Committed Sapiential Circles
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Citation:Ritchie, J. (2014). "Committed Sapiential Circles" University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 21st-24th. Paper presented at 10th Annual International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 21st-24th.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/3041
Possibilities for Post/Counter-Colonial Research With Children Early childhood care and education settings are sites of potentiality, of “immense possibility and power” (Batycky, 2008, p. 176), yet situated in contexts imbued with the historicity and legacy of colonization, racism, and cultural and economic inequities. Cannella and Viruru (2004) have explained the pervasive nature of colonialist thinking, and how the constructions of ‘child’ and ‘education’ are implicated within this. They challenge us to construct a ‘postcolonial disposition’ which problematizes the ‘will to power’, ‘othering’, and simplistic interpretations constructed by adults in the name of children (p. 155). This confronts us in regard to our commitment to perform post/counter-colonial research with children, and how we might conceive this research as praxis, that is “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it” (Freire, 1972, p. 28). In a counter-colonialist praxis-oriented research mode, “children would be encouraged to engage in continual critique of the situations within which we have placed them” (Cannella & Viruru, 2004, p. 155). Further, this ongoing praxis needs to engage with both “local and global community actions” as determined by the children themselves (p. 155). When we view and relate to children as agentic and powerful, we recognize their mana (esteem, integrity) and tinorangatiratanga (self-determination). Our most recent project, ‘Titiro Whakamuri, Hoki Whakamua. We are the future, the present and the past: caring for self, others and the environment in early years’ teaching and learning’(Ritchie et al., 2010), demonstrated children’s agency, supported through the kaupapa (philosophy) of the research project as enacted and facilitated by committed educator co-researchers. Children demonstrated their empathy and compassion for Papatūanuku (Mother Earth) and Ranginui (Sky Father), and were actively and consciously pursuing practices that would protect Papatūanuku and Ranginui, such as recycling, beach and park clean-ups, tree-planting, gardening and so forth. Parents and communities were also drawn into these activities, demonstrating the catalytic potential of young children, supported by responsive, engaged adults, of revolutionary transformative praxis who were in service of our planet.