Thursday, 21 July 2016

Early Childhood Education : Three Approaches you should know

Approaches in early childhood education are many, and they collectively formulate the general pedagogy, i.e., the art or profession of teaching, management strategies and principles used for classroom instruction and learning.

Instructors choose a particular approach based on a particular educational philosophy, from which are derived a specific teaching method and related techniques and strategies. These are all fine-tuned to suit specific subject area(s), classroom groups, and the like.

Described below are three major approaches to teaching and learning you should be familiar with: communicative approach, inquiry-based learning approach and cooperative learning approach.

1.Communicative approach

The communicative approach is a theory of language as communication. The goal of teaching and learning is the ability to express numerous meanings; we need education for carrying out several functions in our interaction and communication within a society.

The principles of teaching/learning underlying this approach can be described as follows:
  • Language activities that involve real life communication promote learning;
  • Language activities that carry out meaningful tasks promote learning;
  • Language that is meaningful to the learner supports the learning process.
Meaningful drills are constructed to promote the understanding of kids to produce appropriate responses, especially with focus on reading and writing activities.

2. Inquiry-based learning approach

Inquiry-based learning approach encourages hands-on learning and learner investigation. The primary role of a teacher is that of a facilitator, offering support and guidance for kids through the process of learning. Kids participate actively in their own learning.

So they are able to develop processes related to discovery and inquiry; they observe, infer, and formulate principles; they can predict and communicate.  Teaching is only to support the processes of discovery and inquiry.

3. Cooperative learning approach

Cooperative learning, also called collaborative learning, pertains to teaching that encourages group work and a sense of community among the kids. This approach nurtures the academic and social growth of kids, and includes reciprocal teaching/learning.

The focus of learning is student-centered, as learners are responsible for their own development and learning. The philosophy of education here is that children learn best when they work with and learn from their peers.

Classroom organization helps students work together in small co-operative teams. The major co-operative learning activities are peer tutoring, jigsaw, co-operative projects, and co-operative interaction.

As you can see, the three main approaches outlined above are all student-centered and teachers play just supportive roles in the process of learning. They facilitate the understanding of kids in order to help produce appropriate and meaningful responses.

If you plan on becoming an early childhood education teacher you must first identify yourself with a particular approach which appeals to your own personal teaching style. It is extremely important to examine your personal values of teaching and learning in education.

Your choice of the principles will go a long way in helping you become a committed teacher. You will soon discover pleasure and fulfillment from your interaction with the kids. It is indeed a great responsibility to shape the future generation of a country.