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Academic versus Child-centered Instruction

What effect does the type of instruction (i.e., academic oriented versus child-centered) have on the performance of the pre-school and kindergarten child? What implications do these findings have for teachers, models of instruction and the likes? Could you recommend some good sources on this topic? Thanks.

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Hi,

This is a very interesting topic. We will address your questions in the order that you presented them and provide 18 sources that are highly relevant to your choice of topic.

1. What effect does the type of instruction (academic oriented versus child-centered) have on the performance of the pre-school and kindergarten child?

Recent research suggest several areas effected by the type of instruction:

A. Person Variables (Stress, interpersonal reasoning, motivation for learning)
B. Gender Differences
C. Motivational Outcomes

A. Person Variables and Gender Difference

1.Complementing these longitudinal studies is more recent work linking specific instructional variables in preschool and kindergarten classrooms to developmentally appropriate instructional practices. Diverse dependent measures have been studied, including child stress, interpersonal reasoning, and motivation for learning. Instructional techniques that emphasize drill, worksheets, and pre-academics, while minimizing child choice and decision making, lead to higher levels of child stress (Burts et al., 1990; Hyson & Molinaro, in Golbeck, 2001). The effects appear to be most pronounced among boys (Burts et al., 1992).

B. Motivational outcomes also vary as a function of preschool instructional practices.

(1) Although children in more academically oriented preschool programs fared better on achievement tests when compared to children in more child-centered preschool programs, the children rated their abilities lower, showed lower expectations for success on academic tasks, showed more dependency on adults, evidenced less pride in their accomplishments, and claimed to worry more about school.

(2) A subsequent study replicated these findings in preschool but suggested that these relationships become more complex in kindergarten, making it difficult to separate the type of instruction from the social context of teachers' behavior (Stipek et al., 1995, 1998; Stipek & Greene, in Golbeck, 2002).

2. What implications do these findings have for teachers, models of instruction and the likes?

As suggested by research, there is a call for new paradigms or models of instructional design.

1. Empirical support can be found for child-centered approaches to preschool instruction, especially if the emphasis is upon long-term goals and ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the effect of different types of instruction (i.e., academic oriented versus child-centered) on the performance of the pre-school and kindergarten child. The implications for teachers and models of instruction are further discussed. 18 sources are listed for further research.

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