Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Lets talk about provocations...


Lets talk about provocations... What is a provocation? The options really are endless! Provocations are happening wether you come from a Reggio Emilia inspired centre or not. They are the questions we ask, the materials we put out, the music we put on...even we as teachers act as a provocation sometimes...

Heres how Journey in Early Childhood defines it...

Deliberate and thoughtful decisions made by the teacher to extend the ideas of children. Teachers provide materials, media and general direction as needed but the children take the ideas where they want. 
Journey into Early Childhood 

I want to emphasise something here... 

The children take the ideas where they want...

See, I was asked recently by a volunteer..."Do your provocations always work?". I was taken back by this...what did she mean by 'work'? Then she said, "I haven’t seen the children drawing crosses here"...



What she didn’t hear was the conversation happening at the drawing table...

Jayden: Hey Kalen, thats an X aye
Kalen: Yeah, I don’t have an X, I have a K
Jayden: Oh I have a J and an A and a Y and a D and a E and a N

The two boys then began searching for letters around the room, trying to find them on the walls, in the artwork and documentation.

The boys did not see a cross...they saw an X. They did not feel compelled to draw the cross...instead it became a point of discussion. 

I’ve talked about the childs agenda before but I think it is important to mention it in this case as well. We need to consider this when setting up our environment or when we ask a question to children. Do not pre-empty an experience and decide what will happen. If you come with an agenda you may tend to restrict children. Remember children express themselves through a hundred languages...take a minute to observe how they speak. 

Check out a few of our provocations...





The children take the ideas where they want...