The Role Of Play, Learning And Development

878 Words 4 Pages
Teachers play a variety of important roles, from co-constructor and facilitator to advocate and collaborator, in order to promote play, learning and development (McNaughton & Williams, 2009). This essay will investigate the responsibilities and characteristics of an effective educator, drawing from relevant theory, to illustrate methods of supporting learning for children from birth to age 8.
Teachers have the role of co-constructing with students through collaborative social interactions. This reflects Vygotsky’s ideas of learning through exchanging knowledge, with the shared contribution of ideas and understanding encouraging children to develop complex thinking, reasoning and problem-solving skills (Duchesne, Bochner, McMaugh & Krause,
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Influenced by the work of Vygotsky, the concept of scaffolding was introduced by Wood, Bruner and Ross, highlighting the role of educators to provide “support and guidance in learning” (Verenikina, 2008, p.162). Scaffolding learning experiences is shown to be most successful when attuned to the child’s interests, and at a challenging, developmentally appropriate level (Woods, 2015). According to Rogoff (1990), teachers can extend children’s comprehension and knowledge through shared experiences and dialogue, such as asking purposeful questions and providing feedback. Teachers can support and extend a child’s abilities according to Vygotsky’s ‘zone of proximal development’ (Duchesne et. al., 2015). This demonstrates what a child can accomplish alone to what they can achieve with the assistance of an adult or advanced peer (Bruce, 2011). Through partnering with the student, teachers can support children to accomplish more complex and difficult tasks, which “promote maximum cognitive growth” (Ormrod, 2011, p.41). For instance, educators can provide assistance through prompts, hints and dialogue. Both spontaneous exchanges and formal instruction can help shape a child’s understanding of the world (Ormrod, 2011). However, it is important that teachers recognise students as “active” and “self-regulated leaners”; positioning children to dynamically participate as problem-solvers, and …show more content…
This requires educators to be “consistently emotionally open and available”, in order to provide children with a ‘secure base’ of a trusted primary caregiver (Colmer et. al., 2011, p.16). Secure and strong educator-child relationships help children to establish “empathetic, independent, and achievement-oriented” attitudes, and have higher levels of involvement in play (Degotardi & Pearson, 2009, p.146). Dowling (2014) highlights the importance of a receptive and supportive educator: “When a child is loved and cherished he is relaxed and in the right state of mind to learn” (p.97). The sociocultural theory introduced by Vygotsky similarly emphasises the importance of secure relationships and a safe and encouraging learning environment: “children not only develop, but are developed (by others)” (Eun, 2010, p.402; Ormrod, 2011). Strong educator-child relationships are shown to positively impact upon a child’s sense of security, self-esteem, emotional well-being, and resilience (Alegre, 2011; Chen, Lin, & Li, 2012; Davies et. al., 2013; EYLF, 2009). A responsive educator can also foster the child’s confidence in learning, and can be a long-term motivator of academic achievement (EYLF, 2009; Lomas et. al., 2011). With infants and toddlers, educators should be receptive, supportive, and attuned to children’s needs. For example, through providing a ‘secure base’ of a trusting relationship and

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