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Stop ‘under-mind-ing’ early childhood educators: Honouring subjectivity in pre-service education to build intellectual and relational capacities

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Bezaire, K. & Johnston, L.
Publication Date: 
3 Oct 2022


The stubborn dominance of objectivity in child observation in pre-service early childhood educationwarrants letting go of as we confront its limitations as outdated, problematic, Eurocentric, neo-liberaland even racist. In the context of recent aims to establish‘critically reflective’practices, such as‘pedagogical documentation’and‘collaborative inquiry’as the‘new way’to‘do’early childhood cur-riculum planning in Ontario, Canada, the authors are concerned that the hard work of naming andcreating conditions to‘think together’with concepts of subjectivity has been missed and misunder-stood. The risk of missing this shared thinking and not persevering in the struggles of subjectivities,especially in curriculum courses and placement, underestimates and‘under-minds’the intellectualcapacity of students and positions theory as neutral in its relation to practice. How, then, doesone take up subjectivity and recognize its affordance in building the intellectual and relational capacityof pre-service students? What conditions need to be created to lead with critical thinking and engagein subjectivities in the context of early childhood education pre-service programs? Drawing on crit-ical educational perspectives, the authors work to define subjectivity in the context of early child-hood education; identify the conceptual barriers that they have encountered in their work as aprofessor and afield liaison; and propose potentially generative conditions for pre-service programs.