While the notion of "andragogy" (Knowles, 1984) positions adult learners as self-directed and intrinsically motivated, coming to learning situations with a wealth of experiences and resources, teacher education in Australia is still greatly bound by the need to convey large amounts of information (deemed important by lecturers) quickly and economically to as many preservice teachers as possible. In recent years, based on the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, children have been repositioned as agentic, actively participating in their learning and development. Child and teacher have become co-constructors, negotiating the direction, content and assessment of learning “The child is not a passive recipient of knowledge from the teacher, nor is the teacher a model or expert of knowledge: together, they are participants in joint problem solving, sharing information and responsibility” (Hill, Stremmel & Fu, 2005, p.16). As a teacher educator, this seemed to be a conflict. On the one hand, I advocate for child learners to have a voice in their learning. Yet while I recognised how much adults bring in the way of experience and motivation to the learning situation, by traditional lecture and tutorial teaching I was neither allowing them their voices nor modelling what I advocated. Beginning in 2005, I took a different approach to teacher education. I introduced Negotiated Curriculum in a third year Early Childhood subject. Preservice teachers were given the opportunity to think about, propose and negotiate subject content, mode of delivery and assessment. For nearly all class members, this was an entirely new experience; one that was both challenging and confrontational. This paper follows the process through the eyes of a group of preservice teachers and through my own reflections. Data were collected at the beginning of the subject, during the subject and at subject completion. Further data were collected in 2006, six months after subject completion, and early in 2007 as this cohort begin their teaching careers.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/reesasorin/18/