Exponents of child-centered education


Q. Exponents of child-centered education

All the progressive educationists like Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Montessori, Tagore, Gandhi and many others have advocated the cause of the child. They have stressed that the teaching programmes and the teaching process should be based the capacities and requirements of children.

Rousseau (1712-1778) was a great exponent of child-centered approach to education. He believed that learning best takes place when the child is free to develop and grow according to his natural instincts and impulses. He said that education must be based upon the natural tendencies and instincts of the child. According to Rousseau, “Education is no longer a procedure, artificial, harsh, dull, unsympathetic and repressive of all natural inclinations; it is, on the other hand, an organic growth; is development from within.”

Pestalozzi (1746-1828) wanted to psychologize education. The instructional methods propagated by him were based on the principle of discovery. This means, while educating the child, the teacher should provide him the opportunities to discover things of their own.

Froebel (1782-1852) remains one of the major exponents of child- centered education. He believed in the all-round development of the child’s personality. The epitaph on his grave reads: “Come let’s live for our children.” In these words, Froebel poured out his heart. It was Froebel who gave us the wonderful phenomenon of child education-Kindergarten-through which he concretized the basic principles of child-centered education.

Madame Maria Montessori (1870-1952) gave us the concept of auto-education. Her education plan-Montessori Method- propagated special environment to educate the child. She called her school Children’s Home-a place which is conducive to their needs and personality development. It is under such an environment that children feel free to learn according to their own choice. The teacher is the directories of the show.

In our own country, Rabindra Nath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi remained the forerunners of child-centered education. Tagore translated his dreams in the form of a school at Shantiniketan and Gandhiji’s scheme of Basic Education aimed at drawing out the best in child and man-body, mind and spirit.

Child-centered Education and National Policy on Education (1986)

In the recent past, the National Policy on Education (1986) pleaded for child-centered approach to education which is “a warm, welcoming and encouraging approach, in which all concerned share solicitude for the needs of the child.” The policy advocates “child centered and activity-based process of learning” at the primary stage.

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