Starting from the Child: Teaching and Learning from 3 To 8

By Julie Fisher | Go to book overview

4
THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER
Making the best use of
teaching time

Introduction

The role of the teacher is inextricably bound up with how children are viewed as learners. As has already been shown, once it is acknowledged that children are competent (albeit inexperienced) learners, then teachers must be responsive to their varied and various abilities. Whatever it is intended that children should learn and however it is intended that they should learn it, the most effective learning is rooted in previous experience (Donaldson 1978; Wood 1988; Meadows 1993). Children are active learners, constantly constructing their own internal model of the world (Wells 1986; Wood 1988; Bronson 2000; Kuhn 2000). By acknowledging this, the teacher rejects a 'transmission' approach to teaching where the teacher is seen as having or having access to knowledge and skills which it is their responsibility to transmit to the learner. Instead, the teacher adopts what Rowland (1984: 4) describes as an 'interpretive' model of teaching, which involves 'not only the child's attempt to interpret and assimilate the knowledge and skills offered by the teacher, but also the teacher's growing understandings of the world'.

If we ignore what children already know and can do then their learning will not be embedded in what is already secure and what already makes sense to them. This sends messages to children that their competencies and contributions are not valued and this in turn can have a serious impact on their self-esteem.

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