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Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Education Essay

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Updated: Feb 12th, 2021

Politics of Truth

In “Becoming Post Culturally Reflective about Truth” by MacNaughton, the phrase “politics of truth” emerges as a new terminology relating to the formal education system and the development of a child. This term focuses on truth in the education of children. The truth in question is the persistent and repetitive discrimination of certain children by the education system. The system refuses to acknowledge that children are different and require different pedagogical approaches for proper and equitable development (MacNaughton, 2005).

Contentious Issues

After analysing the readings carefully, there are several issues that arise without showing a clear connection to the theme of pedagogy. While this field can be related to social equity and justice that is discussed by Farquhar in her work, the reference to the agency is not clearly outlined by the author. The need to have a society and a social system where children are given equal opportunity is important as the particular author points out (Styles & Hedges, 2007). The issue of equity alone justifies the need to examine the existing forms of educations system, their relation to the societies in which they are set, and the possible future changes that can instigate reforms (Hauser & Jipson, 1998). However, the articles fail to clearly bring out the real cause of the variance in outcomes in the education of children. While the education system takes all the blame for failing to address the needs of different children in the society, no comparison is made between the education system and the society to identify which of the institutions easily adapts to change.

Pedagogical Approach in Africa and Australia

In Australia and Africa, where the British held dominion over many territories over a significantly long period, most of the education systems conform to the European model of education. Formal discipline is high in the schools, and secular values dominate the education systems. In cases where there is some religious influence in the education system, it takes the form of Christianity in many territories formerly colonised by Great Britain. While these systems treat children who go through it equally in regard to the subjective processes of education, they fail to address the multicultural background of the children in schools. If the authorities responsible for the education of children decided to establish different and separate education systems to fit different social settings in a complex society, the efficiency of the system might be compromised. However, it is important that society and education systems be harmonised. Lack of this harmony is observed by Cannella in her book, “Deconstructing Early Childhood.” This is because the degrees of performance of individuals in school become different because of the varying levels of success that the education system has with each of the distinct sections of the society (Cannella, 1997).

It could be a plausible idea that different and distinct sections of the society can be turned into one social orientation in regard to the early development of children. This way, it is possible to ensure equal and fair treatment of children by the education system. However, radical the idea might seem; it is easier to adopt this approach based on the economic arguments that arise. On the other hand, political and social effects may have implications that surpass the economic impact of reforms on the education system. The general argument is that there is a debate on whether the real cause of the observed disparities in the education system or the diversity of society.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

It is clear that a multicultural learning environment is inevitable, particularly in some specific parts of the world. Children from different societies share a common learning system with one pedagogical approach (MacNaughton, 2005). Some form of enlightenment is necessary for the children to be equally prepared for later stages of learning where pedagogy cannot be applied. Since children are influenced to a great extent by the teachers responsible for their learning, the social and political orientation of the teacher is critical. It is obvious that teachers possess values of their own since they are adults who have been subjected to different social and political environments (Hauser & Jipson, 1998).

Consequently, it is necessary for the teachers to be dynamic in order for them to adopt a particular and specific pattern while dealing with each child. This way, the teacher is able to bring the children to the same platform so that they have equal opportunities in later stages of learning. The process of adjusting children to the same learning environment has a limited time window within which it can be affected. This is because pedagogy applies in the early stages of life. The relationship between pedagogy and time is justified by the theory of Developmentally Appropriate Practice. Particular practices are precisely bound to specific periods or stages of development in an individual’s life (Hauser & Jipson, 1998). On the other hand, the challenge to this approach is that some cultures attach more importance to a parent’s opinion while the opinion of a teacher is of little consequence. In such a situation, it is difficult for the teacher to ensure that all children in his or her charge have the same learning orientation.

The Pedagogical Landscape

All the authors appreciate that children are different in their social orientations. However, the approach that should be used to counter this disparity is a contentious issue to the analysts. Foucault pinpoints that there is lack of truth about ideologies of the process of learning (MacNaughton, 2005). He suggests that children can share a fair learning platform if they are exposed to the truth. According to him, if the children understood the truth about the personalities that influence their life, then it is possible for them to learn equally. Politics of truth, as this theory is referred to by Foucault, has a limitation arising from the fact that there may be no common truth about society.

Sloan Cannella argues that children are influenced by their societies in the struggle for supremacy among particular societies. According to her, individual societies deliberately influence a child’s understanding in order to gain an advantage over other children. In this case, education is viewed from a competitive perspective where individuals try to outdo each other by all means. Her solution to this problem is an analysis of certain aspects of society and the education system that facilitate this trend. It is then possible to eliminate oppression and prejudice through this approach (Cannella, 1997). She is indecisive over whether the solution should be applied to pedagogy itself or society.

On analysis of positions of different authorities on the issue, it is conclusive that culture has a powerful influence over the performance of an individual in an education system. There is a need to harmonise the effects of these different cultures to establish a unified mental approach towards education by individuals. However, different authorities on this issue offer varying solutions.

References

Cannella, G. S. (1997). Deconstructing early childhood education: social justice and revolution. New York: P. Lang.

Hauser, M. E., & Jipson, J. (1998). Intersections: feminisms/early childhoods. New York: P. Lang.

MacNaughton, G. (2005). Doing Foucault in early childhood studies: applying poststructural ideas. London: Routledge.

Styles, L., & Hedges, H. (2007). Theorising early childhood practice: emerging dialogues. Castle Hills, N.S.W.: Pademelon Press.

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