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Early Childhood Curricula and the De-pathologizing of Childhood

Early Childhood Curricula and the De-pathologizing of Childhood

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    Early Childhood Curricula and the De-pathologizing of Childhood
    Book Description:

    Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, Rachel M. Heydon and Luigi Iannacci shed light on the ways in which joint notions of normality and abnormality are used to pathologize childhood.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8624-3
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Rachel M. Heydon
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    Before we can begin to define and illustrate asset-oriented practices, we must first examine the phenomenon ofpathologizing– the unfortunate consequence of a number of curricular practices. Most simply, the word pathologizing refers to the processes by which persons belonging to a particular group are seen by a more powerful group as abnormal. This supposed abnormality is perceived to be in need of correction, usually through medical or “scientific” intervention. As we will show, children who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD)¹ or disabled most often make up the pathologized groups. In a more comprehensive definition, Shields, Bishop, and Mazawi...

  6. 2 Discourses of Risk
    (pp. 18-31)

    Until recently, I worked as a special education teacher in Ontario, Canada. In that role I often helped families (usually mothers) procure auxiliary services (e.g., mental health support, psychiatric treatment, etc.) for their children. I witnessed much suffering and learned that asking for help takes courage. It therefore struck me as unethical that in the waiting room of one of the main child-services buildings in my area, there hung a sign that compared the ‘low’ dollar cost of helping children ‘now’ to the dollar cost of helping them ‘later’ (i.e., for incarceration, social assistance, etc.). While the sign offended me...

  7. 3 The Biomedical Approach to Literacy: Pathologizing Practices within Early Literacy
    (pp. 32-45)

    We find ourselves on a threshold. We are literacy educators and researchers who choose to operate from the field of curriculum studies,¹ because, like Egan (2003), we appreciate being able to answer teaching and learning questions through the methodologies derived from the immediate educational circumstances and not imported from ‘psychology or philosophy or sociology or whatever’ (p. 18). We accept the confusion that can arise from working within a ‘syncretic’ (Gregory et al. 2004) model of methodology,² but we see it as the necessary by-product of responding to problems-at-hand and keeping open our ways of being, seeing, and doing. Also,...

  8. 4 A Case Study of the Pathologizing of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Early Years Classrooms
    (pp. 46-81)

    This chapter takes up and extends understandings of the phenomenon of pathologizing by considering how it relates to culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) young children. Consistent with the rest ofEarly Childhood Curricula, the research for this chapter takes place in a time when international economic restructuring has ensured increased mobility within labour markets and cross-cultural contact (Burbules & Torres, 2000; Cummins, 2005). Immigration around the world has more than doubled since 1975 (United Nations, 2002); as a result North American elementary school students are more culturally and linguistically diverse than ever before (Obiakor, 2001). Indeed as described in chapter...

  9. 5 The Case of Special Education and Pathologizing
    (pp. 82-99)

    Previous chapters have discussed the minority world’s fear of disability and diversity and some of the implications of that fear, namely seeing children as potentially pathological (as evidenced in the cases of the at-risk discourse in chapter 2 and the children at Elmwood in chapters 3 and 4). But what of those children whom educational systems officially, rather than tacitly, name asdisabled? This chapter considers special education and the management structure for such children. While undoubtedly, special education has led to the amelioration of many disabled children’s lives through, for example, its championing of legislation for school inclusion and...

  10. 6 Communicating with a Little Help from Friends: Intergenerational Art Class as Radical, Asset-oriented Curriculum
    (pp. 100-129)

    Chapter 2 drew a parallel between the ways in which the social categories of young children and persons with disabilities are pathologized or seen as potentially pathological. It explained how persons belonging to these categories are evaluated against the image of the ‘normate’ (Thomson, 1997, p. 8) and that they are viewed in deficit terms and seen as potential threats to economic prosperity. The chapter also laid out how such persons are therefore subject to control measures that primarily involve segregation and management through scientific technology. These forms of control are illustrated again throughout the book in the biomedical approach...

  11. 7 A Case Study of Asset-oriented Approaches to Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Early Childhood Education
    (pp. 130-153)

    This chapter offers data and discussion developed from the study of CLD children in chapter 4 and provides reconceptualized understandings and approaches to pedagogy and assessment, linguistic incorporation, and community participation in order to further develop asset-oriented practices within classroom settings. Consistent with the critical orientations ofEarly Childhood Curricula, these understandings are commensurate with the theoretical and practical concerns of critical, multicultural education. Conventional notions of multicultural education have historically overemphasized curricular change and underemphasized the impact of socio-economic factors and socio-cultural power relations on student’s lives (May, 1999). There are, however, no easy answers to the issues raised;...

  12. 8 Conclusion: Talking-Points to Foster Asset-Oriented Practices in Childhood and Early Childhood Education
    (pp. 154-174)

    Deficit-oriented discourses that dominate the minority world have divided the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’: those who are able, those who are disabled, those who are young, those who are old, those who speak English as a first language, those who do not, those who are valuable, and those who are dispensable. On and on the binaries persist, fuelled by people’s fears of losing privilege in these ‘more dangerous times’ (Lubeck, 2000, p. 278), an era when the bottom line is what matters most and in some cases is all that matters. Binaries are made and maintained through various institutions...

  13. References
    (pp. 175-192)
  14. Index
    (pp. 193-203)