Critical Literacy has been on my mind a great deal of late ... and I’ve been struggling to write a post on it. I thought it was because I couldn’t get my words out the way I wanted, but I realise now that it’s because it’s too broad a topic.
So. I am going to focus on Critical Literacy in relation to the big bad EYLF product-monster. It seems that everyone is jumping on the EYLF bandwagon – both on the world wide web and the very accessible and free Facebook.
All over the internet there are apps and templates to buy as well as for free. There are web-pages to become paid members of so that you can download templates galore. Not to mention the EYLF program websites left right and centre. I don’t doubt that some are designed and sold by people with genuine intentions who are knowledgeable and experienced. There are also those who have genuine intentions, who simply lack sound knowledge.
Then there are the OTHERS. There are those that are merely using the letters E and Y and L and F to get your attention and then do nothing about it. There are those who distract you with ‘Bling’ - things that others have done. Do these places have something genuine to offer you that you otherwise couldn’t do yourself? Are they even presenting you with original ideas? How are they even relevant to the EYLF and the NQS?
The EYLF is not about templates or computer programs. It’s not about putting EVERYTHING across a page and cross referencing it and saying that you are meeting all the requirements.
You are a consumer. We all are. It’s important that you critically reflect upon what others tell you. It is important that you make informed decisions about where you spend your time and money. If a company tells you that their product will meet all the requirements, or that they will make it easy, then you need to ask yourself some serious questions ...
A super clever friend of mine posted somewhere sometime at some point on Facebook (she should know who she is) that if something is easy, is it worth it? So you need to ask yourself, if your job is easy, is it worth it? Are YOU worthy of the children in your care? Shouldn’t you be working hard to give them what they deserve? Are you putting the effort in to understanding your responsibilities? Are you putting in effort to understand the children and what they want and need from you? Its not about ticking boxes to make sure that you are compliant. It’s not about being easy.
The whole NQS is about reflecting ... asking questions about intent and finding answers. It doesn’t mean that we are always going to come to the ‘right’ conclusion the first time around. Or the second or the third? It doesn’t mean that we are going to find the one ‘right’ way and then stay there ... The thing about the NQS and the EYLF is that there is a WRONG way ... but there are so many right ways. You need to find a right way for you ... and that way is not about a product (a computer program, a template, an app). Its not about a product, its about PROCESS! Process is how children learn, and it should be about how we work. We should work through process, a cycle of learning and planning rather than an end product.
We are not, as Anne Stonehouse put it, an industry. We don’t produce! She said it beautifully here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/national-quality-standard-professional-learning-program-nqs-plp/profession-or-industry-you-choose/551417674900216
So, I am questioning the content of some of these pages, their intent and purpose, and their ability to provide you: the consumer – with support, guidance and answers.
Read the EYLF. Read the Principles and the Practices and reflect on them in relation to YOURSELF as an educator. What are you proud of? What are you challenged by? What are you learning about yourself? What are the children teaching you? What has surprised you about your teaching?
I know you’re possibly lost and scared and intimidated. I know that change does this. But I can tell you (I’ve written about this before). That reading the EYLF and the NQS over and over, and reflecting on them in relation to my professional practice have really deepened my understandings of the documents but most importantly MYSELF! I’m even at a point where I question the NQS/EYLF!
You didn't see that one coming did you?
Yes it’s true. I question it. In fact, I’m starting to question almost everything! It’s driving me a bit mad actually. It’s making me a bit dizzy! I feel a little bit ADHD at times.
So. What’s my point? Well. When you think of purchasing a product, do you ask yourself any questions? For example: Who has designed this product, and are they qualified and experienced enough to be supporting me? Are they early childhood trained/educated? Have they worked in early childhood education and care for long? Can I do this myself with the resources I have at hand? (camera, computer and printer, word processing or publishing program such as MS Word or Publisher, paper, pens, glue/adhesive, photocopier etc.) ... Do I need to subscribe or buy a product to do what I have always done?
The EYLF has given us LANGUAGE and IDEAS which were based upon theories. Why are we now being sold products? And inappropriate books and ideas? Why are we desperately flocking to Facebook pages simply because they have EYLF somewhere in their page name? Why are we desperately buying apps and joining web pages as members to download things? Is it because THEY are telling us that we need them?
There are just so many companies it seems – using emotional manipulation and underhanded tactics to try and get you to buy their products. Don’t believe that they care about you and your work life balance. They are a business. They intrinsically want your money in exchange for their product or services. This is critical literacy! This is looking at what you are being told and questioning whether it’s true!
Look, I am a business. I’ve never kept it a secret. But, mine is a business that at this point in time doesn’t have a product to sell. Mine is a business that has sat dormant for over 3 years. I am clearly in no huge rush! Right now I’m just doing what I normally do on a day to day basis. I mentor. I think and engage in conversations. I reflect and I write. I am not here to take advantage of you, or indeed anyone. If you don’t like what I think, or what I have to say, you are more the welcome, indeed, you are encouraged to go elsewhere. I know that not everyone will ‘get’ me and that is ok.
So, go forth and ask questions. Do your research – and I don’t mean ask a question on a Facebook page! Go deeper than that! Read. Think. Question. Reflect. Read some more. Think more. Question more! Get it? Got it? Great!
This is really not exactly the post I wanted to write ... It’s not where I wanted to go with Critical Literacy, but it’s where we ended up. I shall have to write the post I wanted to write later when the words come to me and I’m properly inspired!
© Teacher’s Ink. 2013