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The Many Modes of Experience and Learning: The Grandmasters of ECE

by David Elkind
January/February 2012
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-many-modes-of-experience-and-learning---the-grandmasters-of-ece/5020308/

As defined by psychologists, learning is the modification of behavior as the result of experience. The problem with this definition is that it leaves the term 'experience' undefined. The major contributors to early childhood education theory and practice each had his or her own conception of the process of acquiring knowledge. The philosophers were most concerned with the "What" of experience, while the practitioners were primarily concerned with the "How" of experience — with the process of learning itself. Finally, the theorists and researchers were preoccupied with the "Why" of experience and learning.

Brought together, these ideas afford a comprehensive picture of the many different modes of learning young children employ in learning about themselves and their world.

• The Philosophers and the "What" of Experience

John Amos Comenius:
— The unacknowledged father of modern education.
— Clearly articulated in the 17th century many of the modes of learning introduced by later workers.
— Insisted that subjects should be taught from what is easy to what is more difficult and that children master their own language before learning a foreign one.

John Locke:
— Indirectly laid the philosophical foundation for early childhood education.
— Believed the senses were the only answer to the question of "what" and experiences ...

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