“Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn.” ~ Loris Malaguzzi
I have worked within the field of Early Childhood Education (ECE) for over 23 years and in the past 10 years I have really developed a strong discourse of viewing myself, as well as children and youth I have worked with as capable, co-creators in teaching and learning. This belief does not establish me, the educator, as the expert or the adult full of knowledge ready to fill the child’s empty slate. Instead, it positions me, as a contributor to the collaborative process of teaching and learning with children and families within my community.
Throughout my career as an ECE it has seemed that the more common Euro-Western discourse has viewed the educator as the expert and the child as the empty vessel waiting to be filled with our knowledge and often bias truth’s. I have personally discovered that when I do my work from my heart, I feel more inspired and engaged as an ECE. I feel I have developed stronger skills as an educator who is flexible, open, curious, enquiring, adaptable, and imaginative.
I am wondering how other ECE’s and/or CYC’s view their position as an educator or person who works with children, youth and families.
My thoughts are quite similar to Danielle's. I have been working in preschools for 7 years now and over the course of my teaching career have developed a strong stance towards seeing children as co-teacher and learners in the classroom. The project approach has been important for my work because learning is guided by the children's interests and together we explore, investigate, ask questions, discover, observe, and draw conclusions. The learning experience is interactive and the children are empowered to take initiative in learning. They also develop skills to learn, how to find the answers for their questions, and how to think critically. As the teacher, I learn with the children and investigate with them rather than see myself as the one with all the information. These skills will support children throughout their lives.
At the end of one school year I asked each one of my preschool students what they wanted to investigate at school. Up that that point we generally did class investigations, but I wanted them to have an opportunity to explore their own interests and become a bit of an expert on a topic so they could share their knowledge with the class. We explored books, experiments and online resources to name a few and the children began to learn from one another. It was a powerful experience in supporting children to take a lead in learning and share knowledge together as a class. They were empowered to learn rather than just listen to information.
Melanie Van Eyck
See www.fairstartglobal.com, useful free attachment based care training programs :)
Med venlig hilsen/ yours sincerely
Niels Peter Rygaard
I agree with you. I think there is a great deal to be gained from approaching our relationships with children and young people as a shared experience with shared discoveries and shared learning. My own experience has been that a child helps me learn more about being an adult and about our world and if all goes well enough I help a child grow, learn more about our world and keep her/him safe. The great bonus is when we discover we've got time for each other. This is not a blueprint recipe for surefire outcomes but an organic, dynamic process. Neither do I believe I mean this to be a wishy washy " life is plain sailing" daydream - it's a process that necessarily contains its share of muck and grit. I'll go off and think about it a bit more. Anyway, thanks for bringing the subject up.
"The audience creates the performance
The subordinate creates the boss
The child creates the parent
The citizen creates its leadership
Problem solving occurs to build relatedness
A room and a building are created by how it is occupied The student creates the teacher
The future creates the present
The listening creates the speaker
The openness to learn creates the teaching"
From Peter Block....and his work called Civic Engagement and the Restoration of Community
Changing the Nature of the Conversation .......