Have you ever noticed how educational practices exist in silos? It seems that these silos have specific beliefs, values, and practices. Our beliefs---once entrenched in practice---impact how open we are to the possibilities of other ways of working with children. Some argue that fidelity of ideas is required for pedagogical sustainability with others state that diversity enhances pedagogical work.
In a series of friendly debates with colleagues, we are working through the question, “What are the implications of pedagogical cross-pollination?” Below are some points from the debate.
Pedagogical practices need to stay true to their origins. The importance of pedagogy is in its theory and structure. To incorporate elements of other beliefs, values, and practices fundamentally alters the intention of the pedagogy and impacts the values. Once pedagogy has veered from its theoretical framework, then it is fundamentally changed
Pedagogical theories were developed as living systems. They changed and expanded over their founder’s lifetime. Pedagogies should not be frozen at a moment in time; rather they should continue to evolve as part of the natural evolution of research and practice. To grow and expand pedagogical frameworks is to be responsive to shifts of knowledge and culture.
Cross-pollination occurs in pedagogies. If you use child size furniture, then Montessori influences your choice. Provocation, they are inspired by Reggio Emilia. All pedagogies carry elements of other practices. The benefit of cross-pollination is the strength in clarifying or questioning your current thinking. Understanding a variety of pedagogies supports reflective practice in your own beliefs, values, and practices.
For myself, as a social-constructivist and Reggio-inspired educator, I am inspired and learn from a variety of learner-center pedagogies---Montessori, Lifeways, and Waldorf---which all stretch my thinking and reinforce my practice with a deep appreciation for all the ways children learn.
What are your thoughts on pedagogical cross-pollination?