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The C.L.E.A.R. Model was designed to better facilitate kindergarten students’ learning while valuing their emotional state and making them enjoy the process of acquiring knowledge. Many say that educating young minds might be one of the most stressful and tiring jobs anyone could have, but there’s nothing compared to the rewards that come after being able to see that a student’s life has been changed and improved because of the learning you facilitated as an educator.
Presentation of subject lessons is usually integrated in kindergarten that is why clarity of lesson and effective topic presentation is somehow hard to achieve, adding the fact that you are teaching and dealing with students aged 5 where their attention span is quite short. It is important to incorporate different teaching methods and strategies where they will be provided with the right resources and avenues to nurture their potential without stealing too much time from their early years of play and fun, all these are at the core of the C.L.E.A.R. Model. This model focuses on three trends in pedagogy that will serve as a good anchor for children’s development; crossover learning, emotion analytics, and random or incidental learning.
Education for the young ones should be fun and engaging, this may be achieved through providing learning opportunities outside the confines of the classroom. In this way children will learn to value the knowledge gained from their personal experiences of the lessons discussed in school, this is where crossover learning happens. According to Hildebrand, outdoor activities have outstanding contributions to young children’s lives. Holistic development needs to be attained especially during these years, that’s why the goals of motor skill development are interrelated with goals for mental, social, and emotional development.
Morrison stated that it is necessary to promote positive social-emotional development in kindergarten students. According to him, this may be done by modeling positive emotional responses to students through story-telling and discussing the types of emotions such as anger, happiness, guilt, and pride. This is why the second trend for this model focuses on emotion analytics because it surely plays a big role in the formation of a child, it is important to process both positive and negative emotions they feel, for them to become more aware of themselves and eventually for them to begin to learn how to regulate these emotions which is vital as they grow up.
Panke (2015) defined random/incidental learning as unplanned and usually unintentional learning which distinguishes most of the fundamental milestones in early childhood development, this includes motoric development and social skills. And there are times when the unplanned learnings that children acquire is much more ingrained in them than those from structured learning.
This model highly focuses on emotions and social relationships including that of the teacher/parent/caregiver and student and how it plays an important role in the learning process of a child. The following theories have become the backbone of the CLEAR model:
Lev Vygotsky’s theory states that knowledge is co-constructed and that individuals learn from one another. In order for a student to attain knowledge, the presence and assistance of someone are needed. This is especially true with kindergarten students where there is huge role teachers and parents or caregivers must play as facilitators of the students’ learning. In addition learning and working in groups should also start to be strengthened during the early years as it is proof that children can help each other and assist one another to gain and co-construct knowledge. Collaborative learning environments are essential and the individual child should be highly involved in the learning process and in a way where he/she will value the learning that will be gained.
When children reach preschool age, they begin to initiate activities and assert control over their social interactions and play. Initiative vs. guilt must be resolved during this stage according to Erik Erikson. Children must be given the chance to explore within limits and learn through their own to develop confidence, adults role should be to support and facilitate the child’s learning.
Both theories, in a lot of ways, lead and contribute to the emotional development of the child. Thus, the emotional development of a child reflects social experiences, this is the reason why the CLEAR model gives an important weight on regulating and processing emotions of the children in preschool given that these are the first experiences they will be having and these experiences might create a big impact in their development.
As seen in the diagram, for children to be highly involved in the learning process and for them to enjoy and value its worth, the trends on the right need to be incorporated in the lessons presented in school. Emotion analytics is placed in the middle making it the core of this model, valuing and giving attention to the feelings of the students while learning, that is why the model emphasizes on the importance of emotion analytics during the beginning of the class and before dismissal. It is important to know what kind of students will you be dealing with for that day prior to the start of the class to also know and gauge what approach is appropriate to better facilitate their learning for that specific day. The same importance is placed on knowing their emotional state before going out of the classroom because as teachers you should have imparted not just knowledge but also a positive outlook and disposition to students, especially in their early years of education as this is the start where behavioral problems arise. This emotion analytics can somehow prevent these problems from occurring if the processing of emotions whether good or bad is being practiced by the teacher regularly. Although this model puts great value in incorporating emotion analytics before and after class it may be done all throughout the class session or as the need arises, as represented by the arrow pointing to it from the two other trends that will be discussed.
Crossover learning is also important so that the students will not get bored and may look forward to gaining experience outside the classroom. Actual experiences are great teachers, especially for children this age where exploration and play are of utmost value. This trend may be incorporated in the outdoor playtime or in the assignment or what is referred to as home-school learning integration in this model. This means that the objectives for a specific class day will be fully met by being able to think of activities that can be done in a different place apart from the classroom. But it is to note that activities should be well thought of, Petersen, emphasized that in preparing lessons teachers must have references on the sequence of child development to make sure that learning activities are age-appropriate and are focused on strategies that support children’s health and well-being. Parent involvement is needed to facilitate this learning hence the name home-school learning integration.
Parents must have a share in their children’s education and progress, and this helps them to become increasingly involved and effective in working with their own children and be knowledgeable about the operation of the school. Random or incidental learning may happen anytime during the class period as it is not planned. Hildebrand stated that five- and six-year old’s are highly curious about everything they see or hear. They like to question and experiment, and oftentimes want to take part in discovering and knowing how something works. Thus, teachers need to be prepared in responding to and processing any incidental knowledge gained by the K-students whether from their work periods or free play sessions.
Although this model aims to better facilitate the learning of the kindergarten pupils, challenges and limitations are also present; In emotion analytics, teachers might have a hard time processing every student he or she handles, but this may be achieved through an initial assessment on who needs urgent attention.
In crossover learning, other lessons might not have a direct link into activities that may be done outside the classroom, and not all parents may not be as supportive as the teachers wish them to be in facilitating the said learning at home. Moreover, finding time to do outdoor activities every day might not be practical and maybe a challenge on both teacher and student.
In addition, since kindergarten lesson plans are written differently than that of other lesson plans such as the grade schools, the success of this model will highly depend on the level of dedication of the teachers to incorporate the trends accordingly. As seen in the description of the model above, the application is predicted to be very flexible depending on what the situation in the classroom will call for especially in emotion analytics and random or incidental learning.
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