By: Diane Kashin, Ed.D, RECE. Teaching cannot be separated from learning in Reggio-inspired practice. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with educators at various stages of their journey and while I am often teaching, I am always learning. Recently, during the second of a series of eight sessions with 100 educators from Upper Canada Child Care. Cindy Green, my co-facilitator and I shared this quote written by Loris Malaguzzi in the context of discussing pedagogical documentation.
Teachers must leave behind an isolated, silent mode of working, which leaves no traces. Instead they must discover ways to communicate and document the children’s evolving experiences at school. They must prepare a steady flow of quality information targeted to parents but appreciated by children and teachers ~ Loris Malaguzzi (1998, p. 69-70)
Quotes provoke thoughts and bring meaning about topical issues to the forefront. Our objective was to focus on the pedagogical documentation that could emerge from a group marble experience. The use of quotes to generate discussion can be a great tool for teaching adults. Often a quote pulls together the context of theory to application. Beverlie Dietze and I write about using quotes to provoke in the instructor’s manual, a companion document to our textbook, Empowering Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education. We suggest dividing up the learners whether they be ECE students or professionals into pairs. This process is often described as Think Pair Share. We suggest asking the learners to consider the quote that leads into each chapter in the textbook. Then, we suggest asking learners to think about the context of the quote. For example, what does it tell you about the chapter? What does it tell you about the authors’ perspectives? Then by asking the group to create a visual representation of the quote using a quote generator such as my current favourite, QuotesCover learners can experience the quote. Bringing together the larger group, the learning from the process can be discussed. Once created, these quotes can then be shared via social media, making teaching and learning visible to a broader audience. Teaching and learning go hand in hand. This experience demonstrates the connection, as learners teach, and teachers learn in the process of experience. It is the reflection on the experience that leads to the construction of knowledge.
Quotes can be a provocation to learn. There is so much written about Reggio-inspired provocation and clearly there is a quest to understand the meaning of the word. As described by Gandini (1998) provocation is something arriving by surprise. It is however, the reflection on the experience that occurred from the provocation that leads to learning. The teacher does not have control of the provocation outcome because the result arrives by surprise. I was surprised when I landed on the topic of quotations for provocation as a new blog post. Reflecting on our experience with marble runs during our session and on questions that were asked about the Malaguzzi quote, I began to formulate the title and the ideas for the post, thinking that I would provide a collection of quotes to provoke. I was pleasantly surprised to read a post in one of my favourite Facebook groups; The Reggio Emilia Approach asking for our “favorite ECE quote? Most inspiring? Ready, set, go!” Here are some of the quotes shared! I especially like the tattoo! Now that is commitment to Reggio-inspired teaching and learning!
For me, my favourite quote will always be, “it is through others that we develop into ourselves” by Lev Vygotsky as it exemplifies my life as a constructivist teacher and learner.
It was the quote I chose, as the opening to my doctoral dissertation, Reaching the Top of the Mountain: The Impact of Emergent Curriculum on the Practice and Self-Image of Early Childhood Educators. I am so grateful for others whether they be colleagues, critical friends, Facebook friends or Twitter followers as they inspire my work and provoke my thinking. Of course, I am forever indebted to the authors of these quotes as they provide the provocation for deep thinking. While I will never be able to meet many of them, every now and again, an opportunity presents itself, and I am able to meet the original quote generator. I am looking forward to May 13 and 14th when Dr. David Elkind will be speaking at the Play and Nature Summit in Toronto at Black Creek Pioneer Village. I hope you will be able to join me! David Elkind has provoked much thinking and reflection from his words of wisdom.
One of the quotes included in the thread of comments following the request on Facebook was this one, which I had not heard of before, but sums up my current thinking about teaching and learning.
Thank you to others inspired by the complex beauty of teaching and learning. I am grateful for your generous spirit and commitment to your work. If you have any quotes that you would like to share, I welcome your comments and feedback.