For my last reading I read about Montessori, I learned that Montessori techniques can be used successfully with all children, whether they are gifted, have learning disabilities or other special needs. Also this method gives children Self Worth they learn that they are important and their ideas are valuable. I really like the sensorial materials for the purpose of developing a child’s five senses. The materials have a wide range include the cylinder blocks, the pink tower, the brown or broad stair, the red rods, the colored cylinders and more. Their are other materials used for the learning and discovery activities of older children.
Last week I read Helm and Beneke’s book, The Power of Project, and found the book very practical for teachers who choose project approach curriculum as teaching model. There are teaching strategies that I found extremely useful, such as it mentioned the fact that, when planning project themes, not all topic are interested to al children: “For those who might be more interested in different topic, the teacher can acknowledge the feeling by saying something like ‘I understand that you are not especially interested in the Bike Shop Project. I hope the next project we do will be more interesting for you. In the mean time, do what you can to help the others in your group.’ In this way, the teacher expresses genuine understanding and respect for the child and makes clear the importance of working and helping others” (p.15). The book included tremendous amount of projects that students worked on in different schools, based on separate learning goals as well as special focus for ESL (English for second language) students and the ones with special needs. There is a specific chapter that the book spent to talk about ESL, which I found personal related because I learned English as a second language in school. “Being bilingual has definite economic advantages and increases career opportunities” (p. 64). While more and more students in US are bilingual, teachers are mostly only speak one language. “Children with ESL are more likely to have discipline problems and to drop out of school before their education is completed because English is the only language used for instruction” (p. 65). It is important for teachers to realize that children with different language often experience cultural conflicts due to different expression such as expression of emotions and attention. Teaching English to an ESL children are more challenging for teacher as well as for students to learn English as a second language. The book listed teaching second-language strategies, including: using demonstrations, modeling and engaging role-plays, repeating words and sentence patterns, etc. “Children vary greatly in their motivation to learn a new language” (p.65), and I believe that it is important for educators to make any language learning experience meaningful for children. To achieve academic learning goals as well as help develop children’s internal emotions, “the warmth of the classroom and how comfortable a child feels with the teacher also influence language acquisition” (p. 65).
The other member from my discussion group also read the same book, and we both found it interesting that the book mentions, “the use of the project approach in the U.S. has been stimulated by information about projects developed in the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy” (p.7). I thought that project approach model is developed from Piaget’s Developmental Theory because there are big amount of the guidelines of project approach model is similar to Piagetian’s philosophy, such as autonomy and engagements. At the same time, it is understandable due to the close relationship between project approach and Reggio Emilia approach: they both focus on children-directed learning experience through sensory and relationship building.
In the Introduction of The Power of Project, there are several records of the conference of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), and one of them was talking about curiosity, “If children aren’t challenged to think, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If children don’t get a chance to be curious and find answers to their questions, they don’t see themselves as successful learners, or they don’t view school as a place where they can learn interesting, relevant thing. Eventually, their intellectual curiosity dies” (p.1). I shared this with discussion group and we both found this really powerful and influential for our personal teaching philosophy.
For my third reflection I choose to read about project approach. My group member and I both read the same book, and agreed that this style of curriculum supports a child’s natural way of learning. What I like best about project approach is that it seems to accommodate best with a child’s zone of proximal development. This style allows children to question, explore and reflect on real life events and situations. The advantage of project approach is that it allows flexibility in teaching. This allows the teacher to be there to guide children in exploring. Rather than expecting children to come up with a right or wrong answer. This helps children to feel confident in their findings and become self-motivated learners. My group member and I found it interesting that “the project approach” stimulated by information about projects developed in the preschool of Reggio Emilia.
For the last reading response I did I read about Waldorf Education and the Rudolf Steiner articles. I really focused on the first two articles and I actually really enjoyed them. The Waldorf education is a model that I really enjoy learning about because of how hands on it is for the children and how real life it seems to me. When discussing about Waldorf in the group I think we all decided that we like how hands on it is and we like that because it is a good way to keep the children engaged in what they are learning. We also enjoy that with Waldorf there are so many different methods the use when teaching about a certain subject, like math. The Waldorf education is a good approach for children who need hands on learning and like to have movement within the curriculum.
For my third and final reading response I read about Piaget and his theory on teaching arithmetic. One thing that I found to be interesting was that Piaget believes that children should do their own thinking when it comes to mathematics. Children should be given the opportunity to invent their own procedures for solving math problems. I really like this idea because it allows children to discover a way of learning that helps them the most.
Piaget also feels that children should share their methods and thinking with their peers so that students can learn from one another. This is very important to me because I think children learn best from their peers and are more likely to remember something when someone they can relate to taught them. Mathematics helps children develop their social skills if they are able to share their ideas with their peers.
Another important point that I learned from Piaget is to relate mathematics to children’s daily lives. When children are able to relate what they are learning to their own life then they absorb the information better and have an easier time remembering the information learned. Overall I think Piaget has a great overall approach to teaching children mathematics.