Refuse. Resist. Rebuild.
Recently, I have noticed a lot of posts on early childhood pages and groups asking about theorists and documentation. The questions are normally like this- do I have to link to theorists? How do I link to theorists? And the answers are normally like this- the EYLF doesn’t say you need to; my assessor didn’t ask to see that.
And I start to think… there are many things I do in my teaching that I don’t ‘have’ to and I don’t ‘need’ to. I do these things because I choose to, because I want to. Perhaps I italicized the wrong word there. Because I choose to, because I want to. I choose and want to write about theorists in my documentation because it’s important and interesting and relevant to me and my work.
I don’t do things in my work just because I think they might appease an assessor. I know that an assessor can only make a scant appraisal of my work in the fleeting time they visit my service and so I don’t judge the quality of my teaching by their opinion. Let me say that once more because it’s important. I don’t judge the quality of my teaching by the opinion of the assessor. I don’t do things to make them happy, to guess at what they want to see, to chase that elusive ‘exceeding’ rating.
The way I care, educate and develop relationships with children is far bigger, far more important than the way the assessor rates it. The theories I use to understand the dynamics of this learning and these relationships is far more important than trying to secure an ‘exceeding’ rating.
It is important to think about what using theory in documentation can offer. This is why I use theory:
– It challenges how I think about my teaching.
– It helps me think differently about how, what and why children learn.
– It helps me talk about difficult and complex ideas to other people.
– It helps me challenge social injustices and unfairness.
– It intellectually challenges me.
I do not use theory in my documentation to look good for assessment. We should not be caring, educating, teaching and working with young children in ways that are just to get the rating we desire for our service. We should be caring, educating, teaching and working with young children in ways that are best for them, in ways that suit our contexts, in ways that intellectually stimulate and satisfy us as educators, in ways that are equitable for the children, their families, the staff and the communities surrounding us. This should be our priority and if this priority leads to an ‘exceeding’ rating, then so be it. But our main priority should not be about getting a rating that makes our service look good.
I watched a Jayne Osgood lecture on youtube just recently. She was talking about teaching theory to early childhood students and explained how she was often told to ‘keep it simple’- as if early childhood students would never possibly understand difficult ideas. She explained how patronising, how condescending this is. She talked about this as a marker of social injustice, that this links into bigger ideas of gender and class if it’s believed that (mostly) female and (mostly) working class people are just too stupid, too ignorant to understand the difficult theories that shape their work. This is the link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2653wIRguw
There are so many theorists, theories and ideas. I don’t think there is a checklist or a dot-pointed form that will help you quickly understand these. I don’t really know of any websites that will give a quick- but thorough- overview. So here is a (long looking, but really, tiny) collection of research books and articles- who wrote them, their titles and what sort of theories or ideas they explore…. I hope it helps. I also added a list of youtube lectures/presentations because sometimes it’s hard/expensive to access research books.
Foucauldian theory (how power operates)
Doing Foucault in early childhood studies Glenda Mac Naughton
Gender and sexuality
Rethinking gender in early childhood education Glenda Mac Naughton
Delusions of Gender Cordelia Fine
Pink brain, blue brain Lise Eliot
Cinderella ate my daughter Peggy Orenstein
Sex, death and the education of children: Our passion for ignorance in the age of AIDS Jonathon Silin
Race, class, gender and sexuality: the big questions Ed. Naomi Zack
Innocence, Knowledge and the Construction of Childhood: The Contradictory Nature of Sexuality andCensorship in Children’s Contemporary Lives Kerry Robinson
Playing it straight: Uncovering gender discourses in the early childhood classroom Mindy Blaise
The transgender child: A handbook for families and professionals Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper
Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity Judith Butler
Gender in early childhood Ed. Nicola Yelland
Trans-friendly preschool. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education, 3(1), 7-13. Laurel Dykstra
Feminism is for everybody: Passionate politics bell hooks
Queering early childhood studies: Challenging the discourse of developmentally appropriate practice. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 56(3), 304-318 Zeenat Janmohamed
General anti-bias, social justice and reconceptualisation work
Diversity and difference in early childhood education Kerry Robinson and Criss Jones Diaz
Deconstructing early childhood education: Social justice and revolution Gaile Cannella
The anti-bias approach in early childhood Ed. Elizabeth Dau
Resistance and representation: Rethinking childhood education Ed. Janice Jipson and Robert Johnson
Embracing identities in early childhood education: Diversity and possibilities Ed. Susan Grieshaber and Gaile Cannella
The trouble with play Susan Grieshaber and Felicity McArdle
Critiques and reconceptualisation of ‘quality’
Beyond quality in early childhood education and care Gunilla Dahlberg, Peter Moss, Alan Pence
Reconceptualisation of school readiness
Early childhood and compulsory education Ed. Peter Moss
Ethics and politics in early childhood education Gunilla Dahlberg and Peter Moss
Common Worlds theory, Post humanist theory
Reconfiguring the natures of childhood Affrica Taylor
Refugees, asylum seeking
One day the soldiers came: Voices of children in war Charles London
…I never saw another butterfly… Ed. Hana Volavkova
Critiques and reconceptualisation of traditional schooling
Instead of education John Holt
Dumbing us down John Taylor Gatto
Deschooling society Ivan Illich
Pedagogy of Freedom Paolo Friere
Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paolo Friere
The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18(2), 215-228 Stephen Ball
‘I feel absolutely incompetent’: Professionalism, policy and early childhood teachers. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 13(3), 175-186. Alice Bradbury
Deconstructing professionalism in early childhood education: Resisting the regulatory gaze. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 7(1), 5-14 Jayne Osgood
Dealing with uncertainty: Challenges and possibilities for the early
childhood profession. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 16(2), 135-152 Matthias Urban
Postcolonial theory, Critical whiteness theory
‘Race’ and early childhood education: An international approach to identity, politics, and pedagogy Ed. Glenda Mac Naughton and Karina Davis
The promise and paradox of cultural competence. HEC Forum, 24, 279-291. Rebecca Hester
White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Independent School, 31-36.
http://amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html Peggy McIntosh
Revealing whiteness: The Unconscious habits of racial privilege Shannon Sullivan
The location of culture Homi Bhabha
Anarchist pedagogies: Collective actions, theories, and critical reflections on education Ed. Robert Haworth
The politics of postanarchism Saul Newman
Anarchism and education: A philosophical perspective Judith Suissa
Poverty and inequality
Unequal childhoods: children’s lives in developing countries Helen Penn
Whose activism is it anyway? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bpzDzZg3y0&app=desktop Miriam Guigni
Inaugural Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2653wIRguw Jayne Osgood
Learning as a relational field of potentiality http://www.ecaconference.com.au/conference2012/ Gunilla Dahlberg
(My youtube list is much shorter! Any good suggestions to add…?)
© Awilda Longstocking, 2014
Anarchy & the EYLF Pirates.
Refuse, Resist, Rebuild