Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Mediums...

It is the last few days that we, here in Sweden, can reflect and contribute our ideas, thoughts and reflections on the new proposed preschool curriculum before decisions are made and the curriculum is presented.

So I have been taking another look, reading, thinking, counting words - to see if that will help... and actually it does, sometimes you have a focus on a word that you think is not being mentioned enough or being used too much - so counting how often words are used can give you a healthy reality check... and sometimes it lets you know that your suspicions were sort of correct.

This post is focussing on the term mediums... because there are many mediums for learning... and in the curriculum we are encouraged to use many when working with young children. There is though a focus on using the digital medium. I wonder why there is this need to specify the digital - several times the curriculum writes - digital and other mediums (or something similar). Why is only the digital medium ever specified... surely the term medium is something that is discussed in the teacher training programmes, and that the digital tool is one of many tools that can be used to support children's learning across the curriculum.

By singling out "digital" are we giving this medium more status than others...
if we are talking about equality, diversity, equal value and democracy in the curriculum... then maybe the same should be done with the words and mediums being chosen.

This time I chose to count words in the second section - about aims and guidelines ( I would like to pint out that in Sweden we do not have aims for children, but aims for the education, care and the setting).
In this section the term "learning" is mentioned seven times more than "play/imagination" and six more times than "explore/discover", three more times than "care", twelve times more than "create". It is also used two and half times more than "communication/conversation" and 8 times more than "listen/reflect/question".

Yes, this is a curriculum so maybe learning should have the highest level... but in this count I have excluded the words, teach, education, develop etc... it is purely learn.

How does this all impact us as educators?
the more we read/hear a word, the more importance it is given. Why is the word play not used more often as a method of learning throughout the text... in the same way that digital is being used?
Play is a medium of learning.
Why is art (dance, music etc) not being used as a medium of learning... but just as one mention as part of creating... which is mentioned twice (skapande/skapa - not the kind of create in the sense of us educators creating a learning environment - but the children being creative with the arts as a way of learning).

I posted yesterday about how art allows children to look more closely, to explore an object or project in a new way... and yet this is not conveyed in the preschool curriculum in the same precise way that digital learning is being - why digital? Why? (you can read that post here - The art of learning)

I am all for using both digital and analog as tools of learning. But will the focus on digital in the curriculum as a medium mean that there is a biased focus on this particular medium? it is clear from images shown on social media that settings that show their digital mediums in action get a great deal of praise... and yes, it is amazing... it is such a fabulous medium to work with... but I can't understand this power it is being given in the curriculum. Why is the word play not given that same power as a medium, why is music and art, and movement not being given that same power.
A medium equality (jämdställdhet) - a medium diversity (mångfald). Mixed media. 100 hundred languages.

if we are focussing on certain languages on certain mediums, it means we are closing off our listening to the other languages, the other mediums. We need to keep ourselves open to the children's languages learning so that we offer mediums of learning that will allow them to enhance the skills, knowledge etc that they possess, challenge them in their weaker "languages" as well as introduce them to new "languages" - all at the same time as honouring the identity of the child, the group, and the community.

I have to admit that it concerns me that some areas are being lifted more than others... for me this should be a part of the teacher training and not the curriculum.






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