The British Columbia Ministry of Education developed the New Curriculum that might be considered as a quite significant, appropriate, and universal education plan for various establishments and practices. A country’s approach and attitude to its young generation’s learning process is a core of its prosperity as youth is to govern and decide in the future. Thus, it seems reasonable to conduct continuous research, interviews with practitioners, and provide creative proposals regarding the issue. It contributes to the improvement of the policy because all significant changes start from one’s little idea. In this paper, the summary of the interview with an educator, as well as the discussion on it, will be provided.
The interviewee is Cherry Zhou – an ECE (Early Childhood Education) educator who works in a daycare center in Vancouver BC. The choice was on this respectful person as he works in Fairchild Childcare Centre, the educational program of which has a reputation for the development of children’s wisdom and intellect. The establishment is designed for infants and children up to the age of five.
It should be stated that Mr. Zhou is a competent person who has a necessary background and qualification. Furthermore, he was recommended as the one who quickly and efficiently establishes good relationships with a child and contributes to his or her development to a great extent. He is fully acknowledged with the New Curriculum provisions and does his best to implement them in practice. He states that being involved in Fairchild Childcare Centre serves as a foundation for the further children’s achievements on their educational path. Hence, Mr. Zhou might be a perfect candidate for the interview as he is a professional, shares the values of the New Curriculum, and has significant references from colleagues, children, and their parents.
The first question to Mr. Zhou was formulated as follows, “In your view, which factors affect your students’ development to the greatest extent?” He claimed that there is an exact specific regarding this issue as he works with infants, toddlers, and three to five years old. It is essential for him to understand that his students are at the very beginning of the development of their vision and intellect. In order to create the best approach to each of them, he adheres to the ideas of Piaget’s cognitive development theory.
Mr. Zhou states that during the sensorimotor stage (from birth to two years), children tend to perceive information primarily with the help of their sensations and elementary actions. Hence, it is essential to provide them with “easy-to-transform objects that will lead to the emergence of the understanding of basic casual relationships.” At this point, children get a big idea – their actions affect the things around them.
Then, Mr. Zhou said that the preoperational stage (from two to seven years old) requires a different approach. In this phase, they are egocentric and do not want to consider the views and opinions of others. However, a child can learn nothing substantial if he or she does not get acquainted with the vision and knowledge of mentors. Hence, it is vital to surround children with a friendly environment and make them think that each reasonable and big idea is their own, even if a mentor pushes them to these ideas.
Furthermore, Mr. Zhou stated that he creates interacting groups and gives them some simple tasks “to behave the sense of collaboration and communication, as provided in the New Curriculum.” He concludes that an individual approach, favorable conditions for big ideas appearance, and congenial social surroundings are the main foundation for his student’s development that he strives to provide every day.
It should be noticed that the educator creatively combines the fundamental provisions of the New Curriculum and his own vision of the educational process. It seems remarkable how Mr. Zhou links the concept of “big ideas” – a formulation that continually appears in the New Curriculum – with Piaget’s theory. Indeed, the appropriate applying of this theory may significantly contribute to the cognitive development of a child (Carpendale et al., 2020). Moreover, Fairchild Childcare Centre gives an excellent opportunity for children and educators to use modern technological facilities that the New Curriculum also encourages to do. The described mix might be a notable practice to learn and implement in the future.
The second question was, “Which approaches do you consider to be the most efficient to assess a student’s progress?” The educator says that the New Curriculum presents a plethora of rational tests and assignments for the evaluation of students. Nevertheless, Mr. Zhou tends to make an accent on children’s freedom of expression throughout various kinds of art – starting from painting and ending with poetry. He believes that “literacy and knowledge may be assessed by such things as poems as a student demonstrates not only creativeness but also vocabulary and grammar skills.” Mr. Zhou adds that involvement in the process of art – in all spheres – liberates students’ imagination, which is crucial in the early stages of cognitive development.
It might be assumed that Mr. Zhou claims a compelling idea regarding students’ assessment. First of all, the New Curriculum does not set aside such an approach and encourages the use of arts during education (“Creative thinking,” n.d.). However, the creation of a piece of art is not included in the primary assessment methods in the New Curriculum. Many scholars find including the art element in all fields of the educational process beneficial (Koch & Thompson, 2017). What is more, the possibility to evaluate students’ skills by the creation of pieces of art seems quite apparent. Thus, Mr. Zhou might have been applying a significant method of evaluation that can be even transformed into one of the New Curricular provisions.
The third question was, “What is the role of the element of inclusion in your practice?” Mr. Zhou says that inclusion is an essential element of his practice, and he fully adheres to the provisions of the New Curriculum in this regard. He considers inclusion as a “two-way traffic, in which I do my best to figure out students’ strengths, abilities, and opportunities and help children to implement them, and in which students are free and encouraged to come up with any ideas and proposals and take part in various activities.” He claimed that inclusion allows him to find a common language with children and keep them satisfied due to active participation in the educational process.
Mr. Zhou rationally takes into account the New Curriculum when conducting inclusive affairs. “Career education 10-12 guide” (2019) provides an exhaustive list and explanation of the activities of inclusion. It should be emphasized that the educator divides the inclusive initiatives of a mentor and student, which might be considered as an in-depth understanding of the issue. Finally, it seems noticeable that Mr. Zhou proves that a student’s inclusion during his or her early stages of development is possible and leads to a common ground.
In conclusion, it seems reasonable to mention that Mr. Zhou is an experienced educator who was chosen to be an interviewee. The author found the following Mr. Zhou’s ideas the most interesting. First, it is the approach of combining Piaget’s theory with the New Curriculum provisions. Second, it is the idea to use arts as a method of the assessment of students. Third, even in the early stages of children’s cognitive development, inclusion contributes to finding a common language.
Carpendale, J. I. M., Lewis, C., & Müller, U. (2020). Piaget’s theory. The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development, 1–11. Web.
Creative thinking. (n.d.). Web.
Koch, A. K. & Thompson, J. C. (2017). Laughter filled the classroom: Outcomes of professional development in arts integration for elementary teachers in inclusion settings. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 22(2). 1–11. Web.