This paper provides an insight on the effective pedagogical practices that can be used in the children learning. Some of these practices include the incorporation of ICT in early childhood education and some of effective direct instructional strategies that can have an impact in the learning process of children. Five common learning outcomes for children are identified. In addition, the paper outlines characteristics of effective teaching that contribute to effective teaching. Furthermore, the concept of culture in early childhood education is also discussed.
Keywords: Effective teaching, Pedagogy
Early childhood education in Australia falls under the responsibility of each state. The approach in each State towards early childhood education is different. The different States have different school starting ages, nomenclature, approaches in the testing and evaluation of the children, policies, support services and both public and private funded childhood education and care programmes. In Australia, children in preschool and childcare are usually placed under the funding and policy of the health sector, whereas those children aged between 5 and 8 years are placed under the school sector.
Amendments by the government have resulted to the combination of the health sector provision and childcare policy to the education sector. Childcare in the States of Victoria has been moved to the Department of Human Services to the Department of Early Childhood Education (DEEW, 2009). In Australia, pedagogy and learning have been put within the context of a developmental paradigm that is widely influenced by developmental (Sumsion et al., 2009).
In the past, the school segment has been involved in implementing a discipline-focused criterion together with the child-centred approach to learning and pedagogy. The childcare sector mostly concerns itself with the child, whereas the school sector mainly focuses on the implementation of the curriculum (Church, et al., 2010). Some of the efforts by the Australian government in promoting preschool education include the investing of a million dollars in to the research and development of innovative practices in childcare and preschools. In addition, additional funds have been directed towards the development and research of early childhood programmes.
Furthermore, the Australian government is developing a nationwide curriculum for early childhood development that will be implemented nationwide (DEECD, 2009). Pedagogy refers to the correct use of teaching strategies. In addition, pedagogical practices are those set of principles that facilitate and support effective teaching. Use of pedagogy standards assists in the teachers and childhood professionals in achieving their goals (Fleet, Patterson & Robertson, 2006). According to the Victorian Framework, five outcomes for children can be identified. These include identity, sense of community, communication, learning and well-being (VCAA, 2000).
Effective teaching is dependent on certain outcomes. These outcomes include the whether the students learn something as the result. Despite the introduction of teaching strategies that have been described as effective, use of these strategies will produce different outcomes in the different learning situations (City et al., 2009). In these scenarios, the teacher will be confronted with the idea of developing instructional strategies and behaviours, which are effective practices as well as combining these strategies at the appropriate time to the individual students. In addition, the teacher has to apply of these strategies depending on the different learning situations and what is the teacher’s goal for students learning outcome (City et al., 2009).
Effective teaching’s primary purpose is the attainment of academic knowledge of the student. In addition, effective teaching, as a whole encompasses the attainment of skill or knowledge on a subject of interest by a student, students feeling good about themselves, students obeying the society laws and students liking the school (Alter & Coggshall, 2009). Besides ensuring increased academic achievement, the use of instructional strategies should not produce affective loss. Moreover, the instructional strategy that produces positive affective results is the most effective teaching strategy. In order to achieve effective teaching fully, vital understanding of the effective teaching practices, the students, teaching contexts, coherent decision making and learning environments is significant (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 1999).
Characteristics of Effective Teaching
Effective teaching involves effective communicating, planning, managing and evaluating the actual process of instructing. Reflective teaching plays a major role in making of informed decision relating to the effective teaching strategies (Mabrina, Church & Tayler, 2010). Through reflective teaching, teachers can be able to do a critical analysis their actions and their decisions. Reflective teaching allows teachers to foresee the impact of the teaching methods and in the process may make relevant changes in improving their strategies. In addition, the teacher gains a deeper understanding by scrutinizing the goals of the teaching practice. According to the DEECD (2009), children’s learning becomes advanced when they experience interactions with highly effective childhood professionals. Application of reflective teaching allows the childhood teachers to promote practices are supported by evidence to be doing well in supporting and developing children learning (Osterman, 1990).
Furthermore, reflective teaching will allow the childhood professionals ability to challenge and develop new practices that they discover to be effective. In the process of reflective teaching the childhood professionals, improve their knowledge and skills concerning early childhood education. Teachers have to have a comprehensive understanding of the learning values of development the children to cater for the variety of and diversity of children in a classroom setting (Ashmna and Elkins, 2009). This allows the teacher to select the best effective teaching strategies. Consequently, this will necessitate the need of the use of a various instructional resources and technology. To be effective teachers must have adequate knowledge on the subject, which they propose to teach. This includes professional knowledge about teaching in general, pedagogical knowledge about the concepts and theories of effective teaching and pedagogical content knowledge concerning the different teaching approaches and methods.
Another important t characteristic of effective teaching involves the use of a variety of teaching strategies. Use of a variety of teaching techniques stimulates the student s during lesson activities and may encourage students to participate actively in the lesson. This especially true when dealing with children who are normally intrigued by different things and hence in the process may enjoy the lessons. The advantage is that children have inquisitive minds and anything new to them encourage exploratory mind (Rinaldi, 2006). Furthermore, proper assigning of tasks taking into account the time factor will provide the children with adequate time for learning new ideas. Various ways can be used to increase children engagement in learning activities. The teacher can monitor the work of the children as the progress and make comments and appreciation of their efforts.
In addition, preparation of a daily schedule that gives a description of the activities that the children will undertake will assist in reducing time wastage activities such as giving directions. Furthermore, individual assignments given to the child should be interesting and easy to them as well as different to what the other children are doing. This promotes their confidence in being able to carry out activities on their own. The children should not only be involved in just doing things in class as a way of ensuring children success rate. The activities should be meaningful and have a relation to what the teacher is planning on teaching. Planning of these activities should replicate the capability and interests of the children. If a child is successful in one day, chances are that the child will replicate the same success in the days to follow.
Effective Pedagogical Practices
Cognitive structures refer to the patterns of the mental or physical actions that bring about specific acts of acumen. These are conditioned by stages of development. An assumption using the Piaget theory is that children are natural and active developers of their own understanding. Growth in a child results to the integration of abstract structures in their understanding. Using Piaget theories on child development, the teacher can be able to facilitate developmental change in a child by assisting the child to find contradictions using hid or prior knowledge and understanding.
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
The Victorian Framework for early childhood development t recognizes the fact that culture plays a significant t role in the shaping the learning and development outcomes of children. The childhood professional use of culture empowers the children both socially and emotionally. An example of how the Victorian Framework incorporates culture-based pedagogy is in the Aboriginal culture. Respecting and learning the value of this culture will assist in ensuring that the Victorian children have a sense of belonging in the community. Culture, in this case, is used as a vehicle for learning. Moreover, incorporating of children’s books that outlines the different cultures will assist the children in developing their own personal identities related to their different cultures. In addition, the children can be able to understand the relationships that exist between Australia and Asia and in the process grow up understanding the Asian culture. (ACARA, 2010)
Fostering relationships among the children will assist in building trust, understanding thereby creating a peaceful learning environment for the children. The children strengths’ can be increased by encouraging the children to talk about the family histories. Incorporation of this strategy will assist the children develop social and persona competence as they learn to mange and understand their relationships. This is a key aspect of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting Authority (2010). Furthermore, the children will be able to start friendship relationship with one another, work effectively as a team, and be able to make responsible decisions (ACARA, 2010).
Use of Technology
In recent times, the use of computer games and simulations has a possibility of improving how children learn. Early childhood professionals can incorporate an assortment of strategies using technology. These include the use of a learner-centred approach, promoting cognitive activity, and focusing on learning outcomes. A learner-centred approach will help in assisting the natural process through which children learn. In addition, this approach will allow a better understanding of the children’s cognitive processing and, therefore, affect the learning outcomes of the child. In focusing on promoting the cognitive activity, video games cause the children to be more active.
This allows teachers to recognize how the different aspects of the computer software affect the learning process of the child. Consequently, measuring the learning outcomes of the games can help in accessing the level of comprehension in a child. In addition, use of reading software can help determine what children learn from the use of the software. Use of ICT is a key component in the Australian curriculum (ACARA, 2010). Direct Instruction
Hunt and Touzel (2009) suggest that the use of direct instruction strategies allows teachers to be able to organize and present material to the children. Direct instructional strategies are characterized by a certain level of predictability of the children responses. This allows teachers to be to respond with ease and in the process save time. The teacher best applies direct teaching for children in the learning of procedures and skills. Teachers use the direct instructional strategies to present information through which the children use their prior knowledge and give feedback to the teacher. Direct instruction strategies ensure the close monitoring of the children’s outcomes and ensure effective use of classroom organization and management methods. The direct instruction process consists of modelling, direct practice, guided practice and independent practice. In modelling, the skill to be imparted on children is performed by the teacher. This normally involves thinking aloud so that the children can grasp the concept.
In direct practice, the teacher uses questions through a variety of steps that allow the children to understand the reason behind every step, whereas, in guide practice, the children generate questions working through various steps while the teacher observes, guides them, and provides a response to the questions. Lastly, in independent practice, the students have gained the ability to work on their own and can be able to do more questions without much assistance from the teacher. Examples of direct instructional strategies include explicit teaching, drill, demonstration, lecture presentation and teacher led guide discussion. However, lecture presentations are not effective in teaching children.
In explicit teaching, the teacher first gain the attention of the children then provides information, which the children can use to provide feedback to the teacher. Use of demonstrations in teaching children is a more effective method the use of direct instruction. In demonstrations, the children can observe how the teacher carries out a certain task, which helps to increase the attention of the children. Furthermore, using demonstrations allow the children to look at the actual activity rather than hearing about something they cannot see. An example of a demonstration that is normally used in teaching children is the teacher showing them how to tie their laces. Most of these demonstrations are explanatory in nature (Moss et al., 2006).
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