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Gestalt’s Principles Of Perception

Gestalt’s Principles Of Perception

Gestalt’s Principles Of Perception

What are the Gestalt’s Principles of Perception? How are they related?


Recap and assignment guidance

This module addressed creative approaches to the primary curriculum.

What is creative in all these approaches is the fact that they do not focus on one subject at any one time and as a result they do not follow a ‘traditional, conventional even conservative’ way of teaching school subjects to pupils.

Hence, we talk about pedagogic approaches that are promoting connections.

Cross-curricular (connecting curriculum) is a major theoretical underpinning of these approaches. Barnes labelled cross-curriculum approaches as liberating.

Barnes (2012, p.236) argued that: “Today cross-curricular approaches are believed to open up a narrowed curriculum, ensure greater breadth and balance and potential give each child the opportunity to find what Robinson and Aronica (2009) call their ‘element’”.



Barnes (2012, p.239-240) argued that: “…neuroscience, psychology and social science lead us to suspect that effective, lasting, transferable learning in both pure subject and cross-curricular contexts may be generated by: emotional relevance, engagement in fulfilling activity, working on shared challenges with others.”

Throughout the course of this module we saw how different, creative, pedagogic (inherently cross-curricular) approaches attempted to strike such emotional relevance with pupils, such a motivating engagement and all these within a ‘sharing’ context with others.

HOWEVER: The cross-curricular dimensions are essentially the responsibility of the teachers, especially in terms of devising, expediting and completing projects.

Cross-curricular teaching is not an easy task – teachers need to be mindful of their planning; Barnes (2012, p.248) tells us about: ‘…spurious links were often made between too many subjects, and little sense of progression or subject record keeping were possible.’ This is why teachers need to carefully decide which subjects can contribute and carefully write up learning objectives accordingly.





What is the theoretical underpinning of cross-curricular approaches?

Cross-curricular approaches reflect a constructivist and social constructivist approach to learning.

In constructivism, the basic idea is that the individual learner must actively construct knowledge and skills.

Dewey, Bruner, Vygotsky, Piaget have contributed to this notion of constructivism in learning.

Cognitive constructivism draws mainly from Piaget’s work on his theory of cognitive development. Piaget proposed that individuals construct their knowledge through experience and interaction with the environment.

Social constructivism with Vygotsky its main proponent, claims that the social context of learning is also very important.


Creative approaches





Environmental Education

Education for sustainability

Margaret Dolnaldson (1978) Children’s Minds – embedded/dis-embedded contexts.

Szurnak and Thuna (2013, p.550-551) argued that: “Narrative is a powerful tool for teaching and learning for many reasons. The power of narrative lies in the fact that it harnesses the strategies the brain already uses for learning. The following elements of narrative in teaching are particularly resonant:

A. Narrative makes something abstract more concrete/immediate.

B. Narrative contextualizes information by creating the framework for students to place the new knowledge into (and thus improve their retention and understanding).

C. Narrative allows students to have more immediate emotional experiences that they can relate to (and therefore remember).”


Enquiry and Problem-based approaches

Drayton and Falk (2001, p.26) argued that:

“The teacher in the inquiry-oriented classroom makes room as a natural part of the curriculum for the design of investigations and the practice and critique of reasoning and use of evidence, along with lecture, discussion, reading, calculation, and demonstration… Participants in the inquiry-oriented classroom take collaboration among the students for granted, and the layout of the class likely reflects the practice of frequent consultation… Each student must have opportunities for sense-making, knowledge use and representation, peer review, and feedback from the teacher.”

Coffman (2017, p.84) argued that: “For students to be substantially and authentically engaged, it is important to interact with the content in a deep and thoughtful manner…peer feedback is encouraged, students reflect on their work, and specific learning goals are carried out”.







Focus on the outside (and not only especially with the eco-school approach).

Rickinson et al; (2004, p.16) grouped benefits of outdoor approaches in 4 categories:

“Cognitive – concerning knowledge, understanding and other academic outcomes

Affective – encompassing attitudes, values, beliefs and self-perceptions

Interpersonal/social – including communication skills, leadership and teamwork

Physical/behavioural – relating to fitness, physical skills, personal behaviours and social actions.”


Environmental Education

The Tbilisi Conference (UNESCO, 1977) presented as well the 3-fold definition for environmental education; education FOR the environment, ABOUT the environment and IN/THROUGH the environment.

Education FOR the environment is concerned with developing positive attitudes and fostering positive actions towards the environment.

Education ABOUT the environment refers to knowledge of the environment that pupils can acquire on many topics, such as climate, water, plants, animals, air.

Education IN/THROUGH the environment refers to the environment as a resource which pupils can use in order to carry out in-depth investigations.


Education for Sustainability

Tom Marcinkowski (2010) argued that: “Although EE has had a longer history than ESD…ESD is much broader in scope than EE. As such, ESD, like SD, seeks to address social goals (e.g. access to food and water, healthcare, and education; basic literacy), economic development goals (e.g. alleviating poverty, improving living standards), and technological developments (e.g. cleaner and more efficient technologies to serve local needs), as well as environmental goals.” (2010, p.41).

We can claim that both EE and EfSD can be seen as a pedagogic approaches aiming to promote a social change which can involve people in active participation towards just and democratic societies.


Written assignment:

Discuss a range of creative approaches to the delivery of the curriculum and identify amongst them features that promote learning in the primary school. Achieves learning outcomes K1,2,3 and S2 (2000 words – 80% weighting)

Key areas to address in this element of assessment are:

Knowledge of creative approaches in the delivery of the NC.

You should be able to name a range of different approaches we examined throughout the module. Name them and briefly describe them (e.g. definitions)


Understanding of their main features.

What is creative and/or unique about these approaches? How do they deviate from conventional/teaching practices? What particular prominent features they possess? What kind of similarities they share and what kind of differences are there amongst these approaches? For instance, different approaches may highlight different perspectives (e.g. focus on nature as in the outdoors or in environmental education, or on society and a particular topic/issue as in education for sustainability or in project and enquiry approaches).

Understanding of how the use of creative approaches relate to learning theories.

What learning theories better reflect the characteristics and processes that these creative approaches follow? How do these learning theories promote effective teaching practices? Explain why.



The ability to discuss links between the creative and cross-curricular approaches to teaching and learning identifying benefits and limitations.

Prominent theoretical approaches (e.g. connected curriculum, embedded contexts, social interactions) are reflected in these approaches. Highlight strengths and limitations when it comes to the deliver and practice of these approaches (e.g. subject integrity, challenges in planning, assessment, etc.).




Barnes, J. (2012). Cross-curricular learning 3-14. London: Sage.

Donaldson, M. (1978). Children’s Minds. London: Harper Perennial.

Szurmak, J. and Thuna, M. (2013). Tell me a story: the use of narrative as a Tool for Instruction. From:

[Accessed 27/1/2021]

Coffman, T. (2017). Inquiry-based learning, 3rd edition. Lanham Maryland, Rowman and Littlefield.

Drayton, B and Falk, J. (2001). Tell-Tale Signs of the Inquiry-Oriented Classroom. NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals), Bulletin, 85, 24. DOI: 10.1177/019263650108562304


Rickinson, M. Dillon, J. Teamey, K. Morris, M. Choi, M. Y. Sanders, D. and Benefield, P. (2004). A review of Research on outdoor learning. London: Field Studies council.

Marcinkowski, T. (2010). Contemporary challenges and opportunities in environmental education: Where are we headed and what deserves our attention? The Journal of Environmental Education, 41, 1, 34-54.

UNESCO (1977) ‘The Belgrade Charter: global framework for environmental education’, vol.8, part 4, p.57-58.

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