The Importance Of Communication And Interaction Education Essay

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These ideas imply Rousseau's interest in shifting the focus of classroom instructional approaches to be on more learning and less teaching in order to offer active and participatory roles for learners in constructing their knowledge.The influence of the ideas of Rousseau led other scholars to criticise the traditional approaches of teaching and learning and to call for adopting more humanistic approaches (Rogers,1951,1969) and for incorporating more democratic ideas into education (Dewey,1916).

3.1 Humanistic Education

Rogers (1902-1987), an influential figure in humanistic psychology, emphasised the worth of the individual and criticised treating him/her as "an object to be manipulated" (Rogers, 1951: 21). Although Rogers' ideas on the "client-centred therapy" (1951) primarily addressed the advancement of psychotherapy, he pointed out the possibility of applying them to education especially by those teachers who have a strong philosophy of child-centred (Rogers, 1951: 3-21).This belief inspired him later to write the first edition of 'Freedom to Learn' (1969) and the second edition 'Freedom to Learn for the

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80's' (1983) in which he outlined the characteristics of his 'person-centred' model of

teaching and learning and reported some teachers' successful experiences with this model (see Rogers,1969;1983). Brandes and Ginnis (1986, 1990), two followers of Rogers, explained how his ideas could be developed into teaching strategies and practices in their books 'A Guide to Student-Centred Learning' (1986), and 'The Student-Centred School' (1990). In 1994, Freiberg, revised the first and the second edition of 'Freedom to Learn' and developed the third edition of ' Freedom to learn' in which he included his own working experience in schools and the findings of research related to the implementation of Rogers' 'person-centred' model in schools (see Rogers

& Freiberg,1994). Hence, Rogers' humanistic ideas have become very popular and influential in the field of education.

Williams and Burden (1997) described humanistic approaches as those which "emphasise the importance of the inner world of the learner and place the individual's thoughts, feelings and emotions at the forefront of all human development" (p: 30). A humanistic approach emphasises that the aim of education should be creating self- directed learners and establishing humanistic relationships based on mutual respect and understanding between teachers and students. Another fundamental principle of this approach is concerned with providing students with caring, trust and support in schools. Therefore, it is important for humanistic teachers to promote positive feelings about students' learning and respecting the value of every student and his /her ability for directing his/her own learning (Brumfit, 1982; Tudor, 1996; Nunan, 1999; Jacobs et al,

2006; Rico, 2008).

School has a significant role in creating a humanistic atmosphere for promoting students' learning. A humanistic school should be a place where ideas, facts and feelings can be openly expressed and where students' curiosity and creativity can be

cultivated. Schmuck and Schmuck (1974) believed that in these schools both emotions and the intellect element should be given equal attention and suggested balancing between students' personal interests and general learning goals. Brandes and Ginnis (1986) emphasised that these schools should be characterised by "all-pervading air of positive cooperation and trust" (p: 181). Rico (2008) suggested that creating this atmosphere in schools would require teachers' adoption of a methodology which involves teachers' understanding and consideration of students' affective factors (p:56).

3.1.1 Teacher-Centred versus 'Person-centred' Approaches to Teaching and

Learning

Rogers (1983) described traditional teaching (teacher-centred) and his model of

'person-centred' as 'sharply' different (Rogers, 1983: 185) and outlined the differences in their characteristics and politics as follows:

(A)- The characteristics of the Traditional 'Conventional' Approach

According to Rogers (1983) a Traditional 'Conventional' Approach to teaching and learning is often characterised by:

The teacher is the processor of knowledge, the student the expected recipient; The lecture, the textbook, or some other means of verbal intellectual instruction are the major methods of getting knowledge into the recipient. The examination measures the extent to which, the student has received it. These are the central elements of this kind of education;

The teacher is the processor of power, the student the one who obeys; Rule by authority is the accepted policy in the classroom;

Trust is at a minimum;

The subjects (students) are best governed by being kept in an intermittent or constant state of fear;

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Democracy and its values are ignored and scorned in practice;

And there is no place for the whole person, in the educational system, only for her intellect (Rogers, 1983:185-187).

Rogers (1983) portrayed a gloomy picture of traditional classrooms. He described the politics of conventional education which produces such classrooms as the politics of "jug and mug" theory of education because it emphasises the concept of "power over". He pointed out two strategies by which this power could be practiced over students: (1) "the rewards and grades and vocational opportunities; and (2) the use of such aversive, punitive, and fear creating methods as failure in exams, failure to graduate, and public scorn" (pp: 187-188).

In fact, these two strategies can offer the opportunity for teachers to manipulate students. Accountability for examinations and grades often leads students to regulate their actions and behaviour to please their teachers. Students' fear of failure makes examinations represent a serious source of tension which may lead them to do whatever is possible in order to pass these examinations even "cheating" (Rogers, 1983:301). This may convert schools into places for experiencing negative feelings rather than desirable places where students like to go. As "feelings-positive, negative, confused- become a part of the classroom experience" (Rogers, 1969:115), students may associate schools with negative experiences and attitudes. Research on assessment has provided empirical evidence about the negative impact of examinations not only on students' learning but also on teachers' teaching (see 3.2.7.1).

The assumptions of the teacher-centred approach (henceforth, TCA) about learners were explained by Knowles (1975) as follows:

The learner is essentially a dependent personality and that the teacher has the responsibility of deciding what and how the learner should be taught;

The learner's experience is of less value than that of the teacher;

Students become ready to learn different things at different levels of maturation , and that a given set of learners will therefore be ready to learn the same things at a given level of maturation;

Students enter into education with a subject-centred orientation to learning (they see learning as accumulating subject matter) and therefore learning experiences should be organised according to units of content;

Students are motivated to learn in response to external rewards and punishments, such as grades, diplomas, awards, degrees and fear of failure (Knowles, 1975: 20-21).