THE CHILD-CENTERED CURRICULUM

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THE CHILD-CENTERED CURRICULUM :

Reporter YOLANDA TEVES SOBREPEÑA THE CHILD-CENTERED CURRICULUM

The philosophy underlying this curriculum design is that the child is the center of the educational process. The curriculum should be build upon his interest, abilities, purposes and needs. This type of curriculum emerged from the extensive research carried on in the 20th century carried by John Dewey and his followers.:

A new respect for the child, a new freedom of action, was incorporated into curriculum building in the child centered school. The philosophy underlying this curriculum design is that the child is the center of the educational process. The curriculum should be build upon his interest, abilities, purposes and needs. This type of curriculum emerged from the extensive research carried on in the 20 th century carried by John Dewey and his followers.

Common characteristics of programs founded on the new philosophy were the “activity program”, the “unit of work” and the recognition of the needs for using and exploring many media for self-discovery and self direction. :

Common characteristics of programs founded on the new philosophy were the “activity program”, the “unit of work” and the recognition of the needs for using and exploring many media for self-discovery and self direction .

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The strengths of this approach are described as follows: Children rather than miniature adults, become the focus of educational efforts Experience rather than rote learning, become the medium of learning Research assumed significance in the planning for the developmental needs of children

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Children’s motivation in learning was recognized The creative energies of teachers and children were released Educational expectations and standards were custom made in terms of each child’s abilities and potentials Rigid-grade organization was abandoned along with traditional promotion policies Reporting on children’s progress became descriptive and For the first time, teacher education on a board scale became professional education

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The weaknesses of the child-centered curriculum are chiefly in the possibilities for “misinterpretation” and in the neglect of adequate consideration of the matrix in which the education of children must occur: The misinterpretation of the philosophy of the child-centered curriculum was a natural consequence of radical change. Teachers sometimes ill prepared to adapt to changing concepts of child development, Frequently created a school environment, which fostered license rather than freedom.

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2.The child-centered philosophy is often conceded to be an inherent weakness. In this effort to free the child, many critics charged that the basic purposes in the establishment of schools were ignored. From the beginnings of formal education as a function of the society, conceived as a means of perpetuating the life of a people. Society supports school in order that its youth will be educated in its values, beliefs, traditions, customs, and mores. Society looked upon the child-centered curriculum and found it lacking. While the schools often became the scapegoat for ills were the correctly attributed to other social agencies, nevertheless they were frequently vulnerable to the charges leveled against them.

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Child-Centered. Teacher-Centered. Environment Low student: teacher ratio (1:10 or less) Higher student: teacher ratio (1:20-25) Multi-age groupings with a focus on the peer modeling and reinforcement One age grouping Students have the same teacher for three years allowing for long-term, trusting relationships Teacher changes yearly Child is free to move about room, interacting with anyone Child is encouraged to stay seated, silence is encouraged Everything is introduced experientially with manipulatives Manipulatives usually used only in math Environment is maintained by children with a focus on personal responsibility and pro-social skills Environment is maintained by teacher and custodian

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Curriculum Practical life activities used to develop sense of order, cooperation, concentration and independence No practical life Sensorial activities are systematically used to refine coordination, discrimination and vocabulary If used, sensory activities are used sporadically and not as an integral part of the curriculum Writing precedes reading Reading precedes writing Phonetic, sight vocabulary and whole language are all used to meet individual needs and learning styles of children Language texts used (although some schools are now using whole language approaches) Grammar introduced in kindergarten and taught in context Grammar taught out of context (from text) at older ages Interdisciplinary approach is used for art, music, history, physics, ecology, zoology, botany, geography, anatomy, chemistry, foreign language, physical education Separate texts are used for social studies, science, health and music Math concepts and processes are introduced early Rote learning is used to teach math facts Daily lesson plans are determined by each child's needs Daily lesson plans are determined by teacher's manual Lessons are given 1:1 or in small groups Lessons given to all students in a class at one time Use of texts are for reference; lessons and activities are teacher-made Texts are used for all subjects with little individualization

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Character Development Child-centered activity and curriculum Teacher-centered and curriculum-centered activities Internally motivated; children work because they want to Externally motivated; children work because they have to Child chooses work and works as long as he/she wants, allowing for self-monitoring and concentration Teacher chooses work Work continues until a child masters a concept Pace of activities is determined by teacher's manual Non-competitive processes; no reference to other students' "grades" or "scores" Competition for grades among peers; emphasis is on tests and grades Hands are considered a pathway to the brain and a mechanism to understand abstraction Paper/pencil and oral explanation are used to "teach" abstraction Children are introduced to concepts first; details are learned after a concept is mastered Children learn detailed information first, then the concept

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