Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Secret Teaching Methods of Robby The Blue Koala

How Robby The Blue Koala teaches tot's so effectively.

Parents are often surprised at the amount of material little ones pick up from watching Robby's DVD. It is admittedly impressive when 3 year olds identify octagons or sing the opposites song. Today we'll outline the secret teaching methods of Robby The Blue Koala.

Although the following method has been recorded as far back as Aristotle and has been applied by folks ranging from Maria Montessori to Charlie Chaplin, one needs no training in hieroglyphics or an understanding of Mesopotamian culture to grasp the concept.

These 3 simple elements have been written many different ways, the meaning often clouded by fancy terms written by folks with names suffixed by even fancier letters, but the secret is plainly this:

Tell'em what you're gonna say...

Say it...

Then...Tell'em what you just said!

That's all folks.

This is one of the first things a new education student learns. It is also the first thing one learns when taking a speech class.

In education the criteria are called:

Objectives - Lesson - Review

You can identify a good lesson plan by checking for these elements. And though it may seem obvious, it is when one of these criteria is missing that some horrible presentations result.

Have you ever heard a speech that seems to go all over the place? It's 'cause they haven't told you where they were going. Or at the end of the speech you forget what the point was? They need to review what it was they just told'ya in their conclusion. (And hopefully it has something to do with their introduction.)

Another way to state these criteria are as follows:

Tell'em where you're going.

Go there.

Tell'em where you've been.

The way we met these criteria in the Robby film was with the introduction of Mrs. Cat. Although the film moves quickly from topic to topic, it is held together in a coherent way by Mrs. Cat's introduction.

First, she outlines where the train will be going. (Objectives)

Next, the train goes there. (Lesson)

Finally, Mrs. Cat reviews each objective upon it's completion. (Review)

So, after the Colorville scene for example she reviews the colors just seen. Although it is fast, it is there, and little brains understand that the items which Mrs. cat has reviewed are the important elements in the scene.

Without Mrs. Cat's input the kids might choose to file away the funny parts of the scene. Only because no one told'em to tag the colors as important.
She has to tell'em where they've been.

What is interesting is that she doesn't have to review every detail, the kids just saw the scene, so they already have the details. But her review makes certain elements of the scene important to kids so that they know they are supposed to remember it.

There is one theory in education called, Schema Theory, which would say that this is when kids attach this new information to the ever growing scaffold inside their little heads which we call knowledge. The more things they attach to this scaffold, the bigger the scaffold gets, and the more knowledge they can attach 'cause there are more places to attach it.

The teacher plays an important role here. With so much info coming in all the time, kids don't always see which pieces of info are important enough to attach to the scaffold. When everything is new its tough to discern important info vs. extraneous info.

But with Mrs. Cat doing frequent reviews always drawing attention to the important information, we are able to fit shapes, colors, nutrition, animal sounds, saying please, opposites, counting to ten, exercise, and body parts into a 35 minute film in an effective and digestible way.

This lets us minimize tv time and maximize what kids get out of it.

Well... that's it in a nutshell. That's Robby's secret.

A simple but powerful method when properly implemented.

This is one of the reasons your kids'll always come away with more than you expect from a Giftofhappiness Media Production. It also allows our continued adherence to the philosophy... Entertainment First! and Education...First!

Now, be sure to visit and pick up a copy of Robby The Blue Koala Rides The Discovery Express!

But with regard to all the fancy stuff above... Just let the kids enjoy and keep the secret between us!

All things fun! All things kids! All things happy!

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