10 September 2008


I've just finished reading Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking for the 2nd time, and again I am blown away with the way in which Gladwell presents highly complex topics in a reasonably coherent manner. When describing the gist of the book to different groups of friends, the best description I could come up with was "brilliant, thought-provoking, random and interesting". You really do have to read it to truly appreciate it...just like any other book I imagine. Gladwell presents readers with an accessible insight into a wide range of research. I found a couple of key themes relating to early childhood:

1. Experience counts:"our reactions come out of a locked room, we become expert at using our behaviour and our training to interpret - and decode - what lies behind our snap judgements and first impressions"

I recall my first few months working in an early childhood centre, there were so many things I didnt know, like walking around wiping noses - when actually children are capable of wiping their own and 'Helping' a child finish a puzzle by putting the pieces in myself - not sure what the child learned but I affirmed for him that I knew how to do it faster.  Its been over 11 years since those first few weeks and I now know I am a different teacher than what I was then, I've learned to read different situations based on my experience, and I've learned to decode or interpret different learning situations....its been an interesting process...and one that I imagine will continue for the rest of my life.

2. Thin-Slicing: "refers to the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behaviour based on very narrow slices of experience"

The book refers to this concept regularly, with a wide range of different ways it has been applied in practical situations.  I guess for early childhood, its about trusting that 'gut' feeling. The 'notice, recognise, respond' in documentation and learning stories. Making decisions that are authentic to the situation and having that ability to follow the emergent curriculum based on a 'thin-slice' of experience.

Whitcoulls offer the following Synopsis:

Intuition is not some magical property that arises unbidden from the depths of our mind. This book shows us how we can hone our instinctive ability to know in an instant, helping us to bring out the best in our thinking and become better decision-makers in our homes, offices and in everyday life.

If you were interested in learning more about the concepts and dont want to go and get the book, have a look at other work Gladwell has completed. I first encountered Malcolm Gladwells through Ted, His talk on 'Spaghetti Sauce' was interesting, he briefly refers to Blink and some of the concepts of the book throughout his talk. Check out his talk below (if you can get beyond the monotone, you'll find his work, knowledge, insight and humour quite delightful!)

08 September 2008

Trying on my new outfit!

CORE Blogs have made the move from Movable Type to Word Press, and I'm trying to find an outfit that fits. I'm currently working my way through the templates to see which one I like... and the one that I think suits me...

The move of our blogs is quite timely as I have been thinking recently about the purpose of my blog. I reflect lots on paper and have a reflective journal to support my thinking - I contribute to my reflection journal occasionally and have found this a useful process for revisiting my experiences. I've heard time and time again that blogs can be used for this very purpose. Up until now I have had reservations about 'recording' these reflections in a public domain. Mostly because I know that what I think today, right now may not be what I think tomorrow, later on...and Im not too keen on being held to my 'thinking' processes.

Actually I think that as I grow professionally and personally my views should always be changing. I recently ran a "Reflective Teaching" workshop and encouraged early childhood teachers to record their thinking in journals...I have finally realised that its okay to make statements and believe in something right now, right here...and if it changes tomorrow...then it does...thats healthy and thats ongoing learning.

So stay tuned for "right here, right now" thinking and posting...and keep and eye on my outfit aka template as I keep trying to find the one that suits.

Perhaps you could dance to Nesian's as you wait...:-)