What is the last thing that you learned from TV? Children learn from TV whenever it is on. The only question is what they learn. Children are natural active learners. You can take advantage of that and help them develop active viewing habits. TV is a wonderful teacher but it may also show things that you are not comfortable with.
What would make TV viewing beneficial or problematic? Picture your children watching TV. Where is everyone in the room and what are they doing as they watch? As you listen to the discussion, use this picture to assess your use of TV.
What can make TV viewing more of a learning experience? What strategies were familiar to you? What new strategy could you try with your kids while you watch TV? Did what you hear match the picture in your head of your children watching TV?
TV is a useful tool for learning another language
View together with children
Pause to ask questions and discuss what you see
Follow-up with things like related dolls, songs, books
Keep your questions and the active learning questions in mind and take notes. Why is viewing interactively important if you want children to learn? What rules do you have for watching TV? How do you implement these rules? What strategies might you use to engage your kids with TV?
Consider what you do with your children. How are your practices the same as what you saw? How are they different? What techniques appealed to you? Can you see yourselves using these techniques?
Activates the brain in ways that make it more receptive to learning
Provides reinforcement of key concepts
Improves memory because "doing" means more than just "seeing"
Increases the amount of attention paid to key content
Techniques for Active Viewing:
Ask questions (e.g. How do you know?)
Play a related game or do an activity that reinforces what you want them to learn
Point out and name interesting objects
Give children a problem and solution to watch for (e.g., "Today Elmo and his friends solved a problem when they wanted to play together but wanted to do different things. Let's see how they solved their problem.")
What do you do after watching a TV program or video? What follow-up activities could extend the lessons from the programs? What do your children learn from TV at different ages? What were the panelists' reactions to the video?
Think of a video that your kids enjoyed recently. What could you do with your children that would relate to that video? What did the video teach that you could reinforce with an activity?
Ideas of how to reinforce lessons from TV:
Take a related field trip
Use vocabulary from the show throughout the day
Refer back to the way that characters in a video solved a problem to help make a rule or solve a real-life problem that has come up
Read aloud from a related book
It's important to preview and know what your child is watching