Jean-Ovide Decroly (1871 – 1932)
Decroly was a Belgian doctor, psychologist, teacher and educator who stood out for creating the Centers of Interest. ”
He is known for being a pedagogue who developed the relationship between pedagogy and psychology through practice (he was also a pioneer of experimental psychology).
Developed a pedagogical method (Decroly method) that starts from the observation (diagnosis) of children in a play environment, proposing activities based on the motivations found, which would direct them to the development of their personalities, capacity and human potential. Educating for life through life is the keyword of your proposal.
Decroly starts from the realization that the basic interest for a child’s learning is from the recognition of his interests. From the child’s interest (arousing curiosity), each child was able to develop learning spontaneously through observation, association and expression. He believed that learning would occur spontaneously through contact with the environment, from which would come stimuli to where children would direct their questions.
Decroly’s educational theory derives from the integration of three sciences: biology, sociology and philosophy. Their conception of education is based on the concrete reality lived by children, which enhances action based on commitment to others. The Decroly theory is based on the idea of social intelligence.