This week I have participated in the International Study Association for Teachers and Teaching’s conference here in Auckland. Its theme was “Teaching for tomorrow today”. What a stimulating and inspiring time it has been! Research on teachers and teaching provides so many opportunities for curiosity and inquiry to flourish, and opportunities to theorise, problematise, debate and search for contextually appropriate responses to big educational questions internationally and within Aotearoa-New Zealand. Giant-sized working theories in action with some of the superheroes of this world: Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter, Linda Smith, John Loughran and Stuart McNaughton.
One theme of note has been how information saturated we are today. Information of all kinds on all topics is at our fingertips – literally – through search engines. Multiple tabs can be open at once from different sources. Several speakers have then drawn attention to the importance of ensuring that today’s learners can therefore think critically and evaluate information sources. These are important skills of critical literacy to accompany thinking, reasoning, problem solving, interpreting and applying to specific examples, fostering knowledge creation activities, collaborative projects, and ultimately improved learning and productive and satisfying lives.
I would argue these critical literacy skills develop in young children in their prior to school experiences in their families, communities and in early childhood settings as they participate in conversations, hear information, learn new words and ideas and attempt to apply and extrapolate these to new contexts and experiences. In doing so they are adapting, applying, thinking, engaging and theorising. Hence, I draw attention to children’s working theories again as an important dimension and outcome of early childhood education experiences.
The time spent at the conference, and “keeping up” with work, means there has been no time to develop a post this week about the concept of working theories and the ways research has begun to exemplify these and consider pedagogy and assessment. Instead I have found an interesting link to another blog and a post that describes and provides examples of word riddles/puzzles that foster children’s thinking. By its location in Serbia indicates that this is an international provocation. I hope you find this interesting too. See http://blog.novakdjokovicfoundation.org//?s=riddles Next week more about working theories – I promise.
And as for the 23 things programme, I’ve sussed out the blog comments (thanks Damon and Toni) and this week’s task was a blog post with a link to another blog – tick! Next week Damon says we tackle Twitter, something I’ve already tried with minimal success so I look forward to successfully tweeting the URL of my blog site LOL 🙂 A digital world indeed!