Experiences Build Dispositions

Intellect, Emotions, and Dispositions as Goals

I would like to offer an example of what is coming by inviting you to read Teacher Tom’s post on What Was in Those Boxes?

The story illustrates a way to document both opportunities and facilitation in way that can be agreed upon locally to exist or not exist. No outside judgment required. What I am going to turn into documentation instruments has been written about for at least a hundred years. Nothing is new, but the language doesn’t bow to expert authorities. I am curious what everyone thinks about this, especially here in the beginning in November 2016 in the age of Trump.

Tom Hobson’s retelling the events of the arrival of school supplies illustrates another way of looking at early childhood education that is just as specific and “measurable” as any out there.

lgkatzI would say these children had an INTELLECTUAL experience, not an academic one, a distinction made clearly by Lilian Katz.
“Intellectual goals and their related activities are those that address the life of the mind in its fullest sense (e.g. reasoning, predicting, analyzing, questioning, etc.), including a range of aesthetic and moral sensibilities.”
An alternative QRIS would alter the “readiness” discourse, which seems to emphasize academic prowess at the expense of intellect, emotions, and dispositions. Why is that?

I think the answer is that neoliberal dogma wants the populace to be docile and obedient. Readiness for rigid, prison-like schools fits nicely. However, all of us know how destructive that is and hate it. Rather we wish to offer amiable spaces in which children thrive. I would say Tom Hobson’s event illustrates an amiable space. I can use it to show how an alternative system could be used to document and professionalize teaching young children.

The children had a certain, definable experience, Julianne Wurm in More Working in the Reggio Way uses the Italian word assemblea to label this kind of time, which is one of the key opportunities to look for in a school. The events of facilitation followed a particular sequence which you can find on The Learning Frame page here.

You can see how the events of the large group time then altered the free play time in an intentional way for the next passage on The Learning Frame. The children were intentional and cooperative; a local group of parents could agree upon what their intentions were. Two dimentions of their actions were that (1) all genders were making contributions to those shared intentions. and (2) using a simple record of who plays with whom outside, a social dynamic matrix, friendship pairings from outside play were irrelevant. New combinations of children were cooperating in those shared intentions. Those are concrete measures independent of the need to examine “quality.”

Essentially, the system you will see emerge uses an intellectual, dispositional structure: Opportunity + facilitation = experience as education. Recognize John Dewey?

We can all see describable dimensions of the opportunity and also see describable actions by the facilitator that enabled the flow. Those facilitation actions in the assemblea portion and the free play portion were distinctly different. I will show you what they were in a way that they can be tallied or observed on video recordings in a democratic, participatory, human direction in which no one is controlled or manipulated in any way. In other words no coercion, no readiness, no coaching, no technical assistance, and no exploitation.

It’s very possible.