One extremely successful implementation of a holistic approach to education
is the early childhood education system of the Reggio Emilia region of Northern Italy. Social constructivism guides the work that administrators do with both the teachers and the students in this system. Teachers work collaboratively in learning communities where rich, on-going in-service supports them and they are encouraged to reflect on their practice. Each child is viewed as unique and the protagonist of his/her own growth. It is accepted that the child has a desire to gain knowledge, create ties with others and to communicate. Everything is connected in the child’s world; social, emotional, physical, intellectual and cultural factors are all considered part of educating the child. Much of the work that children do is project-based and the aim of education is growth.

If you are interested in reading more about Reggio Emila you can check out Brenda's blog.

In the Reggio approach, pedagogistas are educators who work alongside the teacher to enhance the observation that teachers are doing, and to continue to focus on reflection about the learning that happens in the classroom both from the student's and the teacher's point of view. Because we know that during Minds on Media participants can sometimes be focused on learning new tools as they are developing inquiry-based lessons or approaches for their students, pedagogistas are there to help with that 'meta' thinking that needs to be on-going. They can help with discussions around going deeper with technology, or they can help with some one-on-one time that might be needed.

About Gaining Expertise
We may be working with some novices in the areas of both critical thinking and the 'mindful media' within which we live, think, dream, construct and connect.

Please consider checking out some characteristics of expert and novice learners in Scaffolding for Deep Understanding. That article also includes prompts or journal starters which may scaffold learners. Although designed for a different audience and purpose, maybe such prompts could be pondered in advance for the purpose of scaffolding our colleagues who come to Minds on Media.

You will have lots of your own thoughts on this and we invite and welcome some shared ideas.

How can we best fulfil this role as pedagogista?

(Please just EDIT this page. Add freely. Put your name if you'd like - it's helpful) (Don't forget to subscribe to the wiki to get changes. Under the NOTIFY menu.)

We can all play the role of pedagogista, if it comes to mind. That is excellent practice. However, it is easy to get lost in the task and miss the meta task <g>, so we are fortunate to been able to dedicate some educators to this role.

Your pedagogistas for the February conference are Andrew Forgrave, Cresencia Fong and Jaclyn Calder. They will be helping you keep focused on these big ideas throughout the day:
  • How do teachers create learning tasks and classroom environments that promote critical thinking?
  • How can teachers use inquiry-based approaches with the framework of our Ontario Curriculum?
  • How does technology support the development of an effective community of learners?

How might technology foster/facilitate knowledge communities within the classroom (and beyond)?
  • What does an inquiry-based approach mean to you?
  • How do you encourage and support students in developing 'driving questions'? How might the tools assist in this?
  • How might collaboration contribute to scaffolding critical thinking?
  • How does technology allow students with special needs participate more fully?