Sighting, Citing and Siting Te Whaariki: Exploring the Use of Video Feedback as a Tool for Critical Pedagogy
The official draft of the first national curriculum guidelines for early childhood services in Aotearoa/New Zealand : Te Whaariki: Draft Guidelines for Developmentally Appropriate Programmes in Early Childhood Services: He Whaariki Matauranga mo nga Mokopuna o Aotearoa, was released at the end of October 1993. This document was the culmination of a curriculum development project that commenced in 1990, when the Ministry of Education sought contract proposals for the development of the first ever national early childhood curriculum guidelines. In 1995 the Ministry of Education trialled nine different curriculum professional support projects, aimed at assisting early childhood centres to use the newly developed draft guidelines. This study reports on one of the curriculum professional support projects, which the Ministry of Education commissioned from Wellington College of Education. The project which this study is based on, was grounded in an action research approach to professional support. Its core focus was the use of video feedback as a tool for critical pedagogy. It involved five case study centres: a playcentre, a kindergarten, a Montessori centre, an owner-operator childcare centre and an employee childcare facility. The project comprised a minimum of twenty one 'face to face' hours per centre, made up of eight sessions, spread over an nine month period. Video observations of each centre's curriculum 'in action', which constituted two of the sessions, were examined by the practitioners of the centre concerned, and considered in relation to Te Whaariki. Data involved interviews, journals and observations, including video. The study found that using video as feedback for the purposes of curriculum and professional development, within the context of action research, was an essentially useful, albeit complex, and quite highly contextualised undertaking. Many participants did use video feedback to help them engage with Te Whaahki, although in a number of cases the complexity of the curriculum model proved problematic. Participants used the video feedback in a range of ways to resource the development of curriculum within their centres. For a number of participants video feedback was instrumental in them taking a more reflective and critical stance toward their worplace practices. Key themes to emerge included the potential affective impact of using video feedback in examining one's own workplace practices, and the importance and complexities of the dynamics of power, both within the workplace and within the research project itself. Finally, the study raised a number of ethical issues related to the use of video in professional and curriculum development.