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What Children Can Do? | Essay

This essay explores a critical evaluation of cross-curricular approaches to teaching and learning. I will attempt to uncover the impact of the approach to a child’s learning including children’s motivation to learn. The aim for the essay, is to provide a balance argument into whether an integrated curriculum or discrete subject taps into a child’s knowledge by providing the knowledge, challenging children’s view and they have understood what has been taught, is the product of successful teaching and learning in education. The debate of discrete subjects versus cross-curriculum has been widely debated over the years. The Plowden Report (1967) was the introduction on this long debate on education approaches. The report stresses the emphasis on child centered teaching and learning, children’s own interests to influence learning and to understand the world around them as well as their role in the environment.
Philosophical perspectives of education suggest that a combination of concepts could contribute to understanding of the world. In the 17th century philosopher Jan Comenius believes that teachers should use a variety of methods to ensure children understand facts as well the external world. Comenius work and beliefs has influenced the curriculum to date suggesting the importance of children understanding their external environment. The philosopher stressed that the use of outdoor activities is essential to teaching and learning. He was the original pioneer of the concept that children should experience enjoyment while they are learning. The second legendary philosopher, Jean- Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778 cited in Barnes, 2010) research on education was inspired by nature. He suggests that through experience learning took place. This work is used in modern education today as work should be stimulating and children should be able to relate it to their everyday lives. This suggests that first hand experience as well as stimulating as well as creative work underlines learning. Comenius and Rousseau work on education was inspiring to the national curriculum as it promotes children having real life experiences of topics such as sounds, healthy eating so children can have a real connection with external concepts that can be connected to their lives outside school. Tyler’s (1949) approach to the theory of the development of the curriculum was introduced in the 1940s. His approach is known as the product approach argues the importance of outcomes. According to Tyler (1949) outcomes should be measured but broken down into smaller segments. His approach stresses four principles that must be included in education these are expressing goals, creating and establishing experiences that has an effect on their learning and assessing student’s work. This work was influential for many years and later the work of Lawrence Stenhouse was developed. Stenhouse (1974, cited by Psifidou 2009 p.2) process approach focussed on ‘selecting content, developing teaching stategies, sequencing learning experiences and assessing student’s strengths and weaknesses’. Both of the theories are significant to the the theory of curriculum development as this shows the influence of goals, outcomes and assessing student’s work.
The Education reform Act (1988 cited by White) was introduced in the UK leading to the development of the National Curriculum as well national tests such as SATs for 7 and 11 years olds introduced in 1993. It consisted subject being taught independently. The National Curriculum consists of foundation subjects such as history, geography, music, art, physical education and modern foreign languages as well as the three-core subjects mathematics, English and science. However, the Ofsted Report (1993) on the Curriculum Organisation and Classroom Practice in Primary Schools states that many primary schools were using topic work as well as separate teaching subjects. However, half of the school researched showed inaccurate record keeping for topic work. This suggests that a child’s progress is not fully recorded therefore sufficient progress cannot be made. A second limitation of ineffective record keeping is that a child’s needs are not being met; as the school does not know the subjects they are failing in.
The National Curriculum (1988) did not have any underlying philosophical concepts, as it states that subjects are taught separately. Initially there were no aims until after the introduction of the National Curriculum. The aims were to
To promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of the society
To prepare such pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities, and experiences of adult life.
Shoemaker (1989) defines cross curriculum as ‘education that is organized in such a way that it cuts across subject-matter lines, bringing together various aspects of the curriculum into meaningful association… it views learning and teaching in a holistic way and reflects the real world which is interactive’.
Collins, Brown and Newman (1989) argue that the cross curriculum is essential for increasing a children knowledge that can be applied in school as well as outside school. It has been argued that the most successful school uses cross curriculum as a way to integrate subjects so children’s knowledge can be developed further, as well as providing innovation for teacher and enjoyment for children. According to Alexander, Rose

Impact gender on child development in physical education

Introduction Gender issues have always been central to physical education (Penney 2002). These issues highly influence the perception and development of male and female children during their school years. Schools, as institutions, are not impervious to external factors leading to gender inequalities (Lentillon et al., 2006). Physical Education (PE) is still a male dominated subject and teachers are known to support boys more (Lentillon et al., 2006).
UN resolution 58/5, which was adopted in 2003, had called “on governments to use sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace” (Sever 2005). International charter of physical education and sport, adopted by the General Conference in 1978 clearly states, “that by the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other consideration”. But, unfortunately this is not always taken into consideration. Gender issues, along with issues related to race and religion, in physical education are a part of the general academic system in most schools around the world (Penney 2002).
Physical education, both as a profession and as a school subject, has evolved in the UK in conspicuous gendered ways (Penney 2002). This has inadvertently or inevitable affected the development of the children in different phases of their lives. There is a dire necessity to form new agendas in Physical education on order to sustain the level of quality in education and facilitate proper development of children in an indiscriminate environment. The need of the hour is agendas “that engage with social and cultural diversity, are capable of providing for the needs of individual girls and boys, and that celebrate individuality” (Penney 2002; pp 4).
Education and Child Development Parents have the most important role to play in a child’s development, but at the same time the right education is necessary to ascertain short-term and long-term impacts on the development of children in the right direction. While adult-child interaction is the fundamental premise the affects the child development, the same is affected by the amount of exposure to these settings (Philips and Lowenstein, 2002). The socio-emotional development of these children is the most affected and varies from one child to another.
Quality education is a not only a necessity for all the children but also their right. It is inevitable for proper child development. Quality education and child care pay significant dividends and returns to the children (Calman and Whelan, 2005).According to UNICEF (2000),
“Quality education includes:
Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities;
Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities;
Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace;
Processes through which trained teachers use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skilful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities;
Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.”
Quality education for child development focuses on two very significant aspects of school life: Proper psychological development and proper physical development (UNICEF 2000). Proper educational setting is necessary for proper cognitive effects and psychological development. It is necessary to maintain a healthy environment for learning and teaching devoid of any discrimination on any basis.
The role of play or physical education has been emphasised over and over again (UNICEF 2000; Ginsburg 2006; Krotee and Womukhoya, 1986). Physical education helps in cognitive and physical development of children coupled with the development of their social and emotional well-being, while providing an ideal platform for better interaction between children and adults (Ginsburg 2006).
Physical Education as a model for development Krotee and Wamukhoya (1986)
A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource.argue that early exposure of a child to activities that involve movement promotes a positive self concept. It gives training to body and mind, whilst providing enjoyment to the children as they mature (Krotee and Wamukhoya, 1986). The UN called to the governments in 2003 to use sport as a means to promote education health, development and peace. 2005 was celebrated as the International Year and Sport and Physical Education. Physical education as a development tool can be used towards human development, health and social well being. Moreover, it can be used to promote economic development, social inclusion, political development, enhancing employment and respect for the rules of the democracy (Sever 2005).
From small institutional events to international sporting events, sports and physical education can be used to pursue a number of development goals, such as, public health and well-being, enhancing leisure in education, social development, human development, stability and tolerance, economic development, peace, community building, etc. (Sever 2005).
Physical activities are a necessity for the proper cognitive and physical development of children. But, it has been seen that despite the evident benefits, children are being deprived of the time from physical activities and education (Ginsburg 2006). Change in life style and the hurried way of living coupled with the ever increasing academic pressure on the children has taken away the time for physical activities and physical education (Ginsburg 2006).
The children in the later years of their childhood face a range of developmental issues (Borgen and Amundson, 2000). This phase of life is extremely important because the children have to make the necessary transition to adulthood and the ways in which young people make some of their transition experiences greatly influence their psychological well being (Borgen and Amundson, 2000). Therefore, it is important to make sure that children get all the necessary forms of education to help them develop properly. It is also important that the children have the necessary environment to get that education without any discrimination.
Physical education has been surrounded by gender issues in the secondary years of education and the schools have been unable to resist this social discrimination (Lentillon et al., 2006; Penney 2002). Physical education has by far been regarded as a male dominion and girls have been seen to suffer on account of equal participation and safe environment for learning (TKI 2010).
The Impact of Gender on Child Development in the Secondary Years Gender is central where issues in physical education are concerned (Penney 2002, TKI 2010). This reflects the interest of more and more researchers (Colwell 1999; Flintoff 1997) studying the context of gender in Physical education. Researchers in physical education and the teachers have been slow to respond to the debate that has highlighted sexism and gender bias in physical education. They have also been unable to “confront inequitable gender relation in schools and the subject” (Penney 2002). Even with the physical educationists proclaiming best intentions to adapt to new curriculum change, no major structural change has been achieved (Penney 2002). Penney (2002) has stated,
“The paucity of ‘gender related’ innovation evident in physical education over the last twenty years may have had as much, if not more, to do with the absence of a positive encouragement and steer on gender matters from central governments in the UK as any shortfall in the attitudes and interests of physical educationalists in schools and training institutions.”
This can be understood as the reason that today the level of physical education is that should have been decades back in terms of equality. The schools continue to follow the deep rooted stereotypical ideological values coupled with organisational concerns to propagate single sex grouping and sex differentiated curricula (Penney 2002). These experiences can easily reinforce the stereotypical images about how the children should feel about their bodies, the difference in physical abilities and the legitimacy in indulging in different physical activities, and other attitudinal and behavioural ideologies.
The physical educationalists have been known to claim that the subject invites all the children irrespective of their background and an atmosphere that does not make them feel uncomfortable or marginalised (Penney 2002). Schools have been incapable of it and confronting the external social forces like gender bias as these institutions are not strong enough to resist these forces. Schools function on the basis of merit and allocation of rewards (Lentillon et al., 2006). The rewards can broadly be considered as grade distribution and teacher support, where the teachers the aptitude of the students and grant them grades and provide support and praise (Lentillon et al., 2006). The students are offered personal support and encouragement by the teachers for them to develop rightly. Social support at the schools is very important for the pupils to excel in academics and prevent behavioural issues related to school (Dubow et al., 1991; Grannis, 1992; Cutrona et al., 1994; Samdal