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[Xmca-l] A request for assistance



Dear XMCA community,

I'm looking for a piece of information, and I wonder whether someone on the
XMCA list has it at their fingertips.

I'm writing something that deals with Vivian Paley's storytelling and
story-acting practice. Among other things, that activity is an example of
child-centered, play-based, and constructivist approaches to early child
education--the kinds of approaches that have been getting squeezed out by
preschool practices that exclusively emphasize teacher-centered, didactic
transmission of specific academic skills by direct instruction.

A lot of people think that pushing down didacted/academic teaching
practices into preschool education is a good thing in general.  However,
there are some people who might be willing to concede that more
child-centered, play-based, and constructivist might be OK for young
children from educated middle class families ... but that they won't work
for poor and otherwise disadvantaged children. THOSE kids need direct
instruction to transmit "basic skills", and giving them anything else is,
at best, a distraction from giving them what they need for school readiness.

My problem is this.  As we all know, a lot of people think that, and they
say it in conversation, and they make written arguments that rest
implicitly on that premise. In fact, this outlook is very widespread and
influential. But I've found that very few of them seem to be willing to
actually SAY it explicitly in their published work. I'm talking about
academics and policymakers. There are pro-direct-instruction websites that
say it pretty straightforwardly. But journals want academic citations in
articles, so I'm trying to find one.

*So does anyone out there know of any published work where someone actually
SAYS that in writing?  That is, that more child-oriented, play-based, and
constructivist preschool practices (however they actually describe them)
might be OK for young children from educated middle-class homes, but are
useless or even harmful for poor and disadvantaged kids, who need more
teacher-centered, skill-based direct instruction?*

I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.

Thanks,
Ageliki Nicolopoulou

________________
Ageliki Nicolopoulou
Professor of Psychology & Global Studies
Personal Webpage: http://lehigh.academia.edu/AgelikiNicolopoulou/About
Departmental Webpage: http://cas.lehigh.edu/CASWeb/default.aspx?id=1430