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International Journal of Early Childhood

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 227–244 | Cite as

Fostering Communities of Learning in Two Portuguese Pre-School Classrooms Applying the Movimento da Escola Moderna (MEM) Pedagogy

  • Maria Assunção FolqueEmail author
  • Iram Siraj-Blatchford
Original Article

Abstract

This article reports upon a Portuguese pedagogical model, where children engage with the teacher in planning and assessment during routine activities like “Council Meetings”, “Communication Time,” and using specific tools such as an “Activities Chart” and a “Diary.” The article questions how these processes generate a community of practice in "learning to learn" with children aged 3–6. The study developed a theoretical framework using socio-cultural theory where action is mediated through the use of artefacts/tools and the communities’ social structures: roles, rules, division of labor, and access to resources (Lave and Wenger 1991). This literature was complemented by a study of the children’s “learning to learn” which provided a focus on specific learning objects (meta-learning and learning dispositions such as learning orientation). Two pre-school classrooms were studied over 1 year using observations, video recordings, interviews with teachers and children, and analysis of two piloting tools: the “Diary” and the “Activity Chart.” Both classrooms provided “communities of learning” where children were encouraged to self-regulate their learning and engage in collaborative activities, transforming their leading activity from playing with others to learning with others (Siraj-Blatchford 2007). Despite these general results, each classroom produced a distinctive learning culture rooted in the individual teachers’ knowledge and control of the classroom community and interactions.

Keywords

Communities of learning Learning to learn Planning and assessment Preschool Pedagogy 

Résumé

Cet article concerne un modèle pédagogique portugais où les enfants s’engagent avec l’enseignant dans la planification et l’évaluation au cours d’activités de routine comme les « réunions du conseil » et la « causerie » et en utilisant des outils spécifiques comme le « tableau d’activités » et un « journal » . L’article questionne la façon dont ces procédés génèrent une communauté de pratique à « apprendre à apprendre » avec des enfants de 3 à 6 ans. L’étude a élaboré un cadre théorique utilisant la théorie socio-culturelle où l’action est médiatisée par l’utilisation d’artefacts/outils et par les structures sociales de la communauté: rôles, règles, division du travail et accès aux ressources (Lave et Wenger 1991). Cette littérature a été augmentée par une étude sur « apprendre à apprendre » chez les enfants, qui se centre sur des objets spécifiques d’apprentissage (méta-apprentissage et dispositions à l’apprentissage, comme l’orientation vers l’apprentissage). Deux classes préscolaires ont été étudiées pendant un an au moyen d’observations, d’enregistrements vidéo, d’entrevues avec les enseignants et les enfants et de l’analyse de deux outils pilotes: le « journal » et le « tableau d’activités ». Les deux classes présentaient des « communautés d’apprentissage » où les enfants étaient encouragés à autoréguler leur apprentissage et à s’engager dans des activités de collaboration, transformant ainsi leur activité phare de jeu avec les autres en apprentissage avec les autres (Siraj-Blatchford 2007). Malgré ces résultats généraux, chaque classe produisait une culture d’apprentissage distincte, enracinée dans la connaissance individuelle et le contrôle de la communauté et des interactions de la classe par l’enseignant.

Resumen

El documento describe un modelo pedagógico portugués donde el maestro y los niños realizan juntos la planificación y la evaluación durante actividades de rutina como las “Reuniones de Consejo” y el “Tiempo de Comunicaciones” usando herramientas específicas tales como el “Plan de Actividades” y el “Diario”. Este trabajo cuestiona la forma en la que estos procesos generan una comunidad de “aprendiendo a aprender” con niños de 3 a 6 años. El estudio desarrolló un marco teórico utilizando la teoría socio-cultural donde la acción está mediada a través del uso de artefactos/instrumentos y estructuras sociales de la comunidad: roles, reglas, división del trabajo y el acceso a los recursos (Lave and Wenger 1991). La literatura sobre “aprendiendo a aprender” complementa la teoría socio-cultural proporcionando un enfoque específico sobre objetos de aprendizaje (meta-aprendizaje y de disposiciones de aprendizaje tales como la orientación aprendizaje). Se estudiaron dos salas de clases de preescolar durante un año a partir de observaciones, grabaciones de vídeo, entrevistas con los maestros y los niños, y el análisis de dos herramientas de pilotaje: el “Diario” y el “Plan de Actividades”. Ambas clases dieron lugar a “comunidades de aprendizaje” donde los niños fueron animados a autorregular su aprendizaje y a participar en actividades de colaboración, transformando su actividad principal de jugar con los demás en aprender con los otros (Siraj-Blatchford 2007). A pesar de estos resultados generales, cada una de las clases produjo una cultura distinta dependiente del saber individual del maestro como también del control de la comunidad de la clase y de las interacciones.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research project was co-funded by the “Science and Innovation 2010” Operational Programme (POCI) and by the European Social Fund, ref: SFRH/BD/10606/2002.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Assunção Folque
    • 1
    Email author
  • Iram Siraj-Blatchford
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Pedagogia e EducaçãoUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  2. 2.Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonGreat Britain

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