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Re-situating Canadian Early Childhood Education

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Edited By Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw and Larry Prochner

This book presents research exploring the potential for postfoundational theories to revitalize discussions in early childhood education. In the past two decades, postfoundation theories (e.g., postmodern, poststructural, feminist, postcolonial, etc.) have revolutionized the field of early childhood education, but at the same time, little has been written about the value and potential of this movement within the context of Canada. Postfoundational theories have the potential to disrupt normalizing early childhood education discourses that create and maintain social inequities, and to respect differences and diversities. Given the importance of diversity in Canada, it seems relevant to explore further how postfoundational theories might transform early childhood education.
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4 Addressing Divides and Binaries in Early Childhood Education: Disability, Discourse and Theory, and Practice in a Bachelor of Education ProgramLuigi Iannacci & Bente Graham

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Disability, Discourse and Theory, and Practice in a Bachelor of Education Program

Luigi Iannacci & Bente Graham

This chapter explores understandings that teacher candidates had about young children with special needs or a learning disability prior to, during, and after a special education–focused course and a tutoring practicum they were required to complete as part of their bachelor of education degree. Discourses that informed their understandings are examined in order to critically assess theory/practice gaps in a teacher education context as they relate to disability, and to develop future special education curricula that destabilizes dominant and problematic discourses about disability.

Reconceptualist approaches to the professional development of early childhood educators stress the importance of deconstructing the ways in which dominant discourses shape student–teacher interactions in order to prevent the reinscription and furthering of inequitable and coercive relations of power (Cummins, 2001). This is a critical project that “invokes a tradition of curricular theorizing that sees as its goal the social transformation and reconstruction of educational institutions such as ECE [early childhood education]” (Iannacci & Whitty, 2009, p. 22). Reconceptualization is especially necessary at this point in time in ECE as the “hunt for disability” (Baker, 2002) and the fallout from this hunt have led to the “proliferation of categories of educational disability” (p. 676) and a subsequent significant increase in the number of young children assigned a “disability label at an earlier age than in the past” (p. 678). The “hunt” has...

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