Towards an understanding of child centered education.

Wiseman, Marie (Marie Alva) (1991) Towards an understanding of child centered education. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study sought to clarify the concept of child centered instruction. An extensive review of the literature (including the Department of Education curriculum documents from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador) was undertaken. From this review the major features and implications for practice with respect to child centered instruction were abstracted. -- A survey of primary teachers was conducted to identify teachers' perceptions of the curriculum goals, the learning environment, the educational practices and the role of the teacher in the child centered classroom. In addition the degree of congruence between teachers’ perceptions of child centered instruction and the features identified in the literature was examined. The extent to which teachers perceived child centered instruction to be implemented was explored, as well as the factors perceived to be either supportive or non-supportive of this approach. -- The sample for this study consisted of 43 teachers from 11 schools under the jurisdiction of the Appalachia Roman Catholic School Board situated on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Instrumentation for data collection included a questionnaire and an interview. -- The findings of the study suggest that there is a high degree of unanimity among teachers regarding their perceptions of the goals, the learning environment, the instructional strategies and the role of the teacher in the child centered classroom. Some differences were found when an analysis of variance was done using the independent variables of number of years teaching, orientation of training, grade presently teaching and class size. The majority of respondents (64%) felt that teachers are working towards a child centered approach to instruction but that to date it has not been extensively implemented. A number of factors were identified as being supportive of child centeredness. These included availability of sufficient resources, small pupil/teacher ratios, sufficient preparation time, parental involvement, professional support and positive teacher attitudes. Likewise, an absence of these factors was considered to be non- supportive of such an approach. In addition, two other factors were deemed to have an adverse effect on the implementation of child centered instruction. These were the lack of classroom physical space and a number of policies enacted by the Department of Education. -- Recommendations were that the Department of Education examine the role of its authorized resources and curriculum guides in promoting child centered instruction. The need for financial assistance in purchasing resource materials, both for classroom and district resource centers, was noted. The recommendation was also made that the Department of Education provide more extensive guidelines on the role of interdisci- plinary teaching, as well as compile a bibliography of resource material pertinent to child centered instruction. -- Several recommendations regarding the nature of district level inservice were made. The suggestion was also made that the Newfoundland Teachers' Association expand the recommended materials list developed for kindergarten to include the primary grades and follow through on its recommendation regarding the set up of district class size committees. -- Finally, the recommendation was made that the idea of allowing one planning day a month for primary teachers (arising out of a survey conducted by the Provincial Primary Teachers' Council), be acted upon.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/904
Item ID: 904
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 224-235
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1991
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Education, Primary; Early childhood education; Individualized instruction

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