
  •  Why do you think...?
 Purpose: to promote generating skills
 Eliciting predictions
  •  What do you think will happen next?
 Proposing alternatives
  •  What are some other ways to...?
 Encouraging creative/imaginative thinking
  •  What would it be like if...?
Purpose: to promote metacognitive skills
 Becoming aware of one's thinking processes
  •  How did you know...?
 Comparing one's thinking with the thinking of others
  •  How did your observations compare with other children's?
 Expressing emotion and making personal  connections
  • How did you feel about...? 

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