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What are Guerilla Teaching Tactics?
November 20, 2020
Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
-Maya Angelou
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In an article that forms the basis for the newest Exchange Reflections, Francis Wardle writes:

“The most frequent comment I receive from my community college early childhood students is, ‘But we cannot do what you suggest—we are not allowed to in our programs.’” He gives some examples:

“When I instructed my college students not to use food as a reinforcer, because of the childhood obesity epidemic, a student responded, ‘in my program, a special education teacher is using candy to modify the behavior of a four-year-old in my classroom’… when I stressed the importance of outdoor play, especially for children who struggle behaviorally and academically…another student commented that in their program these very children are the ones most likely to be denied outdoor play due to behavioral and academic issues...

 It is one thing to teach our students what they should be doing with their children and families; it is another thing to show them how to challenge authority when expectations, assessments, activities and experiences are inappropriate, and even damaging. I call this approach guerilla teaching tactics…”

Here is one example of what he means by guerilla teaching tactics:

“One of the rationales many principals and early childhood directors use to support the implementation of developmentally inappropriate curricula and the use of inappropriate activities and learning expectations is that they are under pressure from parents who expect these academic outcomes for their children. I constantly hear the refrain, ‘but that is what parents want.’ In my college classes, we explore ways to help parents understand the critical learning value of play…Ideas include creating a brochure for parents about the value of play, how play can be encouraged at home and in the community, and local play resources. The content of the brochure details how play helps to develop the fundamental academic outcomes of literacy, math, and science.”

We believe that this topic will provide lots of rich discussion material, and may elicit differences of opinion, which, if handled with respect and mutual caring, can be great for everyone’s professional development.





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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
Sarker Javed Iqbal · November 20, 2020
Self employed
Dhaka, Bangladesh


Seems the inappropriate demands and pressures are same from parents all over the world! In our country context in Bangladesh parents are always concerned about children's academic outcomes rather than creating a base for lifelong learning and development in all areas. It becomes difficult to change the mindset of the parents when the government determines children's achievements through exams and academic outcomes. We need to change the government before the parents!



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