Professional Identity in ECE

Posted on January 24, 2017. Filed under: Anti Oppressive Ed, eci814, Masters, Race |


I drew this tree as a depiction of my response to the readings this week,“An early childhood professional’s authority” by Rachel Langford in Re-situating Canadian Early Childhood Education and “Authoring professional identities: Immigrant and refugee women’s experiences in an early childhood teacher education program” by Christine Massing.

The tree represents knowledge gained by the formal teaching of ECE. This tree is quite alive, but has many good and bad aspects to it.

The brown trunk and branches are the system of ECE itself. It’s an old system that has been around a long time. It is rooted deeply in history and years of the same type of knowledge. It looks very similar and the bark is not diverse. This part of the tree represents the “developmentally appropriate” practices that have been commonplace for years.

white streaks- These are the Eurocentric white views that permeate the system. The funds of knowledge are rooted deep in the waters of White, European male history and discoveries. The branches of early childhood theory all come from the core white principles and values.

The green leaves represent some positive outcomes of the early childhood system. Children learn knowledge and new skills. They are “Kindergarten ready,” and have many oral language experiences. They learn early numeracy and fine motor skills by making crayon leaf prints. They have a fun and successful time in Pre-K. These children are created by the system and made for the system.

Red flecks- These are the little bits of “blood” that don’t fit with the tree. These are the people who are trained within the system, but do not feel like they fit.  It is as if they don’t belong to this organism. They feel as if they were created for a different system completely. These people stick out and constantly feel like they are nicked, cut up and even wounded. They feel they are on display and do not camouflage well within the system. If they do make it through the training and into the workforce, there will always be tension there. They might blend in at times (autumn) when all the leaves turn different colours, and their difference is accepted as beautiful, but the majority of the time they stand out and are slowly losing their life force.

The black webs are representative of cultural growth within the tree. Just like spiders find their homes in rough places, but create things of beauty there, so these few black webs exist on my tree.  These are examples of small pockets of excellence. These people have used the system (the trunk and branches) to support their dreams, but have created their own masterpiece. They welcome the culture of the teachers and the students, and they incorporate it into unique ways of knowing.

The small grey areas amongst the tree branches and leaves show that this is a grey area. There is no black and white or right or wrong. It is multifaceted and has many considerations.

The green ferns are new buds. These are fresh new ideas and thoughts that are waiting to blossom. They are vibrant conversations that get people thinking in new ways. They are sharing groups and reflections that challenge the status quo. They know the system so well that they can use it’s life if they need to, but they also have the seeds and power to plant an entirely new organism when the time comes.

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