He was considered the “father of educational philosophy.” (Herr, 2016) John Locke’s goal of education was to create a virtuous man. He believed that a child’s mind is like a blank piece of paper when born and molded by experience (Gordon & Brown, 2017). He thought that education was acquired by the sensory or hands-on touching of objects and things. Children were taught the Bible and counting which were considered basic skills. He believed that education makes people reasonable. His approach is reflected in the scientific method and how a doctor examines a patient.
Today, the scientific method is used to teach science and math and has truly advanced. The Bible is taught in private schools not public. We still believe the child’s mind is molded by experience, the environment and the education being taught to the child. Many early learning centers use sensory stimulation in classes especially for those that have special needs. We are aware of the individual differences in children. We continue to be child-centered, accept individual differences, provide basic knowledge in teaching children and understand the effect of the environment on a child (Gordon & Brown, 2017).
He was known as the “Father of Kindergarten.” Kindergarten in German means “children garden” because he considered children were tiny flowers (Gordon & Brown, 2017). His mother died early and was left alone a lot by his father. Therefore, he desired that early learning to happy and fun not sad. He thought of the children as an extension of a lovely, thriving garden that he needed most as a child. He was a private tutor and was given a patch of property to use as a garden. Teachers were considered guides rather than lecturers. He was convinced that action and direct observation were the best ways to educate children.
Today, we use a play-based strategy although enhanced to teach children in early education. His introduction of stories, finger play, songs, and various arts and crafts as components of the curriculum that we still use. The play-based strategy has been developed from self-activity, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Today, we have progressed from finger play, pets, and blocks to several centers. Learning Centers such as art center, block center, dramatic play center, science, and nature center plus more and the dramatic or prop box.
He developed the Psychosocial Developmental Theory. It was an eight-stage theory that describes growth and change throughout life. It focuses on social interaction and conflicts that arise during different stages of development. It describes human development from birth to death. Each stage is faced with conflict which impacts later functioning and further growth. He assumed that maturity and social facts help to resolve conflict and /or crisis. Parents and teachers must recognize and provide support and help a child to overcome each crisis. (Herr, 2016)
Locke’s theory help provide insights into children’s personalities.
He developed the “Maturation theory. The maturation theory studied the pattern and the rate of maturation growth in a normal and exceptional child. He believed that children developed by a pre-determined plan of growth. He was also noted for using a motion picture camera to capture the growth patterns of infants and children. He describes development milestones in ten areas: motor characteristics, personal hygiene, emotional expression, fears and dreams, self and sex, interpersonal relations, play and pastimes, school life, ethical sense, and philosophy.
Early educators still believe that growth and development occur in logical, sequential, and predictable stages over a period. He laid the foundation for several other behavioral assessments that have been established for children.
He developed the Cognitive Development theory. It is a theory about the development of a person’s thought processes. He noted that children think differently than adults. He described and explained the development of thought processes and mental states. As well as how these thought processes influence the way we understand and are interested in the world.
John Bowlby developed the earliest theory of social development which is the attachment theory. He noticed that early relationships with caregivers play a major role in child development and continue to influence social relationships through life. It is our innate ability to form attachments that help with ensuring the child receives care and protection. He suggested a variety of attachment styles. Those children receiving consistent support and care are more likely to develop a secure attachment style. While those who receive less reliable care may develop an ambivalent, avoidance, or disorganized style. He was interested in understanding the separation anxiety and distress that children experience when separated from their primary caregivers. Attachment is defined as an emotional bond with the mother/another person which serves to keep the infant close to the mother and thus improve the child’s chances of survival.
Maria Montessori developed the Montessori Approach. The goal of the Montessori approach was to teach the children to learn in a prescribed environment. Her ideas of education were formed as she worked with and observed children. (Herr, 2019) She stressed the importance of cleanliness, manners, proper nutrition, and sensory training. The sequence approach she used was sensory training which was to help the student develop their senses. Then they were introduced to academics such as letter recognition, tracing letters, and finally numbers. Next would be reading instruction followed by artist and cultural experiences.
The Montessori approach is implemented in public and private schools. Her ideas, materials, and practical life issues are used in many schools. Most of the schools bear her name. Many schools have added to their curriculum of art, dramatic play, gross motor skills, and computers. More flexibility for the teacher to foster social interactions. The program may not be as play-based but they are child-centered. Many schools have varied implementation of Montessori’s model.
He constructed knowledge of the world through social interaction and socialization known as the Sociocultural theory. He believed that children learn actively through hands-on experiences. He suggested that parents, caregivers, peers, and culture were responsible for developing higher-order functions for children. Learning becomes more integrated into an individual as they gain an understanding of the world and interact with others. This idea also involves the relationship children have with objects such as books and toys. The belief is that children are active partners in interactions and human learning is a social process. Independent problem solving and a level of potential development as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.
His belief regarding how children’s effort to understand the world around them, working in concert with teachers’ sensitive, responsive interaction stimulate young minds. Teachers encourage children to use their imagination by offering props or unstructured playing or modeling. Teachers role-play with students.
His three main theories are cognitivism, behaviorism, and constructivism. Behaviorism focuses on learning that is observable. Cognitivism centers on brain-based learning. Constructivism requires active involvement in the learning process. Teachers are facilitators than lecturers. It is such learning as self-directed, experiential, and transformational. He is known for the development of both positive and negative reinforcements to encourage good and unwanted behavior.
B. F. Skinner’s theory can be applied in the classroom providing positive rewards. The positive incentives should be coupled with a change in behavior. The teacher must be careful not to confuse positive reinforcement with punishment. Basically, theory should bring about a change in the child’s behavior. He also proposed a theory of language. Children learn a language in order to communicate. It emerges from social interaction.
Gardner’s theory describes intelligence in terms of mental skills, talents, and abilities. (Herr, 2016). It is called multiple intelligences. A theory which states that there are different kinds of intelligence and are shaped by culture. He believed that children learn and express themselves in many ways. He identified several kinds of intelligence. Garner believed that each intelligence functions individually abut is closely related to others.
His eight multiple intelligence is applied in the classroom. Teachers use multiple intelligence as a guide for making curriculum decisions (Herr, 2016). They can assess the learning. Therefore, customize their curriculum, environment, and approaches (Herr, 2016). Intelligence must be nurtured, it does not develop by itself. The teacher must fit the pieces together by creating a predictable, caring and nurturing, and responsive environment. Caregivers should build the character of the children.
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