teaching and learning in a post--DAP world

teaching and learning in a post--DAP world
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  This article was downloaded by:[Graue, Beth]On:6 June 2008 Access Details:[subscription number 793846182]Publisher:RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Early Education & Development Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t775653644 Teaching And Learning In A Post-DAP World Elizabeth Graue aa Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison,Online Publication Date:01 May 2008To cite this Article:Graue, Elizabeth (2008) 'Teaching And Learning In A Post-DAPWorld', Early Education & Development, 19:3, 441 — 447To link to this article: DOI:10.1080/10409280802065411URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10409280802065411PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use:http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdf Thisarticlemaybeusedforresearch,teachingandprivatestudypurposes.Anysubstantialorsystematicreproduction,re-distribution,re-selling,loanorsub-licensing,systematicsupplyordistributioninanyformtoanyoneisexpresslyforbidden.Thepublisherdoesnotgiveanywarrantyexpressorimpliedormakeanyrepresentationthatthecontentswillbecompleteoraccurateoruptodate.Theaccuracyofanyinstructions,formulaeanddrugdosesshouldbeindependentlyverifiedwithprimarysources.Thepublishershallnotbeliableforanyloss,actions,claims,proceedings,demandorcostsordamageswhatsoeverorhowsoevercausedarisingdirectlyorindirectlyinconnectionwithor arising out of the use of this material.     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   G  r  a  u  e ,   B  e   t   h   ]   A   t  :   1   2  :   3   9   6   J  u  n  e   2   0   0   8 TEACHING AND LEARNING IN A POST-DAP WORLD   GRAUE Teaching and Learningin a Post-DAP World Elizabeth Graue  Department of Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison Recentlyaschooldistrictcolleaguerecountedaconversationwithayoungkinder-garten teacher that had shaken her to her core. The kindergarten teacher (let’s callher Ms. Post) said that nobody talks about developmentally appropriate practice(DAP) anymore—everyone is way past that. My colleague and I, two mature (OK,let’s just call it as it is: We’re old) early childhood veterans, gasped in recognitionof this crystallization of a reality. Kindergarten, which always represents to me awindow on early childhood, was evolving in ways that were heart-wrenchinglydisturbing.A good story? Sure. But how is it related to a special issue on teaching in earlychildhood education (ECE)? I see it as a snapshot of a moment in time—a windowinto broader issues related to teaching and learning in ECE. In this essay I explorethe context for this story, making connections to what I see as the state of ourknowledge about ECE. In addition I examine metaphors that have shaped ourthinking and therefore our action related to research on ECE teaching. Finally, Isuggest what I see as the heart of the matter. But I won’t yet tell you what that is.First, I want to put forward the underlying ideas. THE CONTEXT(S) I think it is fair to say that kindergarten trends reflect patterns in ECE more gener-ally. There is a feeling that we are moving away from traditionally develop- EARLY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT, 19 (3), 441–447Copyright © 2008 Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN: 1040-9289 print / 1556-6935 onlineDOI: 10.1080/10409280802065411Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Elizabeth Graue, Department of Cur-riculum&Instruction,464aTEB,225N.MillsStreet,Madison,WI53706.E-mail:graue@education.wisc.edu     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   G  r  a  u  e ,   B  e   t   h   ]   A   t  :   1   2  :   3   9   6   J  u  n  e   2   0   0   8 mentalist approaches viewed as child centered to more content-focused perspec-tives related in linear ways to student outcomes. Decision making and action arenow to be guided by overarching goals and ultimately by student outcomes. Forsome this is terrifying; for others it is a move forward. Whether the cup is half fullorhalfemptydependsonhowyouconceptualizestudentlearningandtheteacher’srole in that process.Although we seem to know more and more about education, we seem to under-stand less and less about teaching. Large-scale data collections focused on chil-dren’scharacteristicsandtheirlearningcontextsandoutcomesgivetheimpressionthat we know how children are living. But more important, they also imply that weknow how we should organize learning experiences to enhance children’s lives.Considerablerecentinvestmentinlarge-scalestudieshasprovidedtheopportunityfor researchers to examine all sorts of characteristics and relationships. We knowabout the number of children who are likely go to the library on a regular basis,correlationalrelationshipsbetweenthenumberofhoursinchildcareandratingsof prosocial behavior, the cost–benefit ratio of high-quality preschool programs, andthe estimated number of words children of different economic groups hear in theirhomes.Yet, as a field, we still lack consensus on how to teach, what to teach, and whento teach. There are historical clusters of agreement (teaching about the post officein February), correlational clusters (orienting our teaching so that all children canread at grade level by Grade 3), and curious clusters (teaching the calendar to pre-school and early elementary students). But our knowledge of teaching, and there-fore guidance for policy and practice, is not particularly robust. This lack of cer-tainty, infuriating to so many, comes out of what I see as a metaphoric muddle—our assumptions about how teaching and learning work that drive our measuresand understandings of outcomes. In expanding on this idea, I rely on ideas fromLakoff and Johnson’s classic 1980 work  Metaphors We Live By to explore how themetaphors inherent to two major conceptualizations of teaching 1 shape how we dothejob,howweresearchthetopic,andhowweevaluatethemeritsofvariedteach-ing practices. Because not everyone uses the same metaphor, the ways they name,describe, and judge the practice of education are often in conflict. Plus, each meta-phorhasaverydifferenttheoryofactionthatpropelsitsusersindifferentways.Toset the stage, I offer the following: Metaphorispervasiveineverydaylife,notjustinlanguagebutinthoughtandaction.Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is funda-mentallymetaphoricalinnature…Ourconceptsstructurewhatweperceive,howweget around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual system 442 GRAUE 1 Inthisdiscussionofmetaphorsofteaching,Irelyontheirtypical,mainstreaminstantiationsratherthan their intended theoretical foundations.     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   G  r  a  u  e ,   B  e   t   h   ]   A   t  :   1   2  :   3   9   6   J  u  n  e   2   0   0   8 thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in suggest-ing that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think, whatwe experience and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor. (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, p. 3) DAP ThenotionofDAPwasarevolutionarymoveinthehistoryofearlychildhoodcur-riculum.Motivatedbyconcernsaboutcurriculumescalation,DAPwasastanceonprofessionalism, constructed from empirical knowledge about child development.Teaching was to be guided by what we know about typical development, about anindividual child’s development, and about the child’s culture (Bredekamp &Copple, 1997). Powerful ECE groups advocated the position, and it was empiri-cally investigated, with researchers arguing that use of DAP leads to more test-measured learning and to fewer stress-related behaviors (e.g., Burts et al., 1992).Despitethetriangulationmadepossiblethroughtheuseofthethreeorientingtoolsof knowledge of general development, specific individual development, and cul-tural contexts, DAP proved to be a hard sell, particularly in the elementary grades.It was variously critiqued for being about play, not learning; for being about mid-dle-class norms for development; and for being elitist (e.g., Lubeck, 1998).I’veoftenwonderedwhyDAPprovokedsuchnegativereactionsandwhyitwasnot ultimately incorporated into practice with children under the age of 9. Onehunch is that it is a hard thing to grab onto, particularly for those not steeped in theculture of child development. DAP is caught in a tautology—to be put into prac-tice,itrequiresknowledgeofdevelopment;butwithoutknowledgeof,andfaithin,development, it lacks authority. The metaphor that serves as its engine—develop-ment—is so encompassing that it is simultaneously a theoretical frame and thefoundation and outcome of practice. In fact, development is such a stand-aloneconcept that it has been difficult for me to find a metaphor to illustrate it.One of the key metaphors within DAP—that it is child centered—is an orien-tational metaphor that organizes a whole system of concepts in relation to one an-other. Orientational metaphors use spatial relations rooted in our experiences. InthecaseofDAP,conceptualizationofteachingcomesprimarily  from thechild.Itisframed as what the child needs, as responsive, as engaging. In addition, it comes  from two types of prototypical children: a developmental child, located in norms;and a cultural child, located in knowledge of culture. It is invested with both pro-fessional knowledge and a democratic orientation. When conceptualization of teaching comes from the child, the child is the organizing metaphor. Thus, withinDAP, curriculum is seen as an integrated endeavor, mirroring the integrated con-ception of development wherein the physical, cognitive, social–emotional, andlanguagedimensionsco-occurbutnotinalockstep,unifiedmanner.Anintegrated TEACHING AND LEARNING IN A POST-DAP WORLD 443     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   G  r  a  u  e ,   B  e   t   h   ]   A   t  :   1   2  :   3   9   6   J  u  n  e   2   0   0   8 curriculum is advocated to meet these developmental needs; the concept of teach-ing works from an idea-based foundation more than a content-oriented perspec-tive.OneofthekeyelementswithinDAPisaconcernaboutacurriculum–childmis-match—harm from exposing children to content and experiences that are too ad-vanced given their developmental level. It is signaled in arguments for why wechoose particular activities or content in our teaching and is illustrated in theself-affirming idea that, of course, we wouldn’t teach calculus in kindergarten. 2 From a child-centered perspective this asserting is more than mere folly; it is seenaspotentiallydamagingtothedevelopingchildbecauseitisaskingtoomuchofanimmature system. Echoing maturationist views of development that are ill fitted tomore current developmental theories, the damage metaphor lives in practice thatcautionsagainstundulyforcingchildrenintoknowledgebeyondtheircapabilities.But for those outside this developmentalist frame, teaching as DAP lacks direc-tionalpower;itisseenasteachingwithoutaplan(Goldstein,2007).Itisviewedassoft, lacking rigor, as sorely separate from the rest of the system of schooling. It isan especially difficult practice in the primary grades where class sizes and pres-sures to accomplish particular goals make the idea of teaching from children’sneeds exhausting: How do you teach from 23 different places? Where in the worlddo you go? This perspective might be most easily seen in relation to one of theother metaphors that shape early childhood teaching in today’s education sys-tem— standards-based teaching and accountability. STANDARDS ECE has recently moved into the era of education through standards-based ac-countability.Thenotionofstandards,generatedinthekindergarten–Grade12sys-tem and now extended to the pre-kindergarten care and education context, high-lightsthesystemicnatureofeducation.Wheneducationisseenasasystemguidedby explicitly articulated and skillfully aligned standards, it is hoped that all chil-dren will be provided with the experiences and knowledge necessary to succeed ina very complex world.There are multiple metaphors that enliven the idea of standards-based educa-tion—metaphors that serve to make this reform idea incredibly powerful in thecurrent education context. One way to conceptualize standards-based education isas a mapping function. Using the orientational frame mentioned earlier, stan-dards-based education suggests that you can’t make real progress if you don’tknow where you are going. Highlighting the importance of systemic intentionalityin schooling, standards tell where we want children to go in their educational jour- 444 GRAUE 2 How this will stand up in a system that has kindergartners learning algebra is difficult to predict.
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