Passion versus Reason
“Childhood has become the battleground of the unreasonable.” Wow! I read that statement recently and it certainly got me thinking. What Professor Andrew Whitehouse meant, as he goes on to explain, is that so many activities, theories and practices around early childhood evoke a passionate response. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except he believes in some cases that passion can override reason.
I must admit I can see his point. Just look at the people who argue against immunisation for children, citing studies of harmful immunisation effects which have long been discredited in the scientific and general community. Have they never seen the effects of polio, or what chickenpox can do to an unborn child?
And I certainly had a dose of passion when I was trying to breastfeed my own children. We all know breastfeeding is best right, but let’s also consider the circumstances and health of the mother and baby. Oh how I wish I’d employed my reason earlier as a first time mother and told the baby health nurse that by giving my starving baby a bottle I was in fact not committing a mortal sin.
I was thinking of this passion versus reason argument the other day when there was discussion on our Facebook page about educators and teachers. Some of the comments came from people passionately defending their profession. Good to see! But was the comment they were responding to really about educators versus teachers, or was it trying to highlight the very real differences in the educational frameworks or philosophies underpinning children’s services and schools?
The EYLF is a relationship based curriculum. Developmental psychologists have demonstrated the importance of ‘Attachment Theory.’ While parents form the primary attachments with children, educators create secondary attachments which establish the secure base essential for a child to learn.
From a neuroscience perspective too learning can’t physically occur within the brain until secure relationships are formed. These secure relationships are created with meaningful, nurturing interactions. This in turn allows children to play and explore the environment.
Recently more and more research is entering the education field which highlights the importance of these relationships and belonging.
It is unfortunate that many teachers are taught at university not to form close relationships with children, to keep up a barrier and not let children know anything about their life. As discussed in a previous blog, “Teaching factories versus rich learning environments ” much of our current school educational system is based on a model that grew out of the industrial revolution. This assumes children will learn if they are given information and the opportunity to process and reproduce it. Experienced educators and teachers know this is not the case.