Sunday, June 16, 2013

I was reminded of Alison Gopnik and her wise words when working with babies and toddlers when I watched this delightful video clip.
Alison's words " There are no perfect toys; there is no magic formula. Parents and other caregivers teach young children by paying attention and interacting with them naturally and, most of all, by just allowing them to play". (Alison Gopnik 2009)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Early Years Research Centre launches this week

A new Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato has been established in the Faculty of Education with a focus on education and children aged 0 to 8 years.

The centre will be led by its Director, Professor Margaret Carr, with associate directors Associate Professors Linda Mitchell and Sally Peters.

Professor Carr says the new centre will provide a broad platform of research and focus on three research themes: pedagogy, policy, and community connections.

"It has a social justice agenda and aims to make a difference for young children, families and whānau in Aotearoa New Zealand and to provide cutting edge research of interest to scholars in this country and abroad," she says. 

Projects underway

Recent projects by researchers in the centre include museum education with children under five years, evaluation of early childhood in Timor Leste, polyphonic video analysis of the perspectives of babies, the use of i-Pads in early childhood centres, a study of children after an earthquake, and an exploration of documentation strategies in collaboration with kaiako in a kōhanga reo. 

Professor Carr says the new centre's research has been translated into Danish, Italian and Japanese, and its launch validates an international reputation already developed through the research and teaching by its staff over the past 20 years. 

Establishing Waikato University as a leader

"Through the establishment of this centre we aim to consolidate the reputation of the University of Waikato as one of the most innovative contributors and leaders in the ECCE field," says Professor Carr. 

Among the programmes that will come under the umbrella of the new centre is a new four-year international collaboration called 'Pedagogies of Educational Transitions' (POET), a Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) involving five universities: University of Strathclyde, UK; Mälardalen University, Sweden; University of Iceland; Charles Stuart University, Australia ; and the University of Waikato.

The New Zealand team's participation in that programme is supported by funding from the New Zealand Royal Society. 

The Early Years Research Centre, He Kōhanga Toi Tangata, will be launched at a cocktail function at 5.30pm on Friday 7 June with a celebratory symposium following on Saturday 8 June and featuring speakers from New Zealand and Australia.

Connect with Daniel Goleman - It’s Modes, Not Personality Traits

It’s Modes, Not Personality Traits

Here is a little from his blog that might entice you into his blog on a regular basis...

I know a woman who at work seems emotionally reactive, needy and dependent – everyone says, “That’s just her personality.”

But then when she was part of a group touring the labyrinths of Europe, a friend from her workplace who also went reported – a bit shocked – that the woman was nothing like her usual self. She took initiative and explored strange cities on her own, was emotionally stable, and fun to be with.

All of us are different people in different situations, or with varied groups, or from time to time, and at various stages of our lives. The old personality model, that we have fixed traits that stay with us throughout our lives, doesn’t do justice to how flexible our behavior can be.

Traits have long been used to pigeonhole people in the workplace, for everything from hiring to placing people in the “right” job.

But today brain science tells us our brains are “plastic” – they can change with the right development experience – and they are far more elastic than the trait idea gives credit to.

‘Modes’ are a new concept that lets us understand how and why we actually are diverse people at various times. A mode orchestrates our entire way of being: how we perceive and interpret the world, how we react – our thoughts, feelings, actions and interactions.

For example, there’s the avoidant mode, where we try to distance ourselves from feelings and people; the anxious mode, where we over-worry our relationships – and the secure mode, where we can take in emotions with calm, feel secure in ourselves and are able to take smart risks, and can focus in ways that help us be at our best.

The liberating effect of thinking about modes rather than “personality types” is that modes come and go. We can learn what triggers our modes, what makes some self-defeating ones so sticky, and what can help us loosen their grip and get into the best modes for top performance.

Modes and how they work for or against us is the topic of Tara Bennett-Goleman’s new book, Mind Whispering: A New Map to Freedom from Self-Defeating Emotional Habits. The mode concept builds on a recent proposal by the founder of cognitive therapy, Dr. Aaron Beck, who suggested that what we call depression or anxiety disorders are modes that can change for the better.

Seeing someone else – or ourselves – through the lens of a label like “depressed” or “introvert” can have a subtle negative impact, suggesting a permanence that modes belie. The mode idea builds around what we can do to release the grip of our dysfunctional modes and build a wider set of emotions.

Emotional Intelligence author, Daniel Goleman lectures frequently to business audiences, professional groups and on college campuses. A psychologist who for many years reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times, Dr. Goleman previously was a visiting faculty member at Harvard.

Dr. Goleman’s most recent books are The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights and Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence – Selected Writings. (More Than Sound). Goleman’s latest project, Leadership: A Master Class, is his first-ever comprehensive video series that examines the best practices of top-performing executives.

 If you are hooked now, here is a direct link to another of his blogs!!

The Development of an Ethical Mind
In Howard Gardner’s book, Five Minds for the Future, he talks about the disciplined mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind, and the ethical mind. Without...