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Volume 4, Number 3 - April 2016

Disrupting the separation of adult and child worlds: The early childhood teacher as everyday philosopher

This narrative journey shares our thoughts as educators about the separation of adult and child worlds, multiple identities and influences on how identities are formed. We discuss aspects of our philosophy and pedagogy that have been emerging as a form of learning potentiality and dialogue around practice. So where has this journey been taking us? One recurring theme in our dialogue has come from our discovery that paradoxes related to the concept of democracy are political in nature, but are at the same time pedagogical questions too, because, as the philosopher Foucault has shown, power and knowledge are interrelated and cannot be separated (Olssen, 2006). We see that, at the heart of teachers’ discussions about children, there are issues of power and identity formation, especially in respect to scrutinising how their image of the child is socially constructed. The term ‘identity’ implies a singular form. However, as will be explored in this article, it is through negotiation of multiple identities, personal and professional, that we are enabled to work on ‘self’. How this search for ‘identities’ is enacted is by nature ethical and raises issues of social justice. Social justice, in turn, is essentially concerned with issues of power. We will draw attention to these issues of identity, social justice and power through analysis of narratives from New Zealand practice and pedagogical documentation.


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