Are there alternative pedagogies?

Most of us as adults come from an upbringing with a certain traditional air. We are used to classes in which the content taught focuses more on the needs of the adult , than on the real needs of children. If we imagine a class in a traditional school, we will probably have the mental image of a room full of desks arranged in rows, all in front of a blackboard, and a teacher standing or sitting at a desk that limits her closeness to her students. . Often times, the walls of these rooms are filled with content that children “should” learn, but in a way that is not really attractive to them, or has no relevance . Children learn by memorizing, they are evaluated with tests or exams to determine their knowledge about certain contents, and their opinions , most likely, are not taken into account.

From the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, various researchers and pedagogists began to create and promote alternative educational pedagogies , focused on the capacities of the child, their interests, their development rhythms, and above all, their childhood essence. Methods such as Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, or logosophical pedagogy, among others, began to be used for several decades, and currently have taken a greater boom. In Latin America, countries such as Chile, Argentina, Colombia or Mexico, have been those that have been most interested in these pedagogies and have put them into practice, convinced that they are educating happier, more respectful, interested, proactive, energetic, awake and vivacious.


Within the aforementioned pedagogies, one of the best known or the most outstanding is the Montessori method. This is a method that was born in Italy by the child psychiatrist and researcher María Montessori , who dedicated herself to working with children at social risk. She realized that by applying her method, it was much easier to reintegrate these children into society in a positive way. Its pedagogy, more than a method, is a philosophy that is based on respect for the individuality of the child, working in various areas that normally in a traditional school would not work.

For example, one of the most important areas of this method is the sensory area, since its creator proposes that the learning that is acquired through different senses or sensory experiences, is much more significant and lasting in time and remains with the child as it grows. Therefore, the material used in the Montessori Method is important and characteristic of its methodology; a very specific easy-to-handle material that is colorful, of different textures and sizes to stimulate the senses. In addition, another of the important areas in this methodology is the practical life area, in which children learn things from day to day such as washing dishes, tying shoes, watering plants, etc .; which serves to stimulate processes of acquisition of gross motor skills, fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, etc.


Another of the pedagogies is the Waldorf , which was created in Germany in times when education was only given to privileged people. This pedagogy, like Montessori, is based on respect for the child’s individuality, but includes areas that are a bit more artistic since it seeks not only to educate the child’s academic area, but also his emotional area, at the same time that it seeks to do them. more sensitive to day-to-day processes through artistic expressions such as singing, music, plastic or performing arts, etc.

In Waldorf education, in addition, the contents are divided by seven, that is, periods of 7 years. It usually has a single teacher who teaches all the classes, but from the end of the second seven years, there are different teachers for different subjects, which contributes to their social development. Small classrooms are used so that teachers can focus on each student and highlight their individual potential. No evaluations or systems of marks or grades are used, since the child is evaluated through observation and his individual process in each of the areas.


Finally, another pedagogy that has been in use for a long time, but still receives much criticism today for its possible adverse effects on the social development of children, is the Homeschooling or Home Education method . This type of pedagogy is used above all in North American society, but nowadays more and more Latin American households are also deciding for it.

In short, there are almost as many alternative teaching methods as there are different personalities. But the most important thing about them is the possibility of knowing and valuing them, and knowing that there is something beyond traditional pedagogy to be able to apply it in the event that something is not working in the child’s school environment.

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