Reconceptualizing the Reconceptualist

Some people believe that if something ain’t broke then it doesn’t need to be fixed. I also believe in this concept, but only in particular instances. Such as using the same fridge my grandparents had on their farm for my entire life.

Picture of an old fridge
SnaPsi Сталкер Flickr via Compfight cc

Does the fridge keep things cold?

Yes.

Does it have an ice machine and all the buttons that nobody ever uses?

No.

The same can be said for the schooling system. Many argue that change to the curriculum is not worth the effort, but with an ever-changing society the things we learn in school should prepare students for the lifestyle after graduation.

This brings us to reconceptualism, something I had never heard of before. I learned that reconceptualism is a belief that counters everything I had spent the first five weeks of class driving into my brain. It challenges the narrow worldview that the likes of Bronfenbrenner and Piaget share – the view of an old white guy. The challenges that reconceptualists pose aren’t backed with hostility. They are only suggestions for a different way to think.

I then went on to learn of the three broad focuses that reconceptualists adhere to:

1) They challenge grand narratives. I immediately connected this to Vygotsky who thought differently from what every other white, male, child psychologist believed at the time and began examining the classroom in its entirety instead of examining individuals..

2) They recognize and embrace diversity. This can be done by keeping an open mind and perspective as well as willing to ask the difficult questions. I was able to connect this to my very first school placement in ECS 100. I was placed in Albert Community School where the entire structure of the day was different from any other school I had known of. This was done in the best interest of the surrounding community because the staff at Albert Community were able to ask the tough questions.

3) Lastly, they acknowledge social and historical context. This is done by considering the many possibilities for transformation to eradicating issues around poverty, colonialism, gender, and many more social and historical issues.

In learning all of this, I aim to build a mindset of reconceptualism. But I am not sure I will be successful at the patience that goes along with this belief. How do patience and reconceptualism go hand in hand?

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Author: Hayley Hodson

I have known I wanted to be a teacher my entire life. I never had a doubt in my mind of what I wanted to be in this world. Even though I was certain of the end goal, I never stopped to wonder what the journey to get to that point would look like. This blog is it. This blog is the messy middle where I transition from student to teacher. Every thought and belief I have and learn throughout my education is posted to this blog in order to document my journey in becoming a teacher. I invite you all to join me as I strive to become more than just a teacher, but also a kind and inclusive citizen.

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