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The following essay will display my practice of reflection practice on the construction of my own subjectivity. This would be supported with the learning material that was taught to me during my unit. I am supposed to apply my knowledge to my workplace as an early childhood educator and assess the awareness of the process of subjectification attained by me.
I am currently pursuing my arts and humanities studies in Australia to become an early childhood educator. I joined this course to understand the aspects of identity on various grounds prevailing in the study of early childhood educator. In this essay, I will reflect upon my knowledge about identity and how it has affected my subjectivity and what might be its role in both professional and personal experiences of mine.
I will highlight one aspect of identity that is the influence of gender in childhood development and many other practices that is found common in society. Identity is nothing but the set of beliefs, characteristics, expressions that formulates the core ideology of an individual on which he or she bases its societal activities (Hogg, 2016 p11). Gender, race, class, ethnicity, status and many other things are its factors that contributes in the shaping of perspectives on different matters. In my unit term I learnt about many theories and processes that an early childhood educator could use to when he or she engages in child development as a professional practice.
I learnt about what are the implications of gender roles and its impact in shaping identities for individuals. This term refers to the expectations about how one shall speak, groom, dress and conduct them-self based on their sex. For example, a woman is expected to be dressed in a feminine way, without revealing much of her skin otherwise, she would be marked as someone, which is not so ideal (Sterzing et al., 2017 p88).
After understanding the influence of it on the society and its humans, I realised that these norms are constructed by powerful sections of people for lesser-privileged ones to follow and maintain their lifestyle upon. I realised that aspects of identity like, race, colour, and ethnicity, linguistic also intersects with the gender role criteria. As gender role is a social construct, it has been stereotyped since ages. Stereotype refers to the in general accepted judgement or biased perspective about a person or group. For example, the concept of sexism is relevant in this matter. Unfair and unequal treatment on the base of gender has been noticed vividly in our society across all sections and classes (Ramos et al., 2016 p460).
When I learnt about the gender roles, it allowed me to delve deep into the theories and rationales that constructed these roles. I also understood how deep its impacts are on the early development in children of our society. The exposure that these children get from their families about gender roles is instilled in them, which is in my view not helping them to understand the dynamics of it correctly. For example the concept of hyper femininity, where people address individuals as feminine if they have behavioural traits of passiveness, soft, graceful, accepting and caregiving (Francis et al., 2017 p1000). This shall not be the case when a child is learning about gender roles; it should not be in his or her mind that attributes like this make someone a female or feminine. It is ethically and morally wrong to address someone like that based on his or her individual characteristics.
My classmates and I engage into discussions about it and most of the time, we end up on a conclusion that states that a social revolution is needed to eradicate these fixed gender roles to create a more sustainable and progressive society. The stereotypes that are attached with these constructs are the barriers for critical and creative thinking.
When I was pursuing my course to become an early childhood educator, I understood this fact that changing social norms or social constructs is not an easy task; it would need a mass revolution for something strong to be established. For example, the waves of feminism rose when women collaborated and protested collectively for their rights.
I feel that, revolution and change in society is needed, as the world is striving to achieve so much for developing a lifestyle that is adjusted with the changing norms. Our coming generations, shall not be burdened with stereotypes, their mind should be given the space to understand what is right or what is ethically wrong. The sense of ethics and morale shall be the first lesson a child should learn in his early development days.
As I went through my unit term, I learnt about discourse, which refers to the activity of thinking and communicating with people, materials and the social hierarchical governing establishment and the relationship among them (Reisigl, 2017 p52). It emerges from the social institutions of politics and press as these two widely formulate a general perspective on any matter of relevance in society. For example, the authorities are the one who decides what part would be privileged and what part of the society won’t be one. They also decide the common linguistics to be spoken at one place and the limit of sexuality that is accepted by society.
In my term, I received the knowledge of how to become an essential early childhood educator. I learnt, in order to not encourage the gender stereotype in their mind, I would encourage cultural diversity in my future classroom (Kultti & Samuelsson, 2016 p140). I would create an environment, where children will feel excited to learn about each other’s culture and beliefs. I have noticed that my mindset towards this normative society and its constructs supported with reasonable or illogical rationales has developed due to the learning of various theories from term. Effective early childhood educators shall promote difference and diversity in children, which will create a tolerant society in future.
I have noticed that introducing diversity in the practice of early childhood education is significant. The educator of early childhood development are embedded with various tasks to achieve and the most essential one is to provide children with multi-cultural experiences. The world is made up of differences in human beings on the basis of gender, ethnicity, physical abilities, family hierarchy, cultural beliefs and values and religion. When a childhood educator ignore the importance of these differences then he or she indirectly contributes the social stereotype be it on gender roles or other aspects of individual identity. The racial beliefs or gender stereotypes is heavily influenced by what they observe in their environment.
Studies show that Jean Piaget’s Theory of Constructivism and Cognitive developmental theory is famous and well applied in the process of providing effective development to children from the age of 1 to 8 (Waite-Stupiansky, 2017 p 10). The first theory states that one can learn with interaction and adding on to what they already know. One cannot learn effectively, if they just listen about the relevant concept, they have to interact so that they can know if they are on the same page as the educator. The latter theory talks about the difference of thinking in between adults and children. It divides the life of children in four categories where the theorist predefines the strength and threat (Wimmer, 2017 p130).
Another theory of multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner, which states that adaption of various learning styles, should be implemented to inflict the habit of creative thinking in children (Chen & Gardner, 2018 p164). Those learning styles are - visual, bodily kinaesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, and logical. These learning styles are collectively, provide for essential and effective learning to children, about societal norms, constructs and generally accepted ideologies.
The concept of positive reinforcement is practiced in ECE (early childhood education) programs as well. B.F. Skinner introduced how behaviour influences various positive and negative responses (Ntim & Opoku-Manu, 2019 p100). This is practiced so that children can avoid any interaction with negative behaviour. The educators in ancient time, used to practice verbal humiliation and physical abuse to correct bad behaviour in children, but it has changed in the modern world drastically. The educators now use positive reinforcement to highlight the rewards of good behaviour, which makes the negative one automatically unattractive.
Therefore, I would apply all of these theories in future working place of mine, so that I can nurture the young minds on grounds and perspectives of what would sustain this society in long run. I noticed that my behaviour in the practice of educating someone became more patient, I could critically think about ideas, and methods based on the principles of theories I learnt from my unit to provide evidence based effective education to children.
The implication of practicing the knowledge and skills that I learnt from my unit is that it helped me to understand what grounds I have to focus on while engaging with children’s education in their early days. I have to promote and cherish the cultural diversity and differences in them.
I would always keep myself updated with any knowledge published in this field so that the children are not deprived of what they should actually learn. Our society can be sustained if unity in diversity and stereotyping the factors of identity is prevented.
In future, my ambition would be to create an environment where ethics and morale is promoted so that children never get attracted to exert negative behaviour towards anybody. I would want to provide each of my student with stable identity instead of suffering from identity crisis.
I will know my methods are working, as I will continuously evaluate the behaviour and responses of the students. This will allow me to create and come up with unique ideas to provide them with life lessons.
Children from various background and cultural beliefs can create complexities to understand the generally accepted ideologies and might question about the root of its existence. This shall be handled with the use of collective learning styles to provide them with correct understanding of any relevant concept. Therefore, I will always use the context of Gibbs to reflect upon my actions, in order to bequeath myself with constant improvement
It can be concluded that the reflective practice on my learning of ECE has allowed me to understand the role of various aspect of identities in framing a general perspective among individuals.
Chen, J. Q., & Gardner, H. (2018). Assessment from the Perspective of Multiple‑Intelligences Theory. Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests, and Issues, 164.
Francis, B., Archer, L., Moote, J., de Witt, J., & Yeomans, L. (2017). Femininity, science, and the denigration of the girly girl. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38(8), 1097-1110.
Hogg, M. A. (2016). Social identity theory. In Understanding peace and conflict through social identity theory (pp. 3-17). Springer, Cham.
Kultti, A., & Samuelsson, I. P. (2016). Diversity in initial encounters between children, parents and educators in early childhood education. Project Partners, 140.
Ntim, S., & Opoku-Manu, M. (2019). Balance of reciprocity and influence in family-school interactions in early childhood education: A socio-psychological perspective. International Journal of Research, 8(1), 91-104.
Ramos, M. R., Barreto, M., Ellemers, N., Moya, M., Ferreira, L., & Calanchini, J. (2016). Exposure to sexism can decrease implicit gender stereotype bias. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46(4), 455-466.
Reisigl, M. (2017). The discourse-historical approach. In The Routledge handbook of critical discourse studies (pp. 44-59). Routledge.
Sterzing, P. R., Gartner, R. E., Woodford, M. R., & Fisher, C. M. (2017). Sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity microaggressions: Toward an intersectional framework for social work research. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 26(1-2), 81-94.
Waite-Stupiansky, S. (2017). Jean Piaget’s constructivist theory of learning. In Theories of Early Childhood Education (pp. 3-17). Routledge.
Wimmer, M. (2017). Konrad Lorenz and Jean Piaget. Ludus Vitalis, 13(24), 121-138.
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