Дроф’як Н. І.
Львівський національний університет імені І. Франка, Україна
INDIVIDUAL ASPECT OF TEACHING IN HUMANISTIC EDUCATION
In the field of education and especially in society today humanistic education is the subject of considerable interest and controversy. Most educators who advocate humanistic education typically associate this approach with the following aspects:
1. Humanistic education teaches a wide variety of skills which are needed to function in today's world-basic skills such as reading, writing and computation, as well as skills in communicating, thinking, decision-making, problem-solving and knowing oneself.
2. Humanistic education is a humane approach to education- one that helps students believe in themselves and their potential, that encourages compassion and understanding, that fosters self-respect and respect for others.
3. Humanistic education deals with basic human concerns -with the issues throughout history and today that are of concern to human beings trying to improve the quality of life- to pursue knowledge, to grow, to love, to find meaning for one's existence [1, p. 27].
In humanistic education, the whole person, not just the intellect, is engaged in the growth and development that are the signs of real learning. The emotions, the social being, the mind, and the skills needed for a career direction are all focuses of humanistic education. Besides it seeks to help students to learn useful skills for living and to deepen their understanding of issues relevant to their academic and social development. Teachers do not need to be trained psychologists to conduct humanistic education activities. They do require sensitivity to students, classroom management skills, and the ability to conduct a class discussion. These skills are within the grasp of all good teachers:
But our understanding of learning and teaching is constantly reshaped by theory, applied research, and changing media. As our knowledge of the distributed processing in the brain grows, we know that students do not have one kind of intelligence or one way of learning – they have many. To accommodate these many ways of learning, we can use what we know about how each brain network operates to make our teaching methods and curriculum materials flexible in specific way.
Cultural, educational, and legal changes have significantly altered the mix of students in regular education classrooms. Today's typical classroom might include students whose first language is not English; students who are not reading on grade level; students with behavioral attentional , and motivational problems; students from varied cultural backgrounds; and students classified as gifted. In addition, there are students with particular needs, such as limited vision, motor disabilities, emotional difficulties, speech and language difficulties, and learning disabilities. At the same time, increasing emphasis on learning standards places greater responsibility on teachers and administrators to ensure that each of these students reaches the highest levels of achievement [5, p. 17] .
The challenge posed by greater diversity and greater accountability is to enable students with widely divergent needs, skills, and interests to attain the same high standards. To transform the pressures of diversity into opportunities for all learners, we apply insights about learners who don't « fit the mold » to help us create flexible curricula and tools that will work more effectively for everyone. In this way, the challenges we face as educators inspire us to reconsider the way curriculum is designed and the way schooling is conducted.
The alternative to traditional education and schooling is the idea of individually-oriented teaching (personalized instruction) which has been successfully implemented into the process of education by Fred Keller. Briefly, these features which seem to distinguish from conventional teaching procedures include:
1. The go-at-your-own-pace feature, which permits a student to move through the course at a speed commensurate with his ability and other demands upon his time.
2. The unit-perfection requirement for advance , which lets the student go ahead to new material only after demonstrating mastety of that which preceded .
3. The use of lectures and demonstrations as vehicles of motivation, rather than sources of critical information.
4. The related stress upon the written word in teacher-student communication.
5. The use of proctors, which permits repeated testing, immediate scoring, almost unavoidable tutoring, and a marked enhancement of the personal-social aspect of the educational process [3, p. 10] .
Assessment is a dynamic process for obtaining information about individual potential, with the aim of achieving useful data about the cognitive profile of the pupils. The difference between this kind of assessment and the test is that in the former, we include all kinds of information derived from the teaching-learning process within the classroom context. The project offers teachers a portfolio assessment, whose objective is to design the cognitive individual profile of students.
There are a large number of teaching and assessment strategies which go beyond traditional methods of instruction and consequently are based on the idea of Individual Teaching and Multiple Intelligence which presupposes the following cornerstones [4, p. 23] .
a) The identification of the strengths and weaknesses that the children
show while learning.
b) The development of the identified strengths, so that they can be used to
reduce weaknesses during the teaching-learning process (individual approach).
c) The teaching of children to transfer the experiences involving their
strengths to other curriculum contents where they could have weaknesses.
Different learners aiming for the same goal generate different plans and steps for getting there. Because individuals have their own optimal pathways for learning strategic skills, teaching approaches and tools need to be varied. Based on the knowledge of how strategic networks function, the following teaching methods to support strategic individual learning can be recommended:
1. Providing flexible models of skilled performance.
Learning to generate patterns ( how to do something) requires developing a mental model of the pattern in question. Developing internal models requires exposure to external models of expert performance and to counter examples that demonstrate incorrect execution. Teachers can present models of processes in a variety of contexts (as one-on-one instruction, in small groups or as a whole class, live or at a distance, online or in person), using a variety of media (video, speech, text, diagram, animation). Exposure to multiple models showing different, effective ways to do something to help learners distil the critical features of a process, different ways it can be accomplished, and where the opportunities exist to inject their own creative means.
2. Providing opportunities to practice with supports .
To achieve complex strategic goals a learner must automatize , or over-learn the individual steps in the process until each is automatic. This requires extensive practice. Because complex strategic patterns are impossible to learn all at once, teachers usually direct students to practice individual subcomponents of the process. But we also know that practicing skills in context is more effective than practicing skills in isolation. To support contextual practice, teachers can scaffold some parts of the process so that learners can focus on strengthening their abilities in other parts. Scaffolds reduce the degrees of freedom in order to focus the learning in specific areas.
3. Providing multiple media and formats.
Delivering ongoing, relevant feedback is critical when teaching skills. Learners need to know if they are practicing effectively, and if not, which aspects of the practice process they need to change. Feedback can come in many forms. The student can watch a video of herself , listen to her instructor’s observations or read a write-up of her game in the newspaper. And it is important to point out that feedback is most effective when it is provided in an ongoing fashion – supporting course corrections and building learners' confidence about things that are going well. But even students fortunate enough to have one-to-one instruction don't have their teachers around during every practice session. Thus, helping learners develop self-monitoring skills may be the very best way to ensure ongoing feedback for all practice.
Another essential part of teaching a strategic skill is providing learners with chances to demonstrate that skill. Demonstration challenges learners to consolidate and apply all parts of the process. It also elicits feedback from a broader audience. The budding pianist performs in recitals; the student gives an oral presentation, displays a poster or shares a written paper. In this way, demonstrating skills and knowledge can factor powerfully into motivation, helping learners experience the « why » of learning. Digital media offer widely varied supports and opportunities to help students demonstrate knowledge and skills [2, p. 19] .
No one claims that implementing humanistic education methods and approaches will instantly, or even eventually solve all of society's problems. There are many problems in our communities, country and world which require complex and long-term solutions. At best, humanistic education can better equip young people with the skills and attitudes to play a more effective role in seeking these solutions. If democracy is to work for a democratic society, its citizens must be educated. They must know how to gather information, distinguish fact from opinion, analyze propaganda, understand many different viewpoints, understand justice, think for themselves, communicate their opinions clearly, and work with others for the common good. These are among the most important skills that humanistic education seeks to teach our youth.
The list of references :
1. Benson P. Autonomy and Independence in Language Learning / P. Benson, P. Voller . – London: Longman , 1997 .
2. Felder R. Student-Centered Instruction: Good Medicine, But No Panacea / R. Felder , R. Brent // Journal of Developmental Education . – 1996 . – 20 . – P. 38 – 40.
3. Keller F. S. The PSI Handbook: Essays on Personalized Instruction / F. S. Keller, J. G. Sherman. – Lawrence, Kansas: TRI Publications , 1982.
4. McCombs B. The Learner-Centered Classroom and School: Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation and Achievement / B. McCombs, J. S. Whistler . – San Francisco: Josey -Bass Publishers , 1997 .
5. Silberman M. Active Learning / M. Silberman . – Boston: Allyn & Bacon , 1996.