When Children Make Errors: A constructivist teacher’s ways of intervening …
For people who work with children ages 3-8
I wrote a book a while ago, which has been well received. Called The Sun’s Not Broken, A Cloud’s Just in the Way, the title reflects a kind teacher, gently correcting a child who has constructed a poetic theory about the gloomy weather that engulfs him.
While just about all of the rest of that book still holds, I have learned a mighty lesson since that time …. The kindly answer I gave Hamid was part of a style which closes children down from making theories and testing them. Beyond that style are a couple of others … helping the child explore his/her theory and test it, or helping the child extend his/her theory because theory-making (the having of wonderful ideas) is, in itself, so important.
This workshop will help teachers, caregivers, or parents examine how we can support Hamid and, instead of becoming another cloud, we can let sun and air shine upon his intelligence, assisting him in developing and testing his ideas.
Please bring the story of a child’s mistaken idea to the workshop.
(Students of the Reggio Emilia Approach will recognize the idea of “progettazione” in this workshop.)
For teachers who want to work better across cultures
A step in the arduous process of unlearning racism. What stereotypes am I carrying around with me, today, left over from early and pervasive lessons? What can I do to neutralize them? Isn’t it enough to treat all the children equally and fairly? What is oppression? Who is oppressed? Am I? What should I do when people around me are angry about what they perceive to be racism? How can I learn more about other cultures without being insensitive, intrusive and impolite? Why is sex so mixed up with racism? Is sexism the same as racism? Participants are encouraged to read Vivian Gussin Paley’s book, White Teacher, before the class.
This workshop, first done as a weekend class at San Francisco State University in 1987 and 1988, demands a small group and a quiet place. Even more than the other workshops, this one doesn’t do the whole job, but it is a catalyst for one’s own work.
White Teacher, Black Teacher
For people who work with children ages 3-12
Taught with Diedra Epps-Miller, this workshop assumes that it is probable that American ECE teachers teach children of backgrounds quite different than their own. The presenters, a white teacher who has taught children and teachers of many colors and a black teacher who has taught children and teachers of many colors, aim to share the experience of our struggle with your community and to invitae people to consider again the values they wish to honor as professionals, and their vision of childhood and the world.
Each of us plans to present anecdotes which highlight valid attempts to cross respectfully into another’s culture. We expect the discussion to be open to the audience, and questions to be raised about roadblocks people experience with regard to authentic bridging of cultures.