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Rethinking approaches to working with children who challenge: Action learning for emancipatory practice

  • Glenda MacNaughton
  • Patrick Hughes
  • Kylie Smith
Articles

Summary

This article describes an action-learning project that helped teachers to rethink their approaches to children who challenge. The project enabled and encouraged teachers to reflect critically on why and how particular children challenged them and then to use their critical reflections to strengthen their capacity to work with those children. The outcomes were that participants changed their model of children who challenge, their classroom practices and their view of themselves as teachers; strengthened their desire and ability to respond to children who challenge; and increased their ability to reduce the stress in their work. The project was small-scale, but it was significant. Mainstream approaches to children who challenge use pharmaceutical or behavioural means to change children’s behaviour, effectively marginalising early childhood staff from both the ‘diagnosis’ and the ‘treatment’. TheChildren Who Challenge approach is a critique not just of the ‘medicalisation’ of behaviour defined as problematic or challenging, but also of the drift to a technocratic, top-down micro-management of education and, by implication, of children.Children Who Challenge poses an alternative — the autonomous, reflective teacher-researcher who is a member of a reflexive community committed to improving the classroom and pedagogic effectiveness by emancipating it.

Keywords

Challenging children Disruptive children Action learning Reflective practice Reflexive community 

Résumé

Cet article décrit un projet d’action-étude basé sur la recherche qui a visé à aider des professeurs à repenser leurs réponses aux enfants qui défient. Le projet a permis et a encouragé des professeurs à se refléter pourquoi et comment les enfants particuliers les ont défiés et employer alors leurs réflexions critiques pour renforcer leur capacité de travailler avec les enfants qui défient. Les résultats étaient que les participants ont changé leur modèle de l’enfant qui défie, leur didactique et leur vue d’eux-mêmes comme professeurs; a renforcé leur désir et capacité de répondre aux enfants qui défient; et amelioré leur capacité de réduire l’effort dans leur travail.

Le projet était de petite taille, mais il était significatif. II a cherché à établir la capacité et la confiance du personnel de réfléchir en critique sur les origines et les implications de leurs pratiques courantes autour des enfants qui défient; pour changer un aspect de leur pratique courante pour améliorer des rapports avec ces enfants; et pour évaluer de tels changements. En revanche, les approaches courants pour les enfants qui défient ont tendance d’employer des moyens pharmaceutiques ou psychologiques pour changer le comportement de l’enfant, marginalisant des ‘diagnostics’ et du ‘traitement’ le personnel qui enseignent les plus jeunes.

Resumen

Este artículo describe un proyecto de investigación — acción, basado sobre la búsqueda de ayuda para que los profesores re piensen sus respuestas a los niños/as que los desafian. El proyecto ha permitido fortalecer a los profesores en sus reflexiones respecto del porqué y cómo algunos infantes particulares los han desafiado y emplear estas reflexiones críticas para reforzar su capacidad de trabajar con aquellos infantes que los desafían. Los resultados han sido que los profesores participantes han modificado sus modelos del niño/a que desafía, sus estrategias didácticas y su visión de ellos mismos como profesores; ha reforzado su deseo y capacidad de respuesta frente a los infantes que los desafían y ha mejorado su capacidad de reducir el esfuerzo en su trabajo.

El proyecto tuvo una pequeña magnitud pero es significativo. Buscó establecer la capacidad y la confianza del personal para reflexionar y criticar los orígenes e implicaciones de sus prácticas, en torno al tema de los infantes que Iso desafiaban; para mejorar algunos aspectos de sus prácticas corrientes y para mejorar las relaciones con los niños/as; y para evaluar tales cambios. Las aproximaciones corrientes para los niños/as que desafían, es fuertemente influenciada por la tendencia a emplear medios farmacológicos y psicológicos, que permiten cambiar el comportamiento de los infantes, marginalizando de estos tratamientos y diagnósticos al personal que trabaja educativamente con los niños/as.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenda MacNaughton
    • 1
  • Patrick Hughes
    • 1
  • Kylie Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Literary and Communication StudiesDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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