“A child must have some version of, “Yes I imagine I can do this.” And a teacher must also view the present child as competent and on that basis imagine new possibilities.” Dyson 1999

This quote comes from a book I am currently reading, Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning. Nicole introduced me to this book and even though I am just beginning I can already tell it is going to be a great book (and it is short so it will be a quick read). When I read the quote I immediately thought of RDI and competence.

In terms of our children they must have some sense that they will be successful or we get resistance (in all its many forms). When our children imagine that they will be able to do something or have achieved success and felt supported in an activity previously there is a greater likelihood that they will attempt the activity again. For many children they need to develop a trusting relationship with their parents where they feel supported and learn to build competence. This is exactly what the guided participation relationship is all about.

The quote mentions that the “teacher” needs to perceive competence in the child in order to know when to provide variation and challenge. For our parents this is a crucial step. They need to recognize when their child is beginning to gain competence in something they have been working on in order to know when it is time to add some variation or challenge and when to reduce scaffolding.

As both partners take part in this dance the child begins to perceive themselves as competent in more and greater roles and parents continue to raise the bar. In what ways does your child imagine themself as competent? How can you provide more possibilities for him/her to explore?

Talk to you soon,

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