Sunday, April 25, 2010

ELP - Margaret Carr Seminar

Learning Pathways and Learning Journeys in the Early Years: Opportunities and Responsibilities

Educational Leadership Project Ltd

Present by Margaret Carr, Kohia Teacher Centre, Tuesday, 13 April, 2010

Margaret talked about our own learning journey and “Possible Learner Selves”.

Building Super Learners and Super Heroes – Guy Claxton, “Building Learning Powers” book inspired Flatbush Kindergarten to explore Super Hero play and they developed a big resource of coloured capes for children to become different super heroes. Guy’s book is mostly geared to Primary School teachers and key competencies, but it is quite relevant for early childhood.

Our learning journeys include recognising our possible selves and thinking about finding a balance between the selves we hope for against the selves we are afraid of becoming:

Hoped Possible selves could include being successful, creative, rich, thin, loved admired

Fear Possible selves could include depressed, alcoholic, afraid, bankrupt, criminal

Children might see themselves as: explorer, writer, belonging, activist.

Jane Campion stated “You need just one degree more of inspiration than fear” to get on with the things that inspire you and you want to complete. As educators we often pop back to our old ways, not committing to the new “possible selves” and we need to cultivate our teaching dispositions – keep getting out, coming to seminars, conferences, centre visits etc to stay fresh and inspired.

Carole Dweck has an excellent book “Mind Set” that is well worth having in the Staff Library.

Who Are My Possible Learning Selves:

o Resilience – Edmund Hilary – the inspiration to respond and construct a challenge

o Relationships – Dame Whina Cooper – the inspiration to lead people and strive for a just world.

o Imagination – Rita Angus – the imagination to see and explore the world in different ways.


Think about the NZ Curriculum and how it is linked to early childhood notions of important dispositions to foster in children for life long learning. Page 42 of the NZ Curriculum should be an A3 poster that is displayed in all educational spaces because it shows the intention from the Ministry of Education on seemless transitioning with assessment practices that are driven by the children and supported by their teachers. Page 12 & 13 are comments on the Key Competencies.

What Qualities Will Children Need in the Next 40-50 Years.

1. Well Being and managing self – developing a “can do” attitude.

2. Developing the disposition to work and dialogue with others.

3. Belonging to the wider global community

4. Sustainable communities

5. Multi-levels of communication – we are barely scratching the surface at the moment.

Margaret showed a video from Greerton Early Childhood Centre (Lorraine Sands, Tauranga), of Ruby who wanted to climb and a climbing wall was created to provide a very high degree of challenge.

Who Do We Recognise as Heroes

Imaginery – Harry Potter, Dr Who

Famous Learning Heroes – Nelson Mandela, Sir Peter Blake, Sonya Davies

Famous Family Learning Heroes – various people who had survived adversity such as migrating, surviving war zones

People We Know As Learning Heroes – Wendy Lee, Margaret Carr, Alison Brierley, Jo Colbert, Jo Allen


Our children are questioning all the time, whereas we didn’t because it was seen as being ignorant, maybe you hadn’t listened enough or weren’t smart enough – there is definitely a generational difference.

Margaret and Wendy have been part of – A Royal Society – Marsden Fund Project – and a book has been developed “Learning in the Making: Dispositions and Design in Early Education” by M Carr, Anne Smith, Judith Duncan, Carolyn Jones, Wendy Lee, and Kate Marshall, published through Amazon although they are checking to see if NZCER will publish it.

The book looks at the following:

Resilience ) Initiating and orchestrating projects

) asking questions

Imagination ) exploring possible worlds

) our storytelling selves

Reciprocity ) Establishing a dialogue

) being and becoming a group member

ICT is a very big part of our future Learning Selves and James Gee writes a lot about ICT and has a wonderful book “Why Video Games are Good For Your Soul” and it is about pleasure and learning.

Vivian Gussin Paley “A Child’s Work” is also very inspirational.


1. Try something new and don’t be scared – particularly true for me as I consider further study to get my Teacher Registration.

2. Recognise and strengthen the hoped for inspirations and possible selves.

3. Be inspired by those who have gone before us – if Whina Cooper can walk the length of the North Island, I can complete one more year’s study and when I start I need these inspirations to help me through.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Last weekend I attended a seminar with Chelsea from Unitec, on Infant and Toddler settings based on RIE philosophy and the work of Magda Gerber - very cool day and so much to learn.