Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Learning Position...

was revealed to me at a Kindergarten yesterday when the head teacher directed the children to the mat where they were to assume their 'learning positions' in preparation for a visitor who was to talk about safety around swimming. That got my attention.

The 'learning position' was indicated by extending the thumb and forefinger to make a 'L' shape. Legs out front, bodies straight. I tried it. Ouch. No. More yoga required.

Could you learn like this? Not me, I chose to find a more comfortable position for the discussion. I wonder where this came from? I forgot to ask about it afterwards so trolled Google - no answers there. Is it based on science and/or evidence-based practice? Is it a teaching myth?

More importantly, do children not learn when they're in other positions? To be honest it just all sounds bloody ridiculous.

I know of centre in Wellington that is letting children stand and even (OMG!) lean against the wall during group mat-times. Yes! Boys especially are sticking around. Still, despite this 'success' I still find it amazing how inactive spectatorship that relies on knowledge transmission is still chugging along out there!  Will this pedagogical dead duck ever sink?

Compulsory mat-time - fail. 
Compulsory mat-time with compulsory way to sit - epic fail!!!!!

Now yoga sounds more appealing...  I know of a centre that does QiGong each day as a way of calming the children in readiness for the ritual of mealtime...  Oh I love tangents.


Males in Early Childhood said...

Kia Ora @ko,

I'm commenting here as blog is having issues with me commenting or responding to comments on my own blog.

I understand what you are saying & respect your philosphy regarding the rights of children. Often people espouse to believe in something, yet their practices often tell a different story.

I agree with much of what you say & the only real issue I have is of my own making as I didn't explain clearly enough what I am aiming for.

In no way do I expect young children to attend to static group times for extended periods & they are very much a minor part of the day. My point was simply that these children will be heading to quite structured kindergarten settings soon & I am trying to equip them early on with the tools to help them cope with these environments.

I understand that there are schools that provide open ended. stimulating leaening environments baased on play & children that go to these kindergartens will be very lucky. However, I am also aware that many schools have a very structured routine & if children go into these settings unprepared we are doing them an injustice.

My wish is for the primary/secondary systems to learn from early childhood about how children best learn. Schools have come a long way from my day, but they still have a long way to go on their journey.

I value your input & hope you don't think too poorly of me, but if I haven't convinced you than so be it. I am confident I am providing the children in my care the best opportunities I can at present. Can I improve? Most definitely & some of what you suggested could go towards such self improvement. Constructive criticism is one way to help us evolve as individuals & professionals. I am also sure your children a in very capapble hands.

Keep up the good work. Thanks for the feedback.


ako said...

Thanks Greg. I'll copy your reply back to your blog and reply there as well.