10 Part 1
through children—forcing children to pursue the teacher’s goals and
interests. Instead, master teachers use children’s natural interests to
engage open-ended discussions in width (content based) and depth (con-
necting content to concepts), encouraging children to think aloud to
start the process of critical thinking. Master teachers take risks by shar-
ing control of a discussion’s direction with children, allowing diverse
thoughts to sometimes collide, and improvising as a topic area evolves
or breaks down. Master teachers trust children’s energy and creativity
because they know that when a student is fully engaged in creating, the
peripheral noise of life goes away and inner joy and meaning remain.
Teachers who rise to this high level of mastery possess many spe-
cialized skills. In chapters 1 through 5 of this book, I present the five
underlying principles and critical elements to developing these skills,
based on my experiences with young children and master early child-
hood educators. I refer to these five underlying elements as the Master
Honor your master teachers.1.
Teach to all learning styles.2.
Ask questions to encourage critical-thinking skills.3.
Improvise to foster creativity.4.
Teach topics in width and depth.5.
These Master Teaching Principles are each important on their own,
but they also build on one another. Together they will help you power-
fully and gently guide young children to realize their full potential. At
the same time, and in conjunction with the Life Learning Techniques
in part 2, these principles will help you live and teach with the energy
and unclouded vision of a child—with creativity, inquisitiveness, and a
desire to explore. Master teachers are childlike in many positive ways,
and our children, if we pay attention, are often master teachers.
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