Questioning Current Thinking And Approaches


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Questioning Current Thinking And Approaches

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