From theory to practice……. why?

Ever been in conversations where it feels like it’s a ping pong ball? He said… she said… and so it goes on. When we start down this track, in terms of our cultures of learning and teaching, we risk the possibility of becoming stuck in ‘invested practice’. We’ve done it like this and it’s always worked; or this has always suited us; our parents and children like it this way. We end up in the ring at opposite corners, waiting for the bell before going head to head again. It often becomes a discussion about personal preference and justified from personal belief and ends up ‘personal’. What happens then if we shift this ‘invested practice’ to the side and think how theory and research offer provocations for deeply reflective practice?

This is ‘growth mindset’ in action –

Motivated to improve; at the edge prepared to work hard      with deep commitment to practice and stretch our abilities  AND accept and offer feedback that leads to improved outcomes for children.

Understanding what theory and research can offer us gives us more thinking space to thoughtfully review what we currently do, feel and say.

This quote from Diti Hill altered our teaching and learning lives as we began to think more deeply about how to enable learning to flourish: “children do not live their lives in curriculum fragments” (Power, Passion and Planning in the Early Childhood Centre. The First Years: Nga Tau Tuatahi, New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education, Volume 3, Issue Two, 2001).

We began to tap into children’s natural rhythms and think about the dispositions driving their learning and in doing this we found we were more able to engage in meaningful ways with children’s energies, passions and spirits and as a result, learning stretched. We realised that when this occurred inside collaborative  communities, where adults and children were able to explore surprising, convoluted pathways, we began to notice children’s huge capacity to persist with difficulty, keep practicing, and then perfect their skills through their efforts. This energised our thinking and we turned a corner into a learning vibrancy that would, into the future, revolutionise the way we saw learning: As possibility, as imagination, as effort and hard work, as conversation, as inquiry. 


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