good teaching cont.

week 3
The Good Preschool Teacher
• “All teachers who enter: Be prepared to
tell your story.” (p. vii)
• “If teachers are to continue to grow,
they must at some point begin to study
themselves.” (pp. vii-viii)
Ayers’ assumptions
• Teachers are a rich and worthy source
of knowledge about teaching—about the
details of everyday practice.
• Because teachers are chief instruments
of their own practice, self-awareness is
valuable, perhaps indespensable
• Teachers draw on training, skills,
experience, habit, personal values, art,
science, and native wit to do their work.
• “These kids have a hole in their trust.
That hole needs to be repaired. Some of
them, on the street, will just go off
with anyone. That’s not trusting, that’s
passive and inappropriate. We play a lot
of peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek, those
kind of things. We kind of go back to
the beginning.” (p. 103)
The Craft
ch I: good teaching: building the base
• good teachers learn, each day, to pat
themselves on the back and kick themselves
in the butt. The trick is to find the right
• “It's the little details that are vital. Little
things make big things happen.” (John
good teaching cont.
• the 5! model, like any model, attempts to
simplify a complex reality, making it more
• teaching is a complex activity. But
underlying the complexity are some basic
ideas. Make sense of these. Make them part
of who you are.
• explore cultural images of teaching.
good teaching cont.
• good teaching takes many forms, as do good
teachers (good therapists, coaches,
carpenters, etc.). Personalities differ.
These differences are, in contemporary
American culture, exaggerated. Good
teachers, as do practitioners of any craft,
share basic knowledge, skills, attitudes, and
values. The base of good teaching, whatever
the surface differences, has great
similarities. These similarities are what a
craft is.
good teaching cont.
good teaching
• requires deep cultural understandings
• moves students
• is multi-faceted
• is demanding
• requires a strong invisible base
• is explicit
• is supportive
• is perspectival
• is open-minded
• takes many forms
• is respectful
• seeks invisibility
Donaldson review
• to turn an existing state of affairs into a
desired one requires understanding the
existing one
– what are kids actually like
– who do we want them to become
• need to reconsider widely held beliefs
about what kids are like
I just wanted to say thanks for making us do all those
observations and having us put together binders for our
placements. I just had a few interviews, and the principals
were impressed with all the work I did. Also I got a job!!
Thanks for helping to prepare me for this moment. I am
going to be a pre-school teacher in Beardstown, IL at Grand
Avenue Elementary School. Most of my students are
English Language Learners. Almost all of them speak
Spanish, and a few speak French or an African dialect. I'm
going to spend the next week setting up my classroom and
doing home visits with my students and their families. I'm
extremely excited and nervous to start! Any advice for this
novice teacher? I'll be sure to keep you updated
throughout the year! Thanks again for helping me to reach
this moment!
Ilyse 12
D 4: failing to reason or understand?
• compatibility and incompatibility
• class and subclass problem
• how do McGarrigle's tasks differ from
Piaget's? implications?
• "In any event, the questions the
children were answering were
frequently not the questions the
experimenter had asked." (46)
D 5: what is and what must be
• inference
• implications of Cole's experiment (50)
• impossible to take account of this
evidence and at the same time to
maintain that children under 6 or 7
incapable of reasoning deductively. If
sometimes they do not appear to reason
deductively, look more closely. If we can
observe them reasoning spontaneously,
we must ask why. (52-53)
• if and if and only if
• conclusions on 55 & 56
Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
• began as a zoologist
• worked in Binet’s lab in Paris, fascinated by
kids’ incorrect answers
• first writings 1920’s, becomes known in US
• “patron saint” of ECE
– seen as supporting core ECE belief: young
children think etc differently from older
children and adults
– view of young children’s cognitive and
other limitations supports dominant ECE
view of early schooling
• Piagetian theory in US: middle Piaget
• In 1970s (late Piaget) Piaget rejected
much of middle Piaget
• American Piagetians ignore late Piaget
• refused to make explicit educational
recommendations, allowing many
“translators” to emerge
• meticulous observer of young children
• liberated developmentalism in US from
behaviorism and psycho-dynamic theory
• Piagetian theory complex—few people
who claim to be Piagetians actually
read him
• warm, appealing, handsome person—
• Piagetian tasks amazingly stable
– if you give a child a Piagetian task,
she will perform exactly the way the
Piaget predicted
Donaldson (20 years after Children’s
• Piaget chooses to ignore our ordinary,
rich “lived experience.” He does not take
this to be any part of his concern as a
psychologist, and sometimes he treats
with scorn the very idea of studying it. . .
. The question is whether Piaget's
epistemic subject is so shorn of the
essentials of human functioning—even of
human cognitive functioning—that the
theory is quite inadequate. I have come
to believe that this is so. (1996, p. 326)