While it might sound like the title of a movie about three heroes, the Triad is actually a teaching technique. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful teaching tools that I coach people in at Fiddlehouse. We teach parents, teachers, and other professionals the Triad because it really helps kids internalize and transfer what we want them to know.
Internalize means that they actually take it in and understand in an authentic way. The really get it. Transfer means that they use what we have taught them in other settings: home, church, school, at their friends house, at grandma’s house etc. How often have we seen our kids act like they’ve never heard anything we’ve taught them when they get to, let’s say, to a restaurant or someone’s house? “They NEVER do that at home!” The Triad can help with that.
So what is the Triad? Very simply, it’s three kinds of teaching: direct teaching, situational teaching, and integrated teaching. Now, don’t bail on me right away. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. I’ll post more complete explanations of each under their own titles, but here’s a quick overview.
Direct Teaching is simply when we introduce the idea or skill to kids. I usually recommend doing direct teaching at a weekly family meeting, especially if you’re looking at a big issue for a family, but you can do it on the fly as well. Direct teaching is when you:
- Explain to kids what you want them to know or do.
- Show it to them by acting out or giving and example.
- Practice it with them. Let them do it a time or two.
Integrated Teaching is when we do an activity where kids use the skill or idea we want them to learn. Sometimes without even knowing it. An example is when more than one kid is playing with playdough but there’s only one rolling pin and scissors. When they end up sharing, we tell them, “I really appreciate it when you share with your friends. That’s a great way to get along.” While this might seem a little elusive, Integrated Teaching opportunities are everywhere and you’ll see them all the time once you get the hang of it. A little coaching helps to learn how to set up intentional lessons.
Situational Teaching is taking advantage of those teachable moments with your kids. This kind of teaching happens when kids are in a situation where the need to use a skill or idea we have taught them. In situational teaching, you get to be the coach for your kids. It is best done very gently, with a minimum of intervention. Just the smallest nudge or reminder that they know how to handle this because they’ve learned it from us before.
That’s the triad in a nutshell.
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