Reactive Teaching V’s Ineractive Teaching

Scenario- Toddlers room

The children are running around the room, up & down, back & forth, round & round. A little boy screams out from the home corner as a little girl grabs him & scratches his face. Another little girl is screaming as she is being pushed over by another child. The teacher is yelling out across the room “Stop that, let go of him!”, “Don’t push your friends, it’s not nice”, “Stop running, sit down!”….. What a scene, what chaos. Imagine if you were a parent witnessing this.

So what’s going on here? do we have too many children?… no not really a maximum of 16chn per day isn’t too many. Do we have a enough staff? Ratios say 1:8 is fine currently, but we know that is not good, so we’re already confirming to the 1:5 ratio on most days. So what is going on?…. Reactive Teaching.

What is Reactive Teaching? 

Reactive teaching is when we are not involved in the children’s play. We are more standing back, watching & observing the children at play. When something goes wrong, like a child hurting another child we REACT by calling out across the room “Stop that, let him go!” as we run over to stop it, but we’re too late the child has already scratched the other child’s face & we have to write yet another accident report & explain to yet another parent why their child was hurt today.
* How do you think this feels to the children? Do you think they feel important, valued, that you’re interested in their play?
* When you’re calling across the room for them to stop, do you think that this is helping or escalating the problem? Do you think maybe the child is thinking “Haha now i have their attention?”

What is Interactive Teaching? 

Interactive Teaching is when we are involved in the children’s play. We need to look at supervision, what is each Teacher doing? One is changing nappies & the other two are where? We spread ourselves out around the room, so that we can supervise different areas. They should be spread out in two areas of the room & interacting with the children. other tasks should be performed once the nappy changing has finished & that Teacher can fully engage with the children again, replacing one educator to go fill bottles etc.
* How do we Interact with the children? How do we keep them engaged?- The children are use to running around & fighting over toys, how do we change this ‘routine’? We need to be interesting, sing songs, use silly voices, show interest. “Wow, look my train is going really fast up this hill!, watch out here is goes down the other side, weeeee!” You could sing a song “Train is a  coming oh yeah, train is a coming oh yeah, train is a coming, train is a coming, oh yeah WoooHooo!”. Talk about what you are doing, what are they doing? sing songs, make songs up… be fun!
* What about when something goes wrong? As we are right there, we don’t need to call out across the room or run to stop someone getting hurt, because we are right there & can use a quieter voice “Can we share the trains? how about you can have these two & ‘jimmy’ can have this one” . “Oh gee it isn’t nice to snatch, how about ‘Jimmy’ finishes his turn & then ‘bob’ can have a turn” .

Once you become more Interactive & less Reactive, the children will respond. It may take some time to change that ‘routine’ of running around & fighting, but the more Interactive you are the more Interactive the children will become also & less ‘Accidents’ will occur as the children learn to share & interact appropriately with each other. Teachers will also become less stressed as they won’t need to yell & will be enjoying their time with the children.

Imagine what a parent might be witnessing now!


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