Pedagogical (adjective): of, relating to, or benefitting a teacher or education.
Using puppets for pedagogical purposes is both alliterative and illuminating.
All kidding aside though, puppets have been proven to be an effective learning and communication tool, both in the classroom and at home.
In fact, an international study from the Journal of Elementary Education listed five key effective uses of puppetry in educational and learning contexts.
They were (1) generating communication, (2) supporting a positive classroom climate, (3) enhancing creativity, (4) fostering cooperation in and integration into a group, and (5) changing attitudes.
We here at Edgar Wibble Puppets wholeheartedly agree and would like to add the fact that Puppets are just plain FUN!
Here are a few ideas you might find useful in implementing puppetry into your teaching objectives, be they in the classroom or at home. Should you have any questions or would like other suggestions or ideas, please reach out to us at EdgarWibble@gmail.com and we will be happy to share what we've experienced, as well as brainstorm with you.
First off, you do not need to be a puppeteer in order to utilize puppets in your teaching. You don't even need a puppet with a moving mouth. Although giving the puppet a name and using a slightly different voice is helpful, with just a few simple hand movements you will find all the attention will be on the puppet. It's easy and fun!
On with some tips.
Children can relate to puppets on their own level and easily identify with the puppet knowing (and not knowing) the same things they do. They can readily accept that they know more than the puppet as well. This can be a great tool in the classroom by having the children help teach the puppet. You can:
Have the puppet ask the questions that may be on the minds of kids.
Have the puppet say, "I don't think I understand?" This not only allows other kids to agree, but also can encourage even shy children to get more comfortable speaking up in class.
Ask the children "can you help explain this to our puppet friend," reinforcing the lesson.
Have the children read the puppet a story.
Have the puppet read them a story mispronouncing the words, so that the children can correct it, or getting stuck on a word and spelling it out, and asking the children what it means?
You'll come up with dozens of other uses. Just let your creativity flourish!
For classroom behavioral issues, the puppet can model the proper desired behavior and be praised for it. This can be done by following the rules, raising a hand to ask a question, sitting quietly, listening (which can be demonstrated by the puppet reiterating what was said) and a host of other ways. When children see the puppet being praised, they are more likely to follow its example.
Social and Emotional learning. Children are more likely to open up to a puppet rather than an adult when asked questions like:
"Why are you sad?"
"How do you feel?"
"How do you think someone else would feel if they did that to you?"
This helps get to the issue quicker, and maybe the puppet can offer suggestions in the form of "when I feel that way I like to _______, would you like to try that?"
And sometimes the puppet could just sit with the child.
We have found so many more ways to use puppets for education and are certain that you will too. We'd love to hear what you've found to be most effective, so please share them here or email us at EdgarWibble@gmail.com