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Critical Questions in Education, v1 n1 p26-39 Win 2010

Educators are continuously looking at innovative ways to teaching and working with students of all ages. The tools used range from the simplest technologies, such as chalk and pencils, to the high-tech tools involving computers and information systems. The best tools and strategies often invoke the use of the old and new or the old in a new way. In 2002 an interest in labyrinths (the old) led most naturally to an Internet search (the new) and resulted in the obvious question of how these mysterious, yet marvelous, patterns could be applied to the instructional arena. An extensive search of the traditional literature databases and the Internet at that time revealed only passing comments and anecdotal records and there were few of those. The existing literature did reveal that these mystifying geometric forms have a long history. Curiosity was piqued and enthusiasm ignited as questions centering on how these may relate to children in an educational setting came to the surface. Courses such as "Classroom Management" that, of course, include student behavior, became a consideration. What if a simple geometric tool, such as the labyrinth, could positively affect student behavior and the overall climate in the classroom? Schools create a community in which effective teaching and learning occur. Teachers should care about students' personal, emotional, and spiritual well being besides delivering knowledge. It is important that students are exposed to learning in a climate that nurtures their development in all ways. Could labyrinths help students look inside their minds and explore their potential? The students themselves have some of the answers. As one said, "It gave me a chance to reflect on the things I've done, said and felt." (LECT, 2003) This article will look at the historical background of the labyrinth as well as definitions. Then a modern view will be given with details on the various ways it is being used today including an overview of a school study. Finally, some questions for the future will be raised.

Descriptors: Intellectual History, Background, Design, Creative Activities, Patternmaking, Geometric Concepts, Educational Practices, Elementary School Students, Relaxation Training, Therapeutic Environment

Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail: cqieeditors[at]; Web site:

Autor: Michels, Barbara; Maxwell, Debra; Chang, Ching-Wen


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