Questioning Current Thinking And Approaches
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Questioning Current Thinking And Approaches

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  • 1. Questioning Current Thinking and Approaches Curtis & Carter (2008) Introduction Outline Prepared by Dr. Carla Piper
  • 2. What is the purpose of education?
    • Why do schools exist?
    • To produce compliant workers for economic function?
    • To help children grow into their full potential?
    • Help children become informed, engaged citizens?
    • Help children make a contribution to their communities?
    • Prepare children to be successful in an increasingly more complex world?
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 1)
  • 3. How should we design curriculum for early childhood programs?
    • To remediate children’s needs and deficits?
    • To focus on children’s inherent competencies, ideas, and questions?
    • To follow strong policies and curriculum mandates to improve learning outcomes?
    • To locate teacher-proof curriculum for conformity and accountability?
    • To prepare children for school readiness?
    • To secure our future as early care and education professionals?
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, pp. 1-2)
  • 4. Why Question Current Thinking?
    • “ Education is an arena of hope and struggle – hope for a better life and struggle over how to understand and enact and achieve a better world. We come to believe that we can become makers of history, not merely the passive objects of the great human drama”
    • (Ayers, as cited in Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 1)
  • 5. Definitions of Quality are Inadequate
    • The status of early childhood programs in U.S. is a national crisis
    • Policy makers have marginalized our professional knowledge and decision-making power
    • Reform efforts directed at measurable outcomes and high stakes testing.
    • Commercial publishers offer quick-fix curriculum and assessment
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, pp. 2-3)
  • 6. Teachers Need to Define Quality
    • Early care and education organizations need open discussion to answer these questions:
      • What is our purpose?
      • What are our values?
      • What is our philosophy?
      • What theoretical framework should guide our everyday program practice?
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, pp. 2-3)
  • 7. Factories Serve as a Model for Education
    • Many early care and education settings:
      • Resemble a factory model
      • A culture of compliance
      • Defined schedules
      • Mandated curriculum components
      • Focus on paperwork and crunching numbers for accountability
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, pp. 3-4)
  • 8. Factories Serve as a Model for Education
    • Teachers need time
      • Lack time to ponder, wonder, make meaning out of the day’s activities
      • Teachers often given scripts to follow
      • Sense of urgency speeding up everything we do.
      • Linear – not cyclical view of time.
    • Children need time
      • to immerse themselves in areas of learning for meaningful outcomes.
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, pp. 3-4)
  • 9. Teachers Lack Philosophical Foundations
    • Training often occurs in “inservice” rather than pre-service:
      • Focus on “how-to” skills
      • Seldom raise philosophical questions on purpose of education
      • Focus on set of regulations or a series of activities or a “bag of tricks”
    • Need to take time to understand and clarify your own values and understandings
    • Need more thoughtful understanding of effective teaching practice
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 4)
  • 10. Philosophical Foundations
    • Click on each term for online definition:
    • Social constructivism
    • Empowering or participatory education
    • Critical pedagogy
    • Multiple intelligences
    • Inquiry-based learning
    • Resources
      • Concept to Classroom
      • PBS Learning and Teaching in Preschool
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, pp. 1-2)
  • 11. Adults View Children as Needing to be “Readied” or Fixed
    • Complex concept of school readiness
    • Adults impose their wills, perspectives, and agendas on children
    • Children are born eager to learn.
    • In most cases – the curriculum or pedagogy needs fixing – not the children!
    • Strength-based approach – Reggio Emilia
      • See the competency in each child
      • Believe in children
      • Help children reach their own potential
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 5)
  • 12. Play is not Considered a Viable Source of Curriculum
    • Play-based curriculum approaches viewed with skepticism.
    • Children’s play is not what it used to be.
      • Television and electronic media
      • Commercial toys and tools
      • Limited time for play due to “schedules”
      • Often don’t learn to independently investigate, invent, or problem solve with complexity
    • Teachers don’t always recognize the learning possibilities in play
    • Play is important for children’s growth and development
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 5)
  • 13. Why play?
    • Play affects children’s motivation allowing them to develop system of long-term goals.
    • Play facilitates cognitive decentering allowing children to take on roles and negotiate different perspectives.
    • Play advances the development of mental representations as children associate meaning to physical form.
    • Play fosters development of deliberate behavior as children learn to sequence actions, follow rules, and focus attention.
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 5)
  • 14. Child-Directed and Teacher-Directed Approaches Are Presented as Opposed and Mutually Exclusive
    • Either-or Curriculum Approach
      • Emergent curriculum – hands-off approach waiting for children to initiate curriculum
      • Direct instruction – children can’t learn without adult instruction
    • Dynamics of racism, poverty, and privelege
      • White, middle class children are expected to self-initiate
      • Children of color or low-income expected to learn from their teachers.
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 7)
  • 15. Continuum of Teaching Behaviors
    • A curriculum responsive to children with desired learning goals
    • Teachers need relationship with children and their families
    • Teachers also need to pay attention to what is going on in the classroom
    • Teachers should master a repertoire of possible actions to guide children’s learning.
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 7)
  • 16. No Program Infrastructures to Support Teachers’ Reflective Practice
    • Teachers viewed as technicians accountable to standards and curriculum content.
    • Budgets limited to meeting ratios with children
    • Need to examine your organization’s culture
    • Need new approach to professional development
    • Need to support teachers’ efforts with ongoing professional growth, organizational systems, and distribution of resources.
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, pp. 7-8)
  • 17. Teachers and Programs are Required to Adopt Quantifiable “Research-based” Curricula
    • Mandates require research-based curriculum
    • Need to ask questions –
      • Who are the researchers?
      • What is their cultural framework?
      • What research methodology and mesurement tools were used?
      • Is there any one research methodology that is reliable for all children?
      • Why would one adopt curriculum that gives the teacher a script to follow?
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, pp. 7-8)
  • 18. Valuable Curriculum Models
    • Environmentally based
    • See children as active learners
    • Offer children choices
    • Encourage teachers to build curriculum from children’s interest
    • Use ongoing observations
    • Focus on strengths for assessment
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 7)
  • 19. Valuable Curriculum Models
    • Strengthen children’s identities as:
      • Thinkers
      • Responsible citizens
      • Creators of life-sustaining culture
    • Should be developed in conjunction with children’s families and communities
    • Should be respectful of their culture and home language
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 7)
  • 20. Consider Mandates for Formal Curriculum Programs
    • Whose interests are being served by apopting this curriculum?
    • Is the focus on writing scripts for outcomes?
    • Who benefits from a “teacher-proof” curriculum?
    • Address your concerns, be inspired, and strengthen your ability to
    • live full and teach well!
    (Curtis & Carter, 2008, p. 8)
  • 21. A Learning Organization
    • Read the story of Teresa, a Head Start director (pp. 7-8).
    • Have you been asked to purchase a “lock-step” “teacher-proof” commercial curriculum?
    • What dilemma was Teresa faced with?
    • What is your vision for your early childhood setting?
    • What would you do?