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Canella Chapter 6“Privileging Child-Centered Play-Based Instruction” Ashley Dunston Lindsay Hutchinson Samantha Smith Shekinah Taylor
Introduction Roots in Pestalozzi Froebel, and Rousseau - focus on the "whole child" which means we try to cover all the bases from needs, development, to interests and play. - play is the children's "work" - big on "child-centeredness." let the child choose what materials/activities/centers/etc. -reinforces the idea of a "universal child" and predetermined stages of development -also shows that early childhood pedagogy is a "structured form of human regulation."
The Construction of Child-Centered Pedagogy Concept is located in the works of: 18th & 19th century philosophers Most notably Colonel Francis Parker who borrowed from Froebel’s belief that play should be used as the method for learning by young children. Believed that natural forms of education were best Believed that the school represents an “embryonic democracy” Published Works: Talks on Teaching (1883) Talks on Pedagogics (1894) Maria Montessori Susan Isaacs Margaret Lowenfeld John Dewey
The Construction of Child-Centered Pedagogy ACCEPTED
Providing educators with a pedagogical model that respects & supports individual human beings.
A focus in developmental psychology on mother “love” being transformed into expectations for teachers
Rote teaching methods
Children being viewed as empty vessels
The Evolvement of Child-Centered Pedagogy Child-Centeredness Evolves Synonymous with the creation of a democratic, free society during the post World War II Jean Piaget, key theorist who influenced “progressive” educational practices of the 60’s and 70’s.
Promoted the belief in teaching based on child interests, needs, and the understanding of child development
Piaget model of stages of progress and cognitive structures advocated the concept of Child-Centeredness with “scientific” information concerning the child that could be used to foster the concept without real collaboration or getting to know individual people. As a result, children could be expected to function and think in particular ways.
Central Tenets of Child-Centered Pedagogy Five Central Tenets: Readiness a. Maturity & experience a focus i. This naturally determines when a child is prepared to learn. Choice a. Implies that the child is in charge by controlling the content (interests) and timing of learning. Needs a. Constructed as when the child has basic fundamental needs that if not met with result in pathology. b. Child-centeredness is viewed as a “natural” way to meet them. Play a. Learning in action as children voluntarily self-directs their own activities. Discovery a. The personal, individual experience of learning.
“at first glance, these components of child-centered pedagogy would appear sound and grounded in genuine concern for people. Critical analysis of these central tenets, however, reveals an ideology that is not respectful of all human beings and does not necessarily provide human support.” ~Cannella, p. 119
Readiness as Adult Privilege
The concept of readiness emerged from developmental psychology and psychological perspective that combined the environment with biology.
Assumed to be located within the child.
Assumes progressive, predetermined, & linear change.
Through the concept of maturity, it privileges adult functioning and control.
But wait…its not so great after all!
No progress for child means blame placed on family.
Children are labeled as immature or lacking experience.
Application of the notion of readiness implies that its okay for adults to categorize children as “not ready.”
Readiness is used as a mask to cover up any ambiguities and behaviors that the adult does not understand.
Serves as the foundation for surveillance of children by adults.
“Within child-centered pedagogy younger human beings are more observed than ever before.” Rose, 1985
Choice as the Illusion of Individual, Self-Governance Autonomy & Democracy are key notions within the child-centered discourse. Child-centeredness is promoted as anti-authoritarian & a facilitator of individual choice & self-governance. BUT as we know from this course so far, freedom and democracy carry a variety of meanings for readers in different societies and cultures!! Example: In America, the individual is self-reliant, independent, and responsible. The construction of the individual is to have self-interest, be competitive and self- centered. You are taught to look out for yourself FIRST because no one else will. NOTE: When the individual is the unit of choice (the only site of freedom) gender, class, and cultural inequities are denied. The issues regarding choice are applicable to both children & adults!
“Choice for children is actually an illusion. Although children can be given choice within the privacy (and control) of their homes or within the pretend environment of the school, through the use of materials and experiences, adults actually control the choices that surround children and the capacity for follow-through when choices are made.
Needs as Natural Authority
It is a major belief that a major purpose of education is to “meet the needs” of the child.
This is a problem because we automatically believe that the child can display their needs.
The discourse of children’s needs masks our disagreements about what is best for human beings.
This is where children are given the title of being “needy” because they don’t meet the standard that we have set for them.
The construction of needs as “fact” denies the value with which the needs are made.
Children’s history, context, or political agendas have an effect on their needs.
This view of child-centered pedagogy has been made a teaching truth, without critique.
Play as Cultural Artifact
Many educators feel like play is a right of children and helps them develop into natural and healthy adults.
Play is consistent with the focus on universal developmental progress, meaning that play helps constitute that a child is on a path to educational progress.
The fact that play is considered “normal” for children resulted in its use for education in home and school, intervention, evaluation, and therapy.
We have made play universal, unidirectional, and standards of normalcy. But this does not take culture into consideration.
Play was used in historical analysis of European games and pastimes. It was described as a societal activity for people of all ages.
Toys and dolls were first created as replicas of real world and were placed in tombs. Children probably played with them, but their sole purpose was for adult ritual, pleasure, and amusement.
Play as a Cultural Artifact (cont’d.)
By 1600, toys were made specifically for infants but not extending the age of three or four.
Children above this age played with same toys and same games as adults.
In the 1700’s puppet shows were popular forms of entertainment, for all ages in Paris.
Very young children played sports such as tennis and hockey. Today these sports are appropriate for only adults and adolescents.
Piaget described play as a major contributor to the process of assimilation.
An example of this is infants are viewed as exploring the world by using objects as repeating actions over and over.
Dominant construction of play has ignored the voice of people of color.
Black children prefer forms of play that are verbal, rather than object oriented.
We begun to realize that play is not only a cultural artifact, but an artifact to be controlled and even suppressed dominant forms are not exhibited.
Symbolic play, also proposed by Piaget, is another construct that has been described as if existent regardless of time, culture, or context.
Play as a Cultural Artifact (cont’d.)
The notion that children from all over the world follow Piagetian symbolic play denies context, and make dangerous expectation for people in different living situations.
Since childhood is a time to prepare for and learn about life. It is constructed as the time in which play is legitimate.
Adults believing “play as the young child’s work”, they construct environments that reflect their construction, creating agendas for controlling children.
Even though children are free to play they are not at liberty to play as they feel. They are told what is right and wrong, inappropriate and appropriate.
Play as a Cultural Artifact (cont’d.)
Play is clearly a cultural artifact, representing a view of the world in which:
1. Stages of progress are predetermined for human beings.
2. Learning is viewed as exploration with objects, and
3. The way human beings function can be dichotomized into oppositional behaviors.
Discovery as Privileging Monocultural Knowledge
The concept of discovery assumes the existence of a universal knowledge base that all human beings valued discover equally, similarity of experiences, and access to materials that is equitable.
Different knowledge’s are created and valued by different cultures through diverse life experiences.
The experiences that generate knowledge and the materials used for the attainment of information vary depending on the cultures involved, the knowledge constructed and chosen as important, and the societal contexts within which learning occurs.
The “culture of power” includes the knowledge, communication methods, strategies for the construction of self, and methods of personal presentation that are valued b those in power.
Children from upper and middle class are more successful in school because their home and school match the culture.
These children can “discover” knowledge of a particular type because most of their life experiences are constructed by the culture of power.
Those children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds or other cultural contexts work as collaborators, by constructing self as contributing to a group, or with goals that are not consistent with notions of autonomy.
Universally imposing discovery oriented, child-centered pedagogy on all children forces everyone to be dependent on the availability of money for materials, but constructs classrooms all over the world to be consistent with western middle class values.
Reproducing Dominant Perspectives
The reproduction and reinforcement of the cultural knowledge of particular power groups is the major problem with child-centered pedagogy as a doctrine in early childhood education.
-Dominant views are reproduced by: 1. in forms of pedagogical determinationism that favor middle-class views of education 2. in the perpetuation of the masculine image as the most advanced ideal goal of educational pursuits, and 3. in descriptions of particular forms of language as universal and necessary for human growth.
Was used to try and reveal human truth
Is seen as a human construction
this is a problem because it is bias according to the culture and this causes problems when trying to understand other cultures.
The most recent example is the DAP
the child is objectified, created as Other, and presented as a universal
the thought of DAP is seen as the truth in developmental psychology
it has also been constructed as an official knowledge
Child-centered pedagogy shows the child as constructor, explorer, independent, powerful, and other qualities that are stereotypic masculine qualities
They are expected to grow and progress in their intellectual development
Males are supposed to explore and be separate from the world to learn
Females are supposed to be cooperative, and explorations are used as rewards
This could be a huge problem in other countries because a lot of families use all members of the family to work
Child-centeredness is a “reproduction of ourselves”
Adults have power over children and the child is denied in judgment of education
Constructs the illusion that children in educational environments have a choice, but it is actually the “will” imprisoned through the pretense of freedom
Not recognized as a cultural construction and child-centeredness is seen as truth
(6 Challenges cont’d.)
Child-centered pedagogy and play have been created in particular cultures with those particular values and biases
Universally imposing this concept places the success rate dependant on how much money and materials that are available and also colonizes classrooms to be consistent with western middle-class values
Child-centeredness gives power to the group and this is a problem because the power is not always used consciously and is imposed on others regardless
The concepts of child-centered pedagogy and play-based instruction appear to be ideal to push children into the forefront, but instead the power may be more oppressive than overt displays of force!
This is what people considered “good mothering”
The language is sensitive as opposed to direct and regulatory
Bambi Schieffelin, Elinor Ochs, and Shirly Brice Health have shown that the language reflects the beliefs of the culture
Children all over have learned to talk with and without a child-centered speech code
This causes the mothers to be controlled by the children because they are supposed to ignore all the other responsibilities and focus on the child
Conclusion This chapter urges us as future educators to think critically about why we teach the way we teach. It has encouraged us to look outside of the box and think about ways to make our lesson plans not only developmentally appropriate but also culturally appropriate.
Canella Chapter 6 Questions for YOU 1. Name three philosophers who were involved in the construction of child- centered pedagogy: a. Colonel Francis Parker b. Montessori c. Susan Isaacs 2. True or False: Play is not considered to be a cultural artifact by Canella. Answer: FALSE 3. There are 6 challenges to child-centeredness. Three of them are: Adults have no power over children and the child is denied in judgment of education Constructs the illusion that children in educational environments have a choice, but it is actually the “will” imprisoned through the pretense of freedom Child-centered pedagogy and play have been created in particular cultures with those particular values and biases Not recognized as a cultural construction and child-centeredness is seen as truth