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A weekend for early childhood educators to encounter the work of Reggio Emilia and develop their own competences in working across the range of expressive languages to support their children's learning and meaning-making.
9.45 – 10: Welcomes
10 – 10.20: Introducing the Hundred Languages of Children – 'this fantastic theory'. Peter Moss (Professor of Education, Institute of Education, London)
"The theory of the 'hundred languages of children' and the way it informs pedagogical work is an important part of the identity of the municipal schools of Reggio Emilia. The 'hundred languages of children' refers to the many different ways children (indeed all human beings) understand, represent, communicate and express, ranging from the language of drawing to the language of mathematics.
In this short introduction, I want to offer my understandings about this theory, including: its meaning, what languages it encompasses and where it originated; the images of the child and the teacher that it assumes; the values (for example, democracy, dialogue, inter-connectedness, uncertainty and wonder) that it embodies; and its implications for early childhood education today, including ideas about learning and the conditions needed to enable these ideas to be enacted.
This will inevitably provoke questions about current government policy, with its focus on a very limited number of languages and readying for a compulsory schooling that emphasises the separation of languages. Malaguzzi wrote in a famous poem that "children have a hundred languages: they rob them of ninety nine school and culture". Is that true of us today? And how might we move to an education that valued and sustained multi-lingualism in children and young people?"
10.25 – 12.30: Working in Many Languages of Learning in Reggio - Annalisa Rabotti (pedagogista, Reggio Emilia.) Annalisa will explore in depth a project which illustrates and reflects on working in multiple languages into an enquiry of children. She will explore both the enriched learning of the children and the educators.
12.30 - 1.30: lunch
1.30 – 2.45: How can we begin to create places for learning in many expressive languages? A participatory exercise, exploring a video'd observation; teasing out many possibilities, applying and valuing principles of enquiry.
2.45 – 3: break
3 – 4: Annalisa will make a final contribution, being a response to questions tabled at close of morning, reflections on issues raised during the preceding exercise, plus a 'surprise'.
Book now! Ring 0191 261 7666 if you have particular queries.
I have recently been going though my Reggio Study Tour journals and came across this entry about working with new teachers and others as part of a collegiate group of co-learners. As part of a discussion group facilitated by Claudia Giudici, a conversation arose about the frustrations of working with others who may not be experienced in their roles or familiar with their approaches of working alongside children. I remember there was much talk from the international group present about trying to inspire or persuade others to work in a different way, one often perceived as the Reggio Approach. In a sense, it was about how to inspire the other, how to encourage change in those around us. Claudia reminded us that we were all educators of children i the process of change and evolving knowledge. Therefore it was necessary for us all to be aware of our roles both alongside of children and alongside of each other as educators. In working with others, she said, there was always an inherent danger of becoming the deliverer of practice or an applier of knowledge in particular methods of working. Instead, we should strive to always be co-protagonists in the learning processes of both the children and of ourselves as a team of educators and avoid seeing ourselves as any kind of expert. Claudia gave an example of how she approached a situation with two new teachers working in one of the Pre-Schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.
"In a discussion with two new teachers, I asked, 'what do you think about how you investigate colour with children?' Their response was 'the children must learn the primary colours and of course they must learn the names of colours too.' Of course, I knew that this is what nationally we are told but I knew that this was not the approach of the children as they are interested in the nuances of colour, the many shades of colour, the uses of colour and its expressive contexts. But, if I were to tell the teachers what to do, I would deny them the opportunity to think and find understanding. I would deny them possibilities of research and learning and for me to understand something like this from a different point of view. Instead, with the atelierista, we made a proposal that activated opportunities for the two new teachers to observe the children's exploration of colour and together we reflected on the children's approaches to colour in a real context. Hence the connection of theory and practice that developed and constructed meaning for the teachers and myself and not the application of my knowledge to another. Often, Claudia continued, pedagogisti work with the teachers on their questions, their strategies, their proposals of their daily encounters with children. "We spend much time reflecting on these, not in isolation but together."
Often, Claudia continued, pedagogisti work with the teachers on their questions, their strategies, their proposals of their daily encounters with children. "We spend much time reflecting on these, not in isolation but together." In this way, the action of the educator is not to tell, to model or to demonstrate but to generate the contexts that enable other educators and ourselves to observe, document and reflect upon the approaches to learning that children make in their own contexts. It is a process that challenges the quick fix solution of training and involves a researchful, sustained and dynamic process of professional learning that is co-constructed by peers in daily practice.