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Taking Advantage of Teachable Moments

Building Understanding

As educators we spend quite a bit of time planning out our lessons to meet our students’ needs. We facilitate learning by making lessons pleasurable, organized, relevant, and thematic. Even with all that planning, sometimes it is the most unexpected things that make the biggest impacts on our students.

Teachable moments: an unplanned event that captivates student interest.

Teachable moments can literally be anything: A deer walking across the path, some scat on the side of the trail, or a bald eagle perched on a branch. It is important to take advantage of teachable moments even if they are not part of your planned lesson.

Identify what has captured the students’ interest

Do you know any cool facts about this thing? How can you make this moment even more pleasurable for your students? This is your chance to let your students shine! Give your students a chance to ‘be the teacher’ and share their knowledge with their peers.

Make it relevant

Can you somehow tie the teachable moment into your theme? Can it be used as a transition? Sometime teachable moments are just stand alone, meaning they do not connect to anything you have planned for the day. Do not pass over these opportunities because they do not connect to your theme, they still provide a great experience for the students to learn.

Mind your timing

While teachable moments provide students with an authentic learning experience, do not allow them to take up 100% of your time. As an outdoor educator it is smart to plan ahead for at least 10-20 minutes of teachable moments while hiking throughout the day. Give yourself some wiggle room so you are able to still have great unplanned experiences while also hitting all of your teaching objectives for the day.

Take advantage of unplanned teachable moments—they are often the highlight of many students’ week!

As educators we spend quite a bit of time planning out our lessons to meet our students’ needs. We facilitate learning by making lessons pleasurable, organized, relevant, and thematic. Even with all that planning, sometimes it is the most unexpected things that make the biggest impacts on our students.

Teachable moments: an unplanned event that captivates student interest.

Teachable moments can literally be anything: A deer walking across the path, some scat on the side of the trail, or a bald eagle perched on a branch. It is important to take advantage of teachable moments even if they are not part of your planned lesson.

Identify what has captured the students’ interest

Do you know any cool facts about this thing? How can you make this moment even more pleasurable for your students? This is your chance to let your students shine! Give your students a chance to ‘be the teacher’ and share their knowledge with their peers.

Make it relevant

Can you somehow tie the teachable moment into your theme? Can it be used as a transition? Sometime teachable moments are just stand alone, meaning they do not connect to anything you have planned for the day. Do not pass over these opportunities because they do not connect to your theme, they still provide a great experience for the students to learn.

Mind your timing

While teachable moments provide students with an authentic learning experience, do not allow them to take up 100% of your time. As an outdoor educator it is smart to plan ahead for at least 10-20 minutes of teachable moments while hiking throughout the day. Give yourself some wiggle room so you are able to still have great unplanned experiences while also hitting all of your teaching objectives for the day.

Take advantage of unplanned teachable moments—they are often the highlight of many students’ week!

About the Author
Joe Camacho
Author: Joe Camacho