One of the well-known theorists in education is John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952). He is credited with the title of an American psychologist, philosopher and educational reformer. In the field of psychology and education, he has done a few essenial statements and wrote important books, including My Pedagogic Creed (1897), The Child and the Curriculum (1902), Experience and Education (1938), in which he proves the importance of the role of the curriculum in child development, especially in its early stages. He is confident that students thrive when they directly become participants of the educational process. They get immeasurable experience that helps them grow and improve. Therefore, we have no right to deprive a child of this irreplaceable opportunity.
Dewey argues that we cannot go to extremes. A student in the class cannot just be a passive listener, but too much attention to him can be also excessively. Let us imagine a situation that a new student comes in the class. The teacher has to introduce him to other students, the environment in the classroom and make him sure that he is welcome there. In this way he will soon be able to feel himself not a stranger but an accepted one. During the lesson it is necessary to alternate between different activities. The teacher spends some time revealing the prepared topic. Then he can give every child an opportunity to express his or her own opinion on this matter. An essential step is to apply on practice what you have learned. To produce an interesting and-made thing can be a good example to this activity. Finally the teacher should summarize new information children have studied with a game or a questionnaire, for example.
An example lesson plan on topic “Are you green?” (For 4-5 year children)
- Meet a new classmate. Introduce him to others. The rest of students can shout their names in chorus.
- Introduce a current topic. A teacher can bring different sorts of rubbish and ask children to classify it. It may be performed in separate teams, two or three, for example. But only for elder students. It is much better for little ones to work together.
- A short story about a threatening situation regarding waste in the world. A few pictures of some countries on this issue can be very useful.
- Practice. A hand-made box for different sorts of rubbish, where they can put little pictures of bottles, apple cores, tins, etc.
- Revision. A game “Clap your hands if it is right!” A teacher names an action. For example, ‘to leave an empty bottle near the bench’. Children clap if it is correct. But in this case they should not clap.
- Home task. To tell parents that now they know how to be green. Children should try to keep “the green rules” at home all week long. If they do, they get a signature from their parents. The next week they can prove in the class that they are green by showing others the signature.
When students realize that the study can be interesting and they are involved in the curriculum, they learn much more effectively. The task of a teacher is to make students sure that they can apply the knowledge they get. In this way they experience something very essential despite the fact that they are still quite small.