Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Baby seagulls

Over the last year with each new group of teachers at workshops I have been asking the same question:                                   Has anyone seen a baby seagull?

What does this have to do with ECE I hear you say - actually it has a lot to do with the view of teaching and learning that early childhood teachers have.  The back story to this question goes as follows:

My son and I were travelling in the car and heard the announcer on the radio ask this very question.  Which made Jordan and I curious about why in a country that has probably as many seagulls as sheep (maybe slight exaggeration)  is it that we have never seen a baby seagull.  We went to the obvious place to find out what they look like: Google.  The idea of a baby seagull that we had never seen made us very curious indeed.  Which reminded me of this quote from Rachel Carson:

"If  a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of
excitement and mystery of the world we live in"

The baby seagull question is a provocation to remind us all to think about the wonderment of the world around us.  Nurturing children's curiosity is hard work.  The best way for teachers to encourage children's curiosity is to stay curious themselves. As teachers we have a tendency to fall back on what we know, but curiosity is like a muscle: it atrophies without use. To keep it strong, we need to adopt the perspective of young children, and remain intensely conscious of what we don't know.

The story of the baby seagull is very fresh in my mind because this week I was fortunate to see 2 baby seagulls.  We were walking around The Mount on a beautiful summers day  - this is a walk I have done many times.   There are parts of the track that I have ventured off many times but there is one particular spot that I would not have visited since my childhood.  This area is known to divers and we were curious to see what we could find amongst the rocks and tidal pools.  We had no success in finding any kaimoana, although we were able to cool our feet.    As we were climbing back up to the track there they were, 2 baby seagulls - how very exciting.

This moment reminded me of taking the time to be curious because we don't know what exciting learning and discovers we will make when we leave the old well beaten track.  Teaching can be like an old well trodden familiar path but when we are brave/curious enough to abandon our plans and let curiosity rule then I am sure we will be delighted by the results.

Reflective Question: How do I show that I actively promote the well-being of all ākonga for whom I am responsible in my practice? 
I am meeting Criteria 2 by ensuring to the best of my ability that the teachers in workshops are valued participants,  respected for the ideas and knowledge that they bring but also stretched in their thinking which will ensure the well-being of the tamariki. This blog is also a way of being responsible for the ākonga as this gets shared with the teachers in the ELP leadership cluster.
As I thoughtful and reflectively consider my own teaching practices in line with latest research then I am actively promoting the well being of all ākonga.  I am prepared to reflect on my practice and make the changes necessary to ensure the best outcomes for children. Moving off the older and familiar track can be uncomfortable but it is an exciting learning space.  

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