A New Approach By John Walker

The unit employed innovative approaches to deaf education.

The Reginald Phillips Research Unit wanted to challenge the methods of education used in schools for deaf children. Watts had his own research interests, which were emphasised on two theories in particular:

Piaget Stages of Cognitive Development

Photo:Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget

Archives of the History of America

The Piaget Stages of Cognitive Development challenges the notion that all children should be educated in the same manner. Piaget recognised that a child passes through different stages of cognitive development and their approach to learning changes with it. If the child's abilities to learn changes, then the tools to educate the children should change over the years too. A child in entry years would need to use their imagination through stories and play, where as a young person in the later school years would require more humanistic approach to education (where the young person is responsible for their own learning). There were questions whether deaf education did indeed change or alter their approaches to meet the needs of the child, opposed to serving an educational regime or a philosophy (such as oralism).

The Montessori Method

Photo:A Montessori Classroom

A Montessori Classroom

K Step Montessori Childcare

The Montessori Method wanted to identify the root to learning new concepts. Commonly, education used words that represent complex ideas but there was little support for the teacher on how to teach pupils how to grasp them. This method used 'learning through play', where the action of seeing, using, playing and re-calling can introduce ideas before the language is found. Items, that help to facilitate educational games, were brought into the classroom, such as a sandbox and a water trough. Children playing with sand and water were introduced to the idea that the properties of sand is similar to that of water, because they both flow out of a jug or push a water wheel in the same way. The child can still play with these 'toys' and be introduced to scientific concepts.

This page was added on 21/09/2012.

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