"Learning is the process of developing sufficient surface knowledge to then move to conceptual understanding.”
Recent research proves that teacher quality has the biggest impact on student learning and Australia is investing heavily in teacher training. The introduction of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers is one such action that shows acknowledgement to this. This means that teachers, as professionals, must keep their professional knowledge up to date and move with current research and practice. How else is one to remain an effective teacher?
"... student in a highly effective teacher’s classroom can have almost year’s advantage over his or her peers..."
But I digress. Schools are places of learning. As teachers, all children in your care are expected to learn, grow and develop under your guidance. The Melbourne Declaration for Young Australians set into motion a rapid change of events in the Education sector. Since the signing of this declaration by all education ministers in 2008, various commitments to action came to fruition. These include, the AITSL standards, the introduction of the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), the introduction of the National Quality Standards and Early Learning Years Framework etc. etc. Education itself is no longer just about Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Today, education also incorporates personal and social capabilities, 21st century skills and ethical understandings, just to highlight a few. Yes, it seems you as teachers, are responsible for the development of the whole child. Big job? You betchya!
My only request is that ECE teachers open their minds and actually see what other effective instructional methods are out there. Before they raise their pitchforks, threaten to leave the profession and start linking teen suicide to the use the flashcards in kindergarten, go and visit a balanced ECE classroom and chat to the teachers. Make an informed judgment yourself. Are the students happy? Are they experiencing success? Do they have a high sense of self worth and self esteem? Does it look like everyone, including the teachers are having fun while learning? If you do make a visit and answer yes to any of those questions, then please, stop the drama. Be professional and learn a bit more. No one, anywhere, has ever claimed play is unimportant. WE KNOW THAT IT IS! Put simply, you owe it to the students in your class to be the best teacher you can be. Putting all your teaching eggs in one basket labeled "play", is not going to do that. Move with the times, keep up with research and best practice methods and you can be a super teacher too!