Principles of Early Learning

Best Practice In Autism Intervention  |  Our Curriculum  |  Developmental Language Models  |  How DIR® Supports the Learning Environment  |  Student Supports

Principles of Early Learning

We have to fortify the heart if we are going to educate the mind. — Sima Gerber, Ph.D, CCC-SLP

As students learn to become learners, there are many guiding principles that support this process in development. Taking from best practices in early learning, Soaring Eagle Academy uses a developmental approach to support the student in “learning how to learn.” Some principles that Soaring Eagle Academy uses when teaching students are as follows: (Adapted from the work of Lilian Katz).

        1. A developmental approach to curriculum acknowledges that what students should do and should learn is determined on the basis of what is best for their development in the long term (that is, the dynamic consequences of experience).
        2. When students are introduced to formal instruction before they are developmentally ready or before they understand the concepts being taught, they may learn the knowledge and skills offered, but they may learn them without the ability to use them.
        3. Unless students have some experience of what it feels like to understand some topics in depth, their ability to seek in-depth understandings cannot be developed and deepened.
        4. For students who are at emerging developmental levels or emerging language capacities, investigation and observation are most important and natural ways of learning.
        5. The goal of all education and learning is to engage the mind of the learner in its fullest sense.
        6. Student’s abilities to be interested, engaged, absorbed and involved in intellectual effort are strengthened when they have many opportunities to learn about concepts over extended periods of time.
        7. When student’s interests draw them to real events, particularly those in which engaged adult partners are involved, and the adults respond to this interest by providing support and information, by focusing their attention on important aspects of the phenomenon of interest, and by inviting their participation in the activity, the students are in an optimal environment.
        8. Desirable affect states are not likely to be learned from instruction; rather, they are learned from being around significant others and adept communicative partners who exhibit, exemplify and model these affect states.
        9. Feelings are not likely to be learned through instruction; both positive and negative feelings are learned in the context of and as consequences of experience with a competent communicative partner who is able to honor those feelings, give words to match the feelings and model capacities to understand and respond to those feelings.
        10. When students are new to the process of learning and are developing their language capacities, it is critical that they learn through interactive rather than reactive and receptive experiences, through direct and first-hand experiences rather than indirect and second-hand experiences, and through active rather than passive experiences.
        11. When students are new to the process of learning and are developing their language capacities, it is critical that they have ample opportunity to interact with real objects and real environments.
        12. When students are new to the process of learning and are developing their language capacities, it is critical that they have opportunities to apply in meaningful contexts the knowledge and skills learned in the more formal parts of the curriculum.
        13. When students are new to the process of learning and are developing their language capacities the larger and more important is the role of adults in helping them to develop social competence.

 

Comments are closed