Reconceptualising the relationship between ECE and CSE in the training field


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Paper presented at the Forum Bildung U-10, Hildesheim University, July 2012

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Reconceptualising the relationship between ECE and CSE in the training field

  1. 1. Reconceptualising the relationship between ECE and CSE in the training field Insights from the Italian experience Universität Hildesheim, 7th July 2012
  2. 2. Aim and scope of this presentation• Exploring the relationship between ECE and CSE in the Italian case: origin, development and underlying assumptions of educational continuity (Lazzari & Balduzzi, forthcoming)Moss, P. (Forthcoming) Early Childhood and Compulsory Education: Reconceptualising the relationship. London: Routledge.• Analysing how the relationship between ECE and CSE affected teachers’ professional preparation at tertiary level• Discussing contemporary issues: challenges and possibilitiesOutlining conceptual categories for re-thinking the relationshipbetween elementary and primary education fields in theframework of context-specific conditions
  3. 3. Early Childhood and Compulsory Education: Reconceptualising the Relationship• Contesting Early Childhood Series, November 2012 (London: Routledge) Editor: Peter Moss• Contributors: John Bennett, Margaret Carr, Gunilla Dahlberg, Hildegard Gobeyn, Peder Haug, Sharon Lynn Kagan, Peter Moss, Nadine De Stercke and Michel Vandenbroeck• Arianna Lazzari and Lucia Balduzzi (University of Bologna)- Exploring the approach of educational continuity (continuità educativa) as an alternative to the ‘school readiness’ approach- Analysis framed by an historical and socio-cultural perspective with a specific pedagogical focus- Sources: policy documents, pedagogical literature, curricular guidelines and documentary sources
  4. 4. Background: the Italian education systemSplit ECE system: 0-3 institutions (nidi) under the Ministry of Welfare (administrativeresponsibility decentralised to local authorities) 3-6 institutions/pre-schools (scuole dell’infanzia) under the Ministryof Education that is also responsible for primary schools (scuolaprimaria)Initial professional preparation: 3-yrs Bachelor Degree for nido educators 5-yrs Master Degree in Primary Education Sciences (Scienze dellaFormazione Primaria) for both pre- and primary school teachers
  5. 5. The perspective of educational continuityTraditionally, a certain attention has been dedicated to therelationship between pre- and primary school, despite thefragmented structure of the overall education system. • Radical roots and local experimentalism: political and1960-70 social premises of educational continuity • The pedagogical debate on educational continuity and1980-90 institutionalisation of continuity practices • Teacher’s professionalisation across the fields of pre-1990-00 and primary education
  6. 6. Radical rootsSocial and political premises of educational continuity:- Pedagogical activism from the 1960s which gave origin to Municipal ECE institutions (Ciari, 1972; Malaguzzi, 1971)- Civil movements reclaiming social justice- Progressive teachers movements inspired by active education (Dewey, 1949) and popular pedagogy (Freinet, 1969) Traditional teaching methods are contested as they reproduce social inequalities (Scuola di Barbiana, 1967; Barbagli & Dei, 1969)
  7. 7. ‘Engaging with children from low social classesand engaging in politics are part of the samecommitment. It is not possible to becommitted to children who are affected byunfair laws and not to advocate for betterlaws.’ (Scuola di Barbiana, 1967; p. 93)
  8. 8. Local experimentalism: ECE as a driving force shaping a new paradigm The experimentation of the integrated day in primary school (tempo pieno) shaped a new understanding of compulsory school education: - education as emancipatory experience for social and cultural transformation VS conservative practice reproducing inequalities - image of the child: competent human being , citizen bearer of rights - holistic approach to children’s development, which is nurtured through the exploration of many symbolic languages - learning understood as a process of co-construction that takes place in social interaction > project work methodology- schools understood as democratic communities(social management)- teachers as facilitators, providing children with diversified learning opportunities according to their specific needs VS standardised teacher instructions
  9. 9. The pedagogical debate on educational continuity The approach of educational continuity was further elaborated following the findings of psychological studies (Bateson, 1972; Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Bruner, 1981; Rogoff & Lave, 1984) : - children’s learning is shaped by the relational and cultural environment in which educational practices take place - children’s development encompasses both inter-personal and intrapersonal variations Implication for practices:- Children’s development should be sustained along a continuum by taking into account their diversified needs and potentialities- teachers’ reflectivity has a crucial role to play in this regard  An inter-disciplinary approach to educational sciences is needed in order to deal with complex phenomena taking place on everyday basis within school settings
  10. 10. ‘It is therefore unfair to demandpsychology to draw a well definedpicture of children’s developmentarticulated in […] chronologicallyprecise phases so that schooling couldbe appropriately organised: it isprecisely the notion of“appropriateness” to be misleading […].Perhaps what is wished to be found inscientific knowledge is thelegitimisation of political andeducational choices that are de factothe result of historical and socialprocesses.’(Pontecorvo, 1986; p. 49)
  11. 11. A professionalising pathway responding to the complexity of teachers’ role 2-yrs course 2-yrs course Integrated Specialised curriculum for curriculum: common 1-yr optional - early childhood professional Additional course pedagogy and preparation of for special needs learningpre- and primary teachers focusingschool teachers - primary school on inclusive (pedagogy, education education psychology, (subject anthropology, knowledge and sociology) didactic)
  12. 12. Promoting reflectivity through a flexible combination of training devices University Workshops Placement lectures (approx. 200 hrs) (400 hrs)• Cultural formation • Project work • Field work and• Interpretative tools (alternative observation• Contemporary approach to • Developing and issues knowledge running construction) educational• > Carried out by academic staff • Collective projects reflectivity • > Supervised by • >Facilitated by expert teachers teachers’ educators and teachers’ and academic staff educators
  13. 13. Recent policy developments: toward schoolification of ECE?• MD 249/2010: University degree for initial preparation moved up to Master level (5-yrs) with same route to be attended by pre- and primary school teachers• Risks: > undermining continuity of educational approaches within the early childhood sector (0-3 & 3-6 services) > schoolfication of pre-school (narrower subject-oriented approach and broader pedagogical approach to learning left at the margin)
  14. 14. Questions framing the debate• How is the relation between ECE and CSE conceptualised?  there are alternatives to the perspective of ‘school readiness’! (Moss, forthcoming)• What are the pedagogical assumptions underlying such debate? (Who is the child? How is learning understood? What are the purposes of educational institutions within society?)• In relation to such assumptions how can the role of teachers be conceptualised across the ECE and CSE fields? How can common training pathways be designed coherently without dismissing the specific pedagogic identity of ECE and CSE?
  15. 15. Arianna LazzariDipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione