Posts

How Do We Meet Current Research Data? – Part 2: Ways to Create an Optimal Learning Environment

Today, we continue our series entitled How Do We Meet Current Research Data?, exploring how the latest brain and education research impacts curriculum and learning, with Part 2 of the series: Ways to Create an Optimal Learning Environment.

Facts may eventually become outdated, but the skills of thinking, making meaning, developing understanding, and problem solving never will. More important than the solution is learning how to solve a problem.

While workbooks are routinely used in many educational settings, many workbook tasks are not interesting, do not provide rich instructional possibilities, lack clear objectives, allow false-positive feedback, consume teachers’ time in scoring, and – most importantly – occupy time that can be otherwise spent teaching students things they do not already know. Worksheets tend to make reading a chore and create a feeling of drudgery and boredom for many children.

World-renowned developmental psychologist Howard Gardner advocates:

“The brain learns best and retains most when the organism is actively involved in exploring physical sites and materials and asking questions to which it actually craves answers. Passive experiences tend to attenuate and have little lasting impact.”

Therefore, an optimal learning environment includes many hands-on experiences, creating a process of active involvement with rich, meaningful content that is not simply focused on an end result.

Next Monday: Part 3 – How Children Can Participate in Their Own Curriculum Planning

Previous posts in this series:
How Do We Meet Current Research Data? – Part 1

Montessori Philosophy: How Do We Meet Current Research Data? – Part 1

Today, we begin a new series entitled How Do We Meet Current Research Data?, exploring how the latest brain and education research impacts curriculum and learning.

In order to promote positive outcomes for all young children, early childhood educators should implement curriculum that is thoughtfully planned, challenging, engaging, developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically responsive, and comprehensive. We need to create meaningful curriculum by replacing the three Rs (reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic) for the four Es: experience, extension, expression, and evaluation. The current trend is to emphasize the need for flexibility. The National Association for the Education of Young Children program standards recommend that curriculum planning should focus on promoting learning and development in the areas of social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive growth. Units should be based on themes that are interesting and developmentally beneficial for all children. The interests and passions of the individual child need to be taken into account when developing projects.

Next Monday: Part 2 – Ways to Create an Optimal Learning Environment

Other posts in this series:
Part 3 – How Children Can Participate in Their Own Curriculum Planning