Our profession needs to be researchful, and connected with its libraries of evolving thinking, research and knowledge.
The last 33 years or so (in the UK), exemplify the blank slate model of teacher and educator development.
The trouble started in 1987. In the years before the (UK) Education Act of 1987, by and large, teachers did their own thinking, turning to a variety of sources to enrich their understanding and help them make a case for their principled pedagogical decisions. But soon after the arrival of the DES National Curriculum document, the first signs of professional amnesia appeared in our midst. Slowly but surely teachers began to act as if professional knowledge were only to be found in glossy ring folders, training packs and videos and all manner of other pronouncements from politically-led authorities.
[from Mary Jane Drummond, Professional Amnesia, Refocus Journal 2008]
Transformative change requires attention to pedagogical as well as structural principles….we have the good fortune, in evolving pedagogical principles and educational action, of a rich tradition of educational thought and experience. We must take full advantage of the invaluable cultural heritage represented by the thought and work of past pedagogues such as Froebel, Dewey, McMillan, Isaacs, Freinet, Freire and Malaguzzi.
Drawing on these cultural reserves, as well as the intelligence and expertise of today’s practitioners, a pedagogical transformation can be embarked upon, turning away from a culture of targets [and] measurement.
[from Peter Moss, Transforming Early Childhood in England 2020]
In this session we will be reflecting on the contributions of some of the recent giants of educational thinking so that we can better articulate and explain the beliefs and understandings that can and ought to underpin our practice. We will examine a range of perspectives developed through the last century, so that we can draw on these in the choices we make for children and to tell a better story about the nature of education, based on the way young children learn rather than on the target-driven instincts of politics.
We will provide participants with further reading and references, to continue your encounters ....