By referencing the behavior of honeybees, Sandra Duncan, author of the upcoming book Honeycomb Hypothesis, offers memorable metaphors to richly illustrate how infants and toddlers learn through movement and open-ended exploration, especially in and with nature. In an article of the same name as the book, Duncan explains why “problematic pedagogy” which includes an overemphasis on direct instruction of specific facts or skills can lead teachers astray in planning lessons. “The reality is teachers really do not know what is happening inside children’s brains because we cannot see the schemas forming or taking place. We can only observe their visible actions, or patterns of play.”
Duncan continues, “There needs to be a shift in pedagogical paradigms from focusing on the acquisition of knowledge of basic facts such as shapes, colors, and alphabet, to a pedagogical emphasis on offering children opportunities for developing meaningful understandings.”
Learn more about the Honeycomb Hypothesis in a May 4 Early Childhood Investigations webinar, and sign up to be notified when Duncan’s latest book becomes available. Can't wait? Check out Duncan's earlier book, Bringing the Outside In.
for 10% off To Save or Savor? Sustainability Education in the Early Years.
Exchange Reflections are designed to help a team of people meet in-person or live online to think deeply together about a topic using an article from Exchange magazine as a guide. Included are discussion questions to help guide reflections, as well as a "Making Commitments" idea sheet to help prompt ideas into action. For your convenience, Exchange Reflections are available in PDF format and you can download immediately on your desktop.
Offer valid through May 12, 2021 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.
Delivered five days a week containing news, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.
ExchangeEveryDay is the official electronic newsletter for Exchange Press. It is delivered five days a week containing news stories, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.
We are forgetting the importance of being little and robbing children of their childhood by emphasizing and focusing on knowledge, which at times is nothing more than rote memorization, rather than concentrating on giving children opportunities and time for uninterrupted play with open-ended materials.
Sally, in my dad's words, I think you've hit the nail on the head by moving from rich observation to thoughtful support of children's play and exploration. I'm trying to remember who said we need to stop thinking about what we're teaching and instead focus on what the children are learning. (Hello, Exchange community, help me out!)
Absolutely agree with the summary in this article! I really see or have seen that teachers are trying so hard to give knowledge to children that they are interrupting young children's gaining concepts and information through their relationships with the world they should be exploring. It is about a "score" or a "concrete recitation" rather than a deeper understanding. I believe the fault lies in the fact that teachers/staff are not encouraged to really observe and/or do not have enough time to observe what children are doing and exploring, but rather solely concentrate on the outcome rather than the process of play and exploring.