One of Opal School's values is A powerful image of the young child as intelligent, creative, and capable with gifts and abilities that the world needs. Loris Malaguzzi writes that your image of children is where teaching begins.
At our session in Vancouver last week, a participant spoke of how frequently they see that strong image replaced with a deficit-based approach. We asked the room why they think that deficit model is so prevalent. They identified the following causal factors:
- curricula based in "right" answers, leading every expression to be measured by its distance from the prize
- a sense that the job of the teacher is to "fix" the child
- fear of consequences to teachers and schools resulting from low test scores
- fear of consequences to children from not rapidly developing skills
- an image of childhood as a waiting room before adulthood
- a singular definition of adult success
What seems to lead you or your colleagues to project a deficit model of children?
What helps you hold a strong image?