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Welcome to the magical world of 'Teacher in Role' (TIR) an area that I am passionate about. Teacher in role is a thrilling teaching strategy, as you, the teacher, become a master of disguise, taking on the person or a fascinating character that ties into the topic or theme at hand.  Whether it’s a brave astronaut exploring the wonders of space or a quirky scientist concocting wild experiments, the possibilities are as boundless as a child’s imagination! 

"But how does this work with child-initiated play?" I hear you ask….  teacher in role and child-initiated play in early years are closely linked.  They both focus on and emphasise active experiential learning.  This is done by fostering engagement and creativity in your little ones.  Some children need guidance to discover and explore while others learn best by discovering at their own pace.   As all children, and adults, are unique it is important to ensure that you are utilising as many strategies as possible to engage your little ones. 

Just look at how child-initiated play and teacher in role complement each other. This applies universally, and the optimal approach to learning involves a blend of self-directed and guided activities.   

Take a peek! 

  1. Child-centred approach  TIR and child-initiated play prioritise your little ones’ interests, needs and choices.  In child-initiated play, children are encouraged to take the lead and explore activities that interest them, while TIR responds to these interests by incorporating them into role-play scenarios and adventures. This ensures that the learning experiences are meaningful and relevant to the children, promoting active engagement.
  2. Imagination and creativity Child-initiated play and TIR encourage imaginative play and creativity. In child-initiated play, your little ones are free to use their imagination to create scenarios and stories, while in TIR, your adoption of a character role sparks their imagination and invites them to participate in the narrative developing their creativity. 
  3. Role-Modelling and empathy In child-initiated play and TIR, your little ones can take on different roles, whether they are real or imaginary.  This allows them to develop empathy by understanding the different perspectives and feelings of the role they are playing. 
  4. Active participation Both approaches promote active participation.  In the child-initiated play, your little ones engage in self-directed activities, while in TIR, they interact with you and your character, encouraging them to ask questions, solve problems and explore the subject/activity deeper. 
  5. Language development TIR and child-initiated play contribute to language and vocabulary development.  Children use language to communicate and negotiate roles during their play. In TIR, they engage in meaningful conversations with you allowing you to develop and enrich their vocabulary and communication skills. 
  6. Flexible and playful learning environment Child-initiated play and TIR foster a playful and flexible learning environment. In child-initiated play, children explore and experiment at their own pace, while in TIR, role-play allows for spontaneity and adaptability as you respond to your little one’s actions and ideas. 
  7. Playful learning Both approaches make learning enjoyable and fun. Whether it’s spontaneous play or guided role-play, your little ones experience fun which fosters enthusiasm to learn and motivates their curiosity to explore and discover. 
  8. Critical thinking Child-initiated play and TIR helps your little one’s critical thinking and creativity soar to new heights.  These strategies encourage them to think outside the box and come up with imaginative solutions to problems. 

The real magic lies in how teacher in role turns education into an adventure.  Transporting children on a journey of knowledge and discovery.  Creating a rollercoaster ride of learning, complete with loops of excitement and drops of wonderment! 

But…  

The success of teacher in role does depend on your ability to commit to the role you are playing to engage your little ones.  When this is done effectively, it transforms the learning experience into an exciting and memorable adventure that they won’t forget.  It leaves a lasting impact on their understanding and interest in the subject matter you were working on together. 

Key to success 

Role-play like you have never done before.  Unleash your inner diva and turn your space into a captivating stage where everything comes to life!  By immersing yourself in the role you are going to ignite a spark in their minds.     

Just think how "Horrible Histories" engaged you or your children and I bet you can still recite some of the songs!  You, as the TIR would be a member of the cast bringing your little one’s interests to life.   

Some ideas 

If your little ones are dino mad take the role of an explorer in search for the biggest dinosaur in the world. Think of all the fun you can have on your adventure, hiding from a scary T-Rex or taking a ride on a friendly vegesaur. 

If creepy crawlies are their thing... get ready for a trip to the Amazon and meet a hairy scary hungry tarantula!   

There is no end to the teacher in role opportunities as you can dive into the depths of the sea in a submarine or, get out the sun cream, hat and binoculars for an African safari.  Journey through all the realms leaving your little ones wide-eyed with wonder! 

So, buckle up, embrace the wonder of 'Teacher in Role' and let your passion for educating shine brightly. As you journey with your children through the realms of knowledge, remember you hold the key to unlocking the gates of curiosity to ignite the flames of inspiration. Enhance the joy of exploration and discovery for your little ones. 

Let the adventure begin! My fellow enchanters of education! 

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

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