Guidance methods vary depending upon the pedagogy of the class, the schema of the teacher in charge, and the discipline style used by the school and the teacher. The school system has changed dramatically over the course of a lifetime and the model, where the teacher has freedom to express their viewpoints and teach to the students instead of the test, is obsolete in public schools. The current system of evaluating teachers based on their students’ performance does not take into consideration the life of the student outside of the classroom; students come to class hungry, homeless, or exist in a state of despair that is detrimental to learning. The system constrains teachers to solutions, which are short term, in lieu of teaching children social, emotional, and behavioral guidance methods that will ensure autonomy, respect, and self-regulation.
Disciplinary traditions give rise to theories of learning and development that stem from social and cognitive growth. School readiness is associated with theories that include biological maturation, constructivism, psychosocial, cultural, and environmental influences (Guhn & Goelman, 2011). Erik Erikson, Urie Bronfenbrenner, Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, and Abraham Maslow are theorists who advocate environment and genetics as key figures in a child’s growth and development. The Montessori and Reggio Emilia approaches value dynamic curriculum that includes arts integrated into the daily program (Lillard, 2005). I suggest when children are actively involved in their education, they are more autonomous, empathetic, and self-disciplined. This is the belief of the constructivist’s view of education using an authoritative approach to guidance.
A child’s basic needs are the underpinnings of development. Abraham Maslow’s theory of self-actualization is the basis for understanding why and how children glean information. The child necessitates their basic needs are met before they can develop and grow. The theorists all stress the importance of cognitive growth and environmental factors. I suggest the two intertwine and play a role in every child’s development.
Social Constructivists create activities that engage children in tasks that are meaningful and dynamic. Children learn from adaptation; it is the teacher’s role to create a stimulating environment that is conducive to learning. The current curriculum, mandated by federal and state governments, creates an environment that is neither holistic nor stimulating. Children require time to explore and play, when deprivation of these basic tenets occur, they may develop behavioral problems, which counter learning efforts. The community in which a child lives affects their outward behaviors to their peers and school cohorts. A child that lives in a violent community or abusive home may exhibit aggressive behaviors.
The confluence of testing, merit-based evaluations, and lack of non-academic resources create an environment in which children are set up to fail. The teacher must maintain a rigorous school day set on a timeline passed down by the district. The teacher must also control children, who come from various environments-which influence their ability and readiness to learn-using guidance methods that may provide short-term remedies but lack long-term solutions.
The guidance approach that will help children develop autonomy, positive self-esteem, good social skills, self-discipline, and general competence is the Constructivist model (Fields, Perry, & Fields, 2010). This model aligns with my belief that children learn best by being actively involved, experience mutual respect, and receive choices to think critically about their decisions. A child’s schema will affect how they handle any situation and their environment will shape their external behavior. Children will assimilate the information and eventually reach equilibrium while learning empathy and self-control. In today’s overloaded curriculum, the teacher has very little time to teach social skills; regrettably, the origin of the problem is left unresolved (Smagorsky, Hansen, & Fink, 2013). Guidance is essential to provide children a safe and secure environment. Maslow contends that children will learn best when their basic needs are satisfied; the most basic needs are safety and security.
When we can teach children how to handle themselves and teach them how to interact, we can let them learn.