Child Centered Curriculum

IF YOU ARE COMMISSIONED TO DRAFT AN EDUCATIONAL CURRICULUM, WHAT DESIGN WILL YOU ADAPT – SUBJECT CENTERED, ACTIVITY CENTERED, PROBLEM CENTERED, AND LEARNER CENTERED? WHY THE CHOICE OF THE SAID DESIGN. SUPPORT YOUR ANSWER WITH RESEARCH FINDINGS.
I. INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND
TRADITIONALLY, TEACHERS DIRECT THE LEARNING PROCESS AND STUDENTS ASSUME A RECEPTIVE ROLE IN THEIR EDUCATION. WITH THE ADVENT OF PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION IN THE 19TH CENTURY, AND THE INFLUENCE OF PSYCHOLOGISTS, SOME EDUCATORS HAVE LARGELY REPLACED TRADITIONAL CURRICULUM APPROACHES WITH “HANDS-ON” ACTIVITIES AND “GROUP WORK”, WHICH THE CHILD DETERMINES ON HIS OWN WHAT HE WANTS TO DO IN CLASS. KEY AMONGST THESE CHANGES IS THE PREMISE THAT STUDENTS ACTIVELY CONSTRUCT THEIR OWN LEARNING. THEORISTS LIKE JOHN DEWEY, JEAN PIAGET, AND LEV VYGOTSKY WHOSE COLLECTIVE WORK FOCUSED ON HOW STUDENTS LEARN IS PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MOVE TO STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING. CARL ROGERS’ IDEAS ABOUT THE FORMATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO LEARNER-CENTERED LEARNING. LEARNER-CENTERED LEARNING MEANS REVERSING THE TRADITIONAL TEACHER-CENTERED UNDERSTANDING OF THE LEARNING PROCESS AND PUTTING STUDENTS AT THE CENTRE OF THE LEARNING PROCESS. MARIA MONTESSORI WAS ALSO AN INFLUENCE IN CENTRE-BASED LEARNING, WHERE PRESCHOOL CHILDREN LEARN THROUGH PLAY.

II. BODY/CONTENT
LEARNER-CENTERED CLASSROOMS ARE NOW THE NORM WHERE ACTIVE LEARNING IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED. STUDENTS ARE NOW RESEARCHING MATERIAL PERTINENT TO THE SUCCESS OF THEIR ACADEMIA AND KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION IS SEEN AS A STANDARD. IN ORDER FOR A TEACHER TO VEER TOWARDS A LEARNER-CENTERED CLASSROOM, HE OR SHE MUST BECOME AWARE OF THE DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS OF HIS OR HER LEARNERS. TO THAT END, THE INCORPORATION OF A FEW EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES SUCH AS BLOOM’S TAXONOMY AND HOWARD GARDNER’S THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES CAN BE BENEFICIAL TO A LEARNER-CENTERED CLASSROOM BECAUSE IT PROMOTES VARIOUS MODES OF DIVERSE LEARNING STYLES. THE FOLLOWING PROVIDES A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHY LEARNER-CENTERED LEARNING SHOULD BE INTEGRATED INTO THE CURRICULUM: STRENGTHENS STUDENT MOTIVATION; PROMOTES PEER COMMUNICATION; REDUCES DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR; BUILDS STUDENT-TEACHER RELATIONSHIPS; PROMOTES DISCOVERY/ACTIVE LEARNING; AND, RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE’S OWN LEARNING.
WITH THE OPENNESS OF A LEARNER-CENTERED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION IS VITAL WHEN PROVIDING STUDENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE THEIR OWN LEARNING STYLES. IN THAT RESPECT, SUCCESSFUL LEARNING ALSO OCCURS WHEN LEARNERS ARE FULLY ENGAGED IN THE ACTIVE LEARNING PROCESS. A FURTHER DISTINCTION FROM A TEACHER-CENTERED CLASSROOM TO THAT OF A LEARNER-CENTERED CLASSROOM IS WHEN THE TEACHER ACTS AS A FACILITATOR. IN ESSENCE, THE TEACHER’S GOAL IN THE LEARNING PROCESS IS TO GUIDE STUDENTS INTO MAKING NEW INTERPRETATIONS OF THE LEARNING MATERIAL.
ACCORDING TO ERNIE STRINGER, “STUDENT LEARNING PROCESSES ARE GREATLY ENHANCED WHEN THEY PARTICIPATE IN DECIDING HOW THEY MAY DEMONSTRATE THEIR COMPETENCE IN A BODY OF KNOWLEDGE OR THE PERFORMANCE OF SKILLS.” THIS PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATION ENABLES THE STUDENT TO ESTABLISH HIS OR HER UNIQUE LEARNING OBJECTIVES. THIS ASPECT OF LEARNING HOLDS THE LEARNER ACCOUNTABLE FOR PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE THAT HE OR SHE IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING. IN THIS STAGE OF LEARNING, THE TEACHER EVALUATES THE LEARNER BY PROVIDING HONEST AND TIMELY FEEDBACK ON INDIVIDUAL PROGRESS. BUILDING A RAPPORT WITH STUDENTS IS AN ESSENTIAL STRATEGY THAT EDUCATORS COULD UTILIZE IN ORDER TO GAUGE STUDENT GROWTH IN A LEARNER-CENTERED CLASSROOM. THROUGH EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS, THE TEACHER IS ABLE TO ADDRESS STUDENT NEEDS, INTERESTS, AND OVERALL ENGAGEMENT IN THE LEARNING MATERIAL. ACCORDING TO JAMES HENDERSON, THERE ARE THREE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRATIC LIVING, WHICH HE SAYS ARE NOT YET ESTABLISHED IN OUR SOCIETY IN TERMS OF EDUCATION. THE THREE BASIC TENETS, WHICH HE CALLS THE 3S’S OF TEACHING FOR DEMOCRATIC LIVING, ARE:
SUBJECT LEARNING- STUDENTS LEARN BEST FROM SUBJECT MATTER THOUGHTFULLY PRESENTED.
SELF-LEARNING- ONE MUST ENGAGE ONESELF IN THE GENERATIVE PROCESS.
SOCIAL LEARNING- EMPATHY IS WEALTH IN THIS REGARD, SOCIAL INTERACTION WITH DIVERSE OTHERS THE TARGET FOR GENEROSITY.
THROUGH PEER-TO-PEER INTERACTION, COLLABORATIVE THINKING CAN LEAD TO AN ABUNDANCE OF KNOWLEDGE. ACCORDING TO LEV VYGOTSKY’S ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT (ZPD), STUDENTS TYPICALLY LEARN VICARIOUSLY THROUGH ONE ANOTHER. THROUGH A SOCIO-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE ON LEARNING, SCAFFOLDING IS IMPORTANT WHEN FOSTERING INDEPENDENT THINKING SKILLS. VYGOTSKY PROCLAIMS, “LEARNING WHICH IS ORIENTED TOWARD DEVELOPMENTAL LEVELS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN REACHED IS INEFFECTIVE FROM THE VIEW POINT OF THE CHILD’S OVERALL DEVELOPMENT. IT DOES NOT AIM FOR A NEW STAGE OF THE DEVELOPMENTAL PROCESS BUT RATHER LAGS BEHIND THIS PROCESS.” IN ESSENCE, INSTRUCTION IS DESIGNED TO ACCESS A DEVELOPMENTAL LEVEL THAT IS MEASURABLE TO THE STUDENT’S CURRENT STAGE IN DEVELOPMENT.

III. CONCLUSION
TO IMPLEMENT A LEARNER-CENTERED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, ATTENTION MUST BE GIVEN TO THE FOLLOWING ASPECTS OF LEARNING:
• WHAT THE CHILD IS CURIOUS ABOUT LEARNING
• TEACHING STRATEGIES TO ACCOMMODATE INDIVIDUAL NEEDS: INTELLECTUAL, EMOTIONAL
• STUDENT’S SOCIAL NEEDS: COLLABORATION, COMMUNICATION, PEER APPROVAL
TO BE CONSIDERED A LEARNER-CENTERED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IT WILL BE OPEN, DYNAMIC, TRUSTING, RESPECTFUL, AND PROMOTE CHILDREN’S SUBJECTIVE AS WELL AS OBJECTIVE LEARNING STYLES. STUDENTS MAY COLLABORATE IN HANDS-ON PROBLEMS AND DRAW THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS. THIS EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING INVOLVES THE WHOLE CHILD — THEIR EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, SOCIAL SKILLS, AND INTUITION. THE RESULT IS A PERSON WHO IS SELF CONFIDENT AND A CRITICAL THINKER.

IV. RECOMMENDATIONS
DEVELOPING ASSESSMENT THAT SUPPORTS LEARNING AND MOTIVATION IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF LEARNER-CENTERED APPROACHES. BECAUSE THE FOCUS IS ON INDIVIDUAL LEARNER RATHER THAN WHOLE CLASS STRUCTURES, TEACHERS OFTEN OFFER CHOICES AND ADAPTATIONS WITHIN LESSONS. THIS IS A ROLE TEACHERS MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH IF THEY ARE TO IMPLEMENT A LEARNER-CENTERED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

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Male Teacher
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