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

By Julie Fisher | Go to book overview

8
THE NEGOTIATED CLASSROOM
Issues of power and control

Introduction

The idea of learning being negotiated is a challenge to any curriculum that prescribes the process and content of experiences without taking into account the current needs and interests of children. A developmentally appropriate curriculum, as described in Chapter 3, is built on what individual children know and need to know next. It is a curriculum that starts from the child rather than expecting the child to start from the curriculum. It presupposes that children are aware of the purpose of the activities in which they are engaged and are able to make judgements about their value. When teachers see the desirability of motivating children in this way, then the learner is placed in a powerful position. Rather than being a passive recipient of someone else's decision-making and control, the learner is an active participant in the formation of their own classroom experiences. When young children exercise control in classroom situations it determines the relationship between teacher and learner. The relationship becomes a partnership in which children can negotiate input and outcomes in ways that increase their autonomy and sense of purpose. This does not diminish the role of the teacher but alters it. The idea that learning is controlled by the learner

presupposes that knowledge is not transmitted directly from
the teacher to the learner. It demands that both teacher and
learner recognise that the subject matter of learning resides

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