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Definition

Guided play is when child autonomy and adult guidance are combined in a playful learning experience. The idea of guided learning is based on how children thrive when they engage in free play. The active engagement and enjoyment of free play, along with its voluntary nature and flexibility is combined with adult support to reach specific learning goals. Through this adult support the child can be guided towards certain aspects of a playful activity that tie in with a learning objective.

Alfieri, L. et al. (2011) Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning? (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Discovery learning approaches to education have recently come under scrutiny (Tobias & Duffy, 2009), with many studies indicating limitations to discovery learning practices. Therefore, 2 meta-analyses were conducted using a sample of 164 studies: The 1st examined the effects of unassisted discovery learning versus explicit instruction, and the 2nd examined the effects of enhanced and/or assisted discovery versus other types of instruction (e.g., explicit, unassisted discovery). Random effects analyses of 580 comparisons revealed that outcomes were favorable for explicit instruction when compared with unassisted discovery under most conditions (d = –0.38, 95% CI [−.44, −.31]). In contrast, analyses of 360 comparisons revealed that outcomes were favorable for enhanced discovery when compared with other forms of instruction (d = 0.30, 95% CI [.23, .36]). The findings suggest that unassisted discovery does not benefit learners, whereas feedback, worked examples, scaffolding, and elicited explanations do. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
103
Page/s:
1-18
Synonyms:
  • Guided-play
  • Meta-analysis
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
  • Learning
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

BBC, . et al. (2017) PEDAL | BBC Breakfast report on playful writing (Video Recording)

Abstract:

Acting Director of PEDAL Centre, David Whitebread, is interviewed in BBC Breakfast report on playful writing.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic achievement
  • Academic outcomes
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Engagement
  • Guided-play
  • Learning
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Social-emotional
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bonawitz, E. et al. (2011) The double-edged sword of pedagogy: Instruction limits spontaneous exploration and discovery (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Motivated by computational analyses, we look at how teaching affects exploration and discovery. In Experiment 1, we investigated children’s exploratory play after an adult pedagogically demonstrated a function of a toy, after an interrupted pedagogical demonstration, after a naïve adult demonstrated the function, and at baseline. Preschoolers in the pedagogical condition focused almost exclusively on the target function; by contrast, children in the other conditions explored broadly. In Experiment 2, we show that children restrict their exploration both after direct instruction to themselves and after overhearing direct instruction given to another child; they do not show this constraint after observing direct instruction given to an adult or after observing a non-pedagogical intentional action. We discuss these findings as the result of rational inductive biases. In pedagogical contexts, a teacher’s failure to provide evidence for additional functions provides evidence for their absence; such contexts generalize from child to child (because children are likely to have comparable states of knowledge) but not from adult to child. Thus, pedagogy promotes efficient learning but at a cost: children are less likely to perform potentially irrelevant actions but also less likely to discover novel information.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
120
Page/s:
322-330
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Free play
  • Guided-play
  • Learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Fisher, K. et al. (2010) Playing around in School: Implications for Learning and Educational Policy (Book Section)

Abstract:

A fundamental question has spawned fervent debates in classrooms and on Capitol Hill: How do we best educate children to be successful in a global, ever-changing world? Here we present the evidence that playful learning pedagogies not only promote important academic learning but also build the skills required for success in the 21st century. A brief review of current educational trends and their underlying philosophies is followed by the introduction to of the concept of “playful learning,” a teaching approach that uses free-play and guided-play activities to promote academic, socio-emotional, and cognitive development. The chapter then reviews correlational, observational, and experimental literature on playing around in school and offers suggestions and future directions for research in the emerging playful learning domain.

Date:
January 2010
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Guided-play
  • Literature review
  • Playful learning
Relevant age group/s:
Tags:

Fisher, K. et al. (2013) Taking Shape: Supporting Preschoolers' Acquisition of Geometric Knowledge Through Guided Play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Shape knowledge, a key aspect of school readiness, is part of early mathematical learning. Variations in how children are exposed to shapes may affect the pace of their learning and the nature of their shape knowledge. Building on evidence suggesting that child-centered, playful learning programs facilitate learning more than other methods, 4- to 5-year-old children (N = 70) were taught the properties of four geometric shapes using guided play, free play, or didactic instruction. Results revealed that children taught shapes in the guided play condition showed improved shape knowledge compared to the other groups, an effect that was still evident after 1 week. Findings suggest that scaffolding techniques that heighten engagement, direct exploration, and facilitate “sense-making,” such as guided play, undergird shape learning.

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
n/a–n/a
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Free play
  • Learning
  • Playful learning
  • Pre-academic skills
  • Guided-play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Janet, M. et al. (2015) Play beyond the Foundation Stage: play, self-regulation and narrative skills (Book Section)

Abstract:

This is a must-read book for all students studying early childhood at a range of levels and practitioners who are looking to deepen their understanding of play and playful practices.

Date:
January 2015
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
84-93
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Guided-play
  • Literacy
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:

NCCA, . et al. (2017) How can practitioners support children’s learning through play (3-6 years) (Video Recording)

Abstract:
Author/s:
Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Free play
  • Guided-play
  • Physical play
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Social play
  • Teacher/caregiver play
Relevant age group/s:

PEDAL, . et al. (2017) PEDAL Workshop: Pedagogy of Play Workshop (Video Recording)

Abstract:

PEDAL invited Ben Mardell from Harvard University's Project Zero and Camilla Uhre Fog, the Head of the International School of Billund to share with teachers their experience of working together to develop a Pedagogy of Play. Through the work of the teachers at ISB, this collaboration has managed to define some areas of what it takes for a truly playful pedagogical approach to support children in their learning and exploration of the world.

Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Free play
  • Guided-play
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
Relevant age group/s:

Pyle, A. et al. (2017) A Continuum of Play-Based Learning: The Role of the Teacher in Play-Based Pedagogy and the Fear of Hijacking Play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Research Findings: Research has demonstrated the developmental and educational benefits of play. Despite these benefits, teacher-directed academic instruction is prominent in kindergarten. There is increasing acknowledgment in curricula and policies of the challenges presented by a lack of play in classrooms and the need to support academic learning using developmentally appropriate practices. Current research emphasizes a narrow definition of play-based learning as a child-directed practice, resulting in teacher uncertainty about the implementation of this pedagogical approach. Fifteen kindergarten classrooms were examined using qualitative methodology, including observations and teacher interviews. Two different teacher profiles emerged: The 1st profile saw play and learning as separate constructs and reported challenges meeting academic demands using play-based learning. Their students primarily engaged in free play. The 2nd profile believed that play could support academic learning and that teachers fill an important role in play. Their students engaged in 5 different types of play, situated along a continuum from child directed to more teacher directed. Practice or Policy: The continuum of play-based learning provides a broader and more concrete definition of play-based learning to help teachers implement this pedagogical approach and to enhance the study of play-based learning in early years research.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
28
Page/s:
274-289
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Games with rules
  • Guided-play
  • Learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Qualitative methodology
Relevant age group/s:

Pyle, A. et al. (2017) A scoping review of research on play-based pedagogies in kindergarten education (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Across a number of countries, play-based learning is the mandated pedagogy in early years’ curricula. However, a lack of consensus remains both in research and practice regarding the value and role of play in children's learning. This scoping review analyses 168 articles addressing play-based learning for 4–5 year old children divided into three categories: research on play for developmental learning, research on play for academic learning and factors influencing play in kindergarten classrooms. Much of the research endorsed play as fulfilling an important role in early learning. However, two disparate perspectives concerning the role of play for developmental versus academic learning demonstrate different orientations towards the value and potential benefits of play. Research focused on developmental learning endorsed the use of free play and a passive teacher role, while research focused on academic learning endorsed teacher-directed and mutually directed play where the teacher fulfills an active play role. A similar lack of consensus was found among research with educators regarding the role and benefits of play. These findings indicate a need to move away from a binary stance regarding play and towards an integration of perspectives and practices, with different types of play perceived as complementary rather than incompatible.

Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
5
Page/s:
311-351
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Guided-play
  • Learning
  • Literature review
  • Pedagogy
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s: