Whether inside or outside the classroom, teachable moments are usually unplanned events, where interest and opportunity collide or intersect. They’re also usually a short period of time, where learning becomes easiest. First popularized in the 1950s as education theory, teachable moments backed up the need to repeat important lessons until students were ready to learn them. More recently, the term has reached buzzword status and frequently appears in the media, as well as in diverse spheres, such as law enforcement, healthcare and politics.
During everyday activities, such as learning to ride a bike or playing on a sports team, new information or skills can be exchanged and values or morals can be better understood. When we’re faced with disappointments, anger or sadness, we can learn how to navigate, cope or express emotions in a healthy way. In education, where classroom time is under increasing amounts of pressure, teachers can intentionally seize “teachable moments” to drive home lessons in the current curriculum.
While we often hear of child led learning in education today, it’s also quite true that we’re never too old to learn. From adults going back to school to seniors learning to eat better and become more active, life is one long string of lessons as we gain new insight and experiences. It seems fitting to focus on learning when it’s time for “back to school”, but wherever we are in the school of life we can find teachable moments wherever we go.