Childhood Education and Learning Theory

One of the primary purposes that teachers should pursue is to provide the best possible education to one’s students. To achieve that, school professionals must stay open-minded to various teaching methods and choose between various options adequately. In this regard ‘widening the lens’ metaphor refers to the necessity to nourish both/and thinking instead of either/or thinking (Bredekamp, 2020). The former approach ensures that teachers are receptive to new ideas, which guarantees life-long professional development. Moreover, both/and thinking also benefit students as an educator helps children to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills by being perceptive to various views. On the contrary, either/or thinking implies only one correct way of teaching. Such a view dooms the person who holds it to be stuck with one paradigm for a long time. Additionally, such thinking is eventually learned by students who would also start believing that there is only one correct answer in every situation.

In my case, when I was an elementary school student, the predominant approach to teaching was based on the constructivism theory. It means that educators tried to encourage my classmates and me to tell our own thoughts on the subject using examples from personal life. For instance, the teachers often used positive reinforcement to help students to express their thoughts. I remember that once the teacher asked the class in what ways Alice changed at the end of the Alice in Wonderland book, and since nobody was willing to answer, she asked me. I felt very shy to answer as I was unsure whether it was correct. However, while I was speaking, the teacher would say something close to ‘that is a very interesting point’ or ‘I did not think about that. Moreover, she said I did a very good job when I finished. Therefore, I remember becoming more confident in expressing my thoughts in public after that.

Additionally, I was often involved in activities that would encourage collaborative efforts. For example, once, we were asked to form a group of three people and develop our own board game, which necessitated active communication and collaboration. Yet, teachers also used other approaches such as teacher-centered learning when it was necessary to understand some topic, project-based learning to increase cooperation, or choosing activities independently to increase engagement with learning. Finally, it is essential to mention that all approaches can be effective if used accordingly for teaching purposes.


Bredekamp, S. (2020). Effective practices in early childhood education: Building a foundation (4th ed.). Pearson.

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