The characteristics of the Curricular Designs presented in 1972 – 1982 – 1989, and their relation with the definition of State

The political factors presented below were extracted from the book “Contributions to didactics”.

  • Document: Curriculum for Preschool education – 1972

This document has its basis in the principles of the Escuela Nueva (New School), which explored the spontaneous interests of children, the contact with nature and the search for harmony between family, school and society.

The political, social and cultural dimension:

THE NEOLIBERAL AUTHORITARIAN STATE:

The educational policy adopted by this state was characterized by a strong regulation of the procedures and a raise in the number of private institutions.

“This type of state didn’t put any price on democracy…”, but considered it a political method that had to adapt to the social rules and traditions.

General objectives:

The general objectives proposed by this state focused on: the contact of children with nature, and the teaching of habits and attitudes of respect and solidarity. It was important that children reach a superior level of development, be independent, creative and able to enrich their vocabulary.

The organization of objectives, contents and activities:

The contents were determined by the type of achievement that the children had to reach:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Attitudes
  • Habits

These contents fitted the children’s necessities, interests and attitudes. There were specific objectives for each of these achievements.

The activities were closely connected to the idea of experimentation and external movement (the internal process was not taken into account), which evolved into “doing an activity for the sake of the activity itself” (activism).

Organization of school subjects:

The curriculum was not divided into specific subjects, but into areas of study:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Socio-emotional
  • Esthetic sensitivity

Each area was further subdivided, depending on the students’ age.

The role of the student:

The student was the center of the educational act, his freedom and personality had to be respected, he was the author of his own learning and the creator of his own achievements.

Learning was a natural process of observation and experimentation, which could be done regularly outside the classroom.

From the point of view of literacy, it was considered that the child had to start achieving these skills before entering the first grade. Taking into account the potential of each child, the teacher guided and instructed the children according to a teaching plan that was intended to provide a comprehensive education.

The role of the teacher:

The teacher had to design a timetable that was flexible and helped him or her maintain a cordial relationship with the workmates and the community. It also had to create an adequate environment for reading and writing.

The concept of literacy:

The process of alphabetization involved training the children by doing exercises that developed their motor abilities (see the pictures attached to the paragraph regarding Traditional Methods).

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What is Psycho-linguistics?

Psycho-linguistics is the science that studies the psychological processes of language comprehension and production. These processes can be understood by putting together the theories emerged from different studies conducted so far, even if they were made from completely opposite points of view.

Today, psycho-linguistics admits that these theories have brought important contributions to the field, so it does not discard any of them, but, starting from them, formulates a new explanation in regard to how language is acquired.

This interpretation claims that people acquire the language through their need to communicate, but also with the aid of the human innate aptitudes for learning the language, the interaction with the linguistic environment, and the creative and dynamic process that occurs during the stages of psycho-evolutive development.

Finally, we thought it would be appropriate to mention the most relevant aspects of the theories described above, in order to see what were the exact contributions of each theory and how the present interpretation was obtained.

In the following, we present a table that synthesizes the theories that have tried to explain the psychological processes of  language comprehension and production.

Theory Representative Main thesis
AMBIENTALIST

Contributions:

Recognized the importance of the environment in the development of language

Skinner B.F. Analyzed the way children learn. It is based on the behaviorist principles, which see the child as a passive receiver of information, who learns by imitating their parents’ speech, and reinforcement.
INNATENESS

Contributions:

Human aptitudes in the acquisition of language

Chomsky N. This theory is the opposite of the previous one, which focuses on the acquirement of language. It claims that the child has innate knowledge (inherent to his/her mind) about the universal principles that govern language.
BENCHMARKING

Contributions:

The importance of the interaction with the linguistic environment

Roeper T. and E. Williams Also claims that children have innate knowledge, but puts the student in a continuous relationship with his community, which is set to influence it from a linguistic point of view.
CONSTRUCTIVISM

Contributions:

The relation between transformation of the processes of thinking and the evolution of language.

 

Piaget J. and  Geneva School Studies the mechanisms of the mind and claims that as soon as the child develops his sensor and motor intelligence, he can acquire the language. Rejects the principles of the innate theory, and considers that the only thing inherited is the intelligence.
SOCIO-INTERACTIVE:

* SOVIETIC

Contributions:

Social interaction and the student’s need to communicate.

* AMERICAN

Contributions:

The importance of the role of the adult.

* Vygotsky L.S.

* Bruner J.

Both currents analyze the role of social interaction in the development of language.

“Language is (…) a means of communication with external form and function, that progressively acquires an internal, personal function, until it becomes completely internal and is transformed into “thinking”…”

Language is acquired and is influenced by the social function.

Supports the theory of inherited predisposition of the subject which enables him to acquire the language, as well as the need of support and reinforcement from the adults (instructional scaffolding).