Jean-Jacques Rousseau is known as the father of early childhood education. Due to his educational perspective, early childhood education emerged with a child-centred approach. All children have a right to an education that helps them grow and develop to the fullest, this is a basic fact that acts in the core part of the concept of child-centred education. This is true that children are active participants in their education and development. This means that they should be mentally involved and physically active in learning what they need to know and do. All great educators have believed in the essential goodness of children; the teacher is to provide the environment for this goodness to manifest itself. The basic principle of child-centred education is to enable the optimal development of a child's personality and competencies simultaneously with his/her individual needs and requirements.
Student-centred teaching shifts the focus from the teacher to the student. It encourages active participation on the part of the students and requires that they monitor their thinking.
There can be many ways to incorporate child-centred education in the classrooms :
- Using the open-ended question technique, this practice encourages critical and creative thinking and enhances problem-solving skills.
- Engage much more indirect and engaging methods of instruction that pull the students right into the heart of lessons. This way the student becomes an active participant in what is going on.
- Encourage student collaboration and group projects, when students work with each other they are learning a great deal more than just the lesson content. They can work both ways i.e to put their ideas and listen to others too.
- Create assignments based on individual differences, all students do not work at the same speed and assignments and class activities should reflect this. Allowing students to move through the material at the rate that best fits their learning style makes it more likely that they will gain a much deeper understanding of the concepts.
The characteristics of a Child-Centred Classroom
- Emphasis on deep learning and understanding.
- Increased responsibility and accountability on the part of the students.
- An increased sense of autonomy in the learners.
- An interdependence between teacher and learner.
- A reflexive approach to the teaching and learning process on the part of teacher and learner.
The word 'progressive education has been described as ideas and practices that aim to make schools more effective. In 1919 the Progressive Education Association was founded, aiming at, 'reforming the entire school system of America.' It is a reaction to the traditional style of teaching. It is an educational system that allows flexibility in learning procedures, based on activities determined by the needs and capacities of the individual child, it's aim is to integrate academic with social development. The elements of progressive education have been termed 'child-centred' and 'social reconstruction' approaches.
Practices of Progressive Education
- The curriculum is strongly influenced by what the children are interested in and is child-centred.
- Learning is experimental and the emphasis is on the process rather than the product.
- Assessment is authentic and holistic. Children are well known for their teachers.
- Children can work at their own pace.
- Progressive education practices a developmental approach which holds that each child is unique.
Questions Related to Child-Centred and Progressive Education :
1. Child-centred education was advocated by which of the following thinkers?
- John Dewey
- Eric Erikson
- Charles Darwin
2. Which of the following is the feature of progressive education?
- Instruction is based completely on prescribed textbooks.
- Emphasis on scoring good marks.
- Frequent tests and examinations.
- Flexible timetable and seating arrangement.
3. Child-centered education involves:
- Hands-on activities for kids.
- Children sitting in a corner.
- Learning in a restricted environment.
- Activities that do not include play.
4. Learning centred approach means:
- Traditional expository method.
- Use of methods in which the teacher is the main actor.
- Methods where learners' initiative and efforts are involved in learning.
- That teachers conclude the learners.