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Child-Centered Approach

This is an excerpt from Educational Gymnastics for Children by Tina J. Hall & Shirley A Holt/Hale.

Educational gymnastics is a child-centered approach to teaching in which the teacher meets each child at their skill level and then guides the individual to move beyond with expectations to meet full potential. In essence, the teacher leads the students to recognize their unique abilities and discover what they can do with those abilities. The child-centered approach uses indirect instruction. The teacher gives a task to the class and then encourages individual responses as students explore and discover their responses to the task (figure 3.1). With this independent process, students become highly engaged and responsible in the learning process as exploration, discovery, decision making, and creativity are encouraged. Initially, this approach may be challenging for both teachers and children. The physical education specialist, because of training and personal experiences, is often more comfortable using a direct style of teaching wherein they present a task and expect all students to respond in a specific manner. This would be more of a whole-class approach (figure 3.2). At the same time, the independent-learning approach may be a new experience for children that results in apprehension or uncertainty about teacher expectations and past experiences of seeking the right answer.

FIGURE 3.1 Child-centered approach.
FIGURE 3.1 Child-centered approach.

FIGURE 3.2 Whole-class approach.
FIGURE 3.2 Whole-class approach.

When children adapt to this type of learning, and they quickly do, it is fascinating to observe their concentration while discovering what their bodies can do. With child-centered educational gymnastics experiences, the results are self-responsibility, an increase in body control, a rich repertoire of balances and weight transfers, and the ability to refine actions to achieve full potential.

More Excerpts From Educational Gymnastics for Children