John Holt, an American educator , said, “ Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and other, and they will make for themselves a better path into the world than anyone else could make for them.”In other words, children can empower themselves to learn what is right. They are their very own best teachers – if only they were given the opportunity to explore and experience at their own pace.
As a child builds with blocks, messes around with paint or plants and observes a flower bloom, he is making sense of his world. He plays an active role in learning through constructing, assimilating and accommodating reality rather than just acquiring knowledge – spoon-fed by his teacher!
Instead of rewards and punishment, Kohn suggests the following to constructive classroom management which can motivate children intrinsically:The Role of the TeacherChildren misbehave when their basic needs are not met. Misbehaviour will diminish if they feel less controlled and their decisions are met. The teacher’s role is to cooperate with the children and invite their ideas on what to learn and facilitate their learning. She is their co-partner in learning. However, a constructivist teacher does not allow the children to run wild. Instead, she develops strategies for managing a classroom of children, even more vital is a preschool classroom as younger children are egocentric and cannot see another person’s point of view.An Engaging CurriculumBesides the teacher, a curriculum that is based on the children’s interest will engage the children. The curriculum should be organised around questions that children want to explore. Progress in not accessed through test results, but in productivity and insights gained as the learning process unfolds. When the children are actively engaged, there will be no reason for them to misbehave.A Community of LearnersChildren are encouraged to learn appropriate behaviour among themselves. They are responsible for the standard of behaviour through class discussions and be given the opportunity to explore and determine how to create a positive environment.
Kohn’s strategies may not work well with preschoolers because:Preschoolers are concrete learners – They need to be guided by the teacher on what is right and what is wrong through clear, concrete examples. They also need instant gratification such as stickers for work well-done and we cannot deny them the extrinsic rewards.Preschoolers are egocentric – They cannot see another person’s point of view. Even though they can assume responsibility for their actions, the teacher needs to help them develop self-discipline. Incentives or praise, if used correctly, can help everyone take responsibility. Over time, intrinsic motivation will set in as children gain independence and good esteem working well with their friends.Preschoolers may not know what is best for them – Responsible adults need to guide children on what to do because they may lack experience and knowledge. They cannot be given the free hand to do whatever they like! The idea of giving them choices is acceptable but the teacher has the responsibility to guide them towards achieving a balanced curriculum.Preschoolers come from diverse family background - Early childhood educators have to nurture the seeds of racial harmony. The children has to be encouraged and guided to respect each other, regardless of race, religion and culture.
Constructivism and classroom management in preschools
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The Constructivist Teacher’s Approach to Classroom Management in Malaysia Preschools<br />by Yvonne, Sook Hun<br />
Introduction<br />The Early Childhood Education (ECE) has undergone many changes in the last 30 years. <br />Learners play an active role learning; teachers are facilitators and co-learners.<br />Teacher takes an active role in giving out information and knowledge. <br />
Introduction<br />Living in the world of empowered children<br />“Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and others, and they will make for themselves a better path into the world than anyone else could make for them.”<br /> John Holt, (1923 – 1985) <br />American Educator<br />
Introduction<br />Hands-on learning for a better understanding of the world around them!<br />
Introduction<br />Shift of orientation in learning-teaching results in change in classroom management :<br /><ul><li>Teacher to be more person-centered
Community building</li></ul>How do Malaysian preschools adapt to the global changes in early childhood education?<br />How does a preschool teacher align both constructivism teaching-learning with classroom management within a multi-racial classroom?<br />
Transmission vs Constructivist Approach<br />The Constructivist Teacher<br />
Transmission vs Constructivist Approach<br />The Transmission Approach<br /><ul><li>The teacher stands in front of the class, </li></ul> transmitting knowledge or information to <br /> children seated at rows of tables.<br /><ul><li>The teacher manipulates desired behaviours </li></ul> through external stimuli such as <br /> punishment and rewards. <br /><ul><li> Learning is linear, teacher-directed and </li></ul> measurable through tests and <br /> reinforcements.<br />
Transmission vs Constructivist Approach<br />The Constructivist Approach<br /><ul><li>Learners have an active role and their </li></ul> questions shape the curriculum.<br /><ul><li>The process of learning is important . </li></ul> Lessons are organised around broad <br /> themes and are connected to real issues.<br /><ul><li> There is a community of learners that </li></ul> engages in discovery and invention, <br /> reflection and problem solving. The <br /> teacher is a facilitator and co-learner in <br /> this community.<br />
Transmission vs Constructivist Approach<br />Malaysian children learn about strength in unity and respect for each other’s race, language and religion from an early age. The constructivist teacher plays an important role in providing them with the experiences of building a community of learners.<br />The Constructivist Teacher<br />
Preschool Education<br /> in Malaysia<br />Changes in the last 20 years :<br />20 years ago preschool was not compulsory<br />3Rs – Reading, wRiting & aRithmetic<br /> National Preschool Curriculum (NPC)<br /> 4Rs– Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic & Reasoning <br /> 2011 National Preschool Standard Curriculum (NPSC)<br /> 4Rs– Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic & Reasoning<br />
Preschool Education in Malaysia<br />overall and integrated self- development<br />cheerful learning<br />National Preschool Curriculum 2003<br />progressive, constructivist approach to preschool learning<br />meaningful learning experiences<br />Life – long education<br />
Preschool Education in Malaysia<br />National Preschool Standard Curriculum 2011<br />progressive, constructivist approach to preschool learning<br />cheerful learning<br />Objective :<br />The aims of the preschool is to develop the potential of children ages 4 to 6 in a holistic and integrated manner; physically, spiritually, socially and intellectually through a safe and conducive learning environment with fun, creative and meaningful activities.<br />enriching<br />engaging<br />safe<br />meaningful learning experiences<br />Life – long education<br />fun<br />
Implications and restrictions to constructivism<br />“If learning has an inherently constructive character, it follows that classroom management needs to be supportive of the construction that is happening.”<br /> (Perkins, 1992, p. 49)<br />However, most teachers secure children’s compliance through extrinsic inducements such as rewards and punishment!<br />
Implications and Restrictions<br />According to Alfie Kohn in his book Punished by Rewards, (1999):<br /><ul><li>Both rewards and punishment are ways of </li></ul> manipulating behaviour that destroy the potential for <br /> real learning. <br /><ul><li> The underlying flaw with using the traditional </li></ul> classroom management system is that it can only <br /> succeed in getting temporary compliance from <br /> children. <br /> <br /> <br />
Implications and Restrictions<br />In Malaysia, preschool teachers too control behaviour through rewards or punishment:<br /><ul><li> A child receives stickers for a job-well-done.</li></ul>He learns to behave positively in order to win<br /> a prize. <br /><ul><li>A child is seated on a special chair if he </li></ul> misbehaves.<br />He learns that he will suffer dire consequences<br /> and may learn to be dishonest in order to hide <br /> his misbehaviour. <br />
Implications and Restrictions<br />The constructivist teacher has to move beyond the conventional discipline approach to transform the Malaysian preschool classroom into one that engages children during learning activities!<br />
Implications and Restrictions<br />Kohns’s suggestions to constructive classroom management:<br />The Role of the Teacher<br />2.An Engaging Curriculum<br />3. A Community of Learners<br />
Implications and Restrictions<br />Restrictions to Kohn’s strategies:<br />Preschoolers are concrete learners.<br />2. Preschoolers are egocentric.<br />Preschoolers may not know what is best for them.<br />4. Preschoolers come from diverse family background.<br />
Some of Kohns’ strategies are not suitable for a preschool classroom.<br />A delicate balance between total constructivism and classroom management using rewards is needed.<br />Extrinsic rewards are still required before intrinsic motivation sets in.<br />Conclusion<br />
Conclusion<br />For constructivism to take place in Malaysia, early childhood educators play a crucial role as agents of change.<br />A constructivist teacher in a preschool needs to foster children’s learning and respect for each other in cooperative ways.<br />They must change their way of teaching and do <br />not rule with the<br />carrot and stick method.<br />
Conclusion<br />We hope to create an empowering school culture that allows “full participation of all children from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural groups in every aspect of school life.” <br />(Banks and Banks, 2004)<br />
Conclusion<br />Malaysia, a multi-racial and multi-ethnic country needs to move beyond traditional classroom teachings to help her children and families accept the differences as positive and embrace multiculturism as a way of life.<br />