Play Based Pedagogy

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Play Based Pedagogy

Play Based Pedagogy


In this chapter we will contend that pedagogical theories could inform the conduct of action research based on social theories. We are referring here not to 'pedagogy as method' which has been dominant in the Anglo-American literature, but toPedagogiek, which we term 'pedagogy as human science', or more precisely, the science of the child's upbringing. This science seeks answers to questions about what kind of human beings children should become and how they can be raised toward becoming such human beings, taking into account the context in which this process of upbringing takes place.

Frameworks are used in which knowledge from different disciplines (psychology, sociology, philosophy, economics, law) are integrated. Pedagogy as human science was more dominant in the Netherlands, Germany and other continental European countries until recently but this dominance is increasingly being replaced by a strong focus toward pragmatic Anglo-American pedagogic literature with a strong psychological focus on the individual learner (see Van Manen, 2004; Westbury, 2000). We start with the underpinning principles that legitimize action research and argue that in addition to principles of justice and critique, principles of pedagogy (pedagogiek) are also needed (see Ponte, 2007). We then go on to explore the historical background of pedagogy as human science, constantly exploring questions that teachers doing action research will ask themselves. The chapter concludes by making a link to Anglo-American literature on pedagogy and some closing remarks.

Arguments For Action Research

The general argument made for action research is often as follows. The reality of professional practice is complex, changeable and cannot be accurately predicted in advance by general academic knowledge. As a consequence, practitioners constantly have to face the question: What in the given circumstances is the best way to act, in order to achieve what is important at this moment? In action research this argument is mainly bound up with an agenda for democracy and social justice. Although there seems to be a consensus on this agenda, different orientations can be found. We summarize these as the principles of justice and critique, each in a different way related to the principles of professional development (inspired by the 'ethics' of Poliner Shapiro and Stefkovich, 2001: 1).

The principles of justice are grounded in the theories which are part of a liberal democratic tradition. Action research in this tradition is legitimized by a commitment to human freedom, equality of educational opportunity and freedom of belief (Stenhouse, 2005). The principles of critique are grounded in critical theories. Action research with a focus on these principles is legitimized by a commitment to demystify claims of truth for the purpose of transforming society and emancipating individuals from false consciousness (Carr and Kemmis, 2006). The principles of professionalism refer here to action research as a strategy for professional development. From the principles of justice perspective, action researchers should address the question of how to achieve consensus in interaction with children or youths and other stakeholders about what the aims are in given circumstances and the best way to achieve them. From the principles of critique perspective, action researchers should address the question of how they can contribute to social ...
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