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Lead from the Start: its OK if I talk to myself

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

its OK if I talk to myself

Yes, a researcher has given me, well at least my preschool students, permission to talk to ourselves. This is great because I already talked to myself and of course my students already thought I was crazy. Now I can use this research to show them they are wrong! I actually know what I am doing when I make those noises.
Adam Winsler a researcher at George Mason has conducted a study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly that finds that preschoolers are better able to perform motor tasks better when they talk to themselves.
He said:
"Young children often talk to themselves as they go about their daily activities, and parents and teachers shouldn’t think of this as weird or bad," says Winsler. "On the contrary, they should listen to the private speech of kids. It's a fantastic window into the minds of children."

In the study "78 percent of the children performed either the same or better on the performance task when speaking to themselves than when they were silent."

This practice, of talking while doing an activity, is also considered a "best practice" in reading instruction when teachers talk about what they are reading and how they are understanding it as they read aloud to students. It develops metacognition of reading strategies can increase reading comprehension. I remember a particular third grade teacher who I watched do this with astounding skill. She has since moved I will always remember her as one of the most effective teachers I have ever seen.

So, research has confirmed something else I already "knew" but couldn't prove because I am a teacher, not a researcher. I say this as I continue my doctoral program to become a researcher so please don't read this as overconfidence, just a desire to possibly look at research in a different light. Am I to going into research to confirm what I already know or am I trying to generate new knowledge?

What was this researcher doing?

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