the educative context

IMG_2450-256.jpg

i’ve written before about the idea of tacit teaching, and the important role which context (as opposed to explicit content) plays in the development of children.  the idea is that we should be as intentional about context as we are about content, because what we immerse our children in matters, perhaps more than what we tell them during their immersion.  

but in order to do something constructive with this idea, it is necessary to operationalize it.  the idea of context can be broken down in a number of ways.  in the context of schooling, it is we can conveniently talk about them in terms of three aspects: the physical, material environment and objects in it; the social context and interpersonal features; and the institutional landscape including formal and informal policies, which shape the course of experiences in that context.  while these areas are not mutually exclusive, they provide a convenient lens through which we can begin to discern the various factors which constitute the educative context at each level of the system, from classroom, to school and up to the community or board level.  within each cell of the resulting matrix, we can begin plotting what we observe, and asking ourselves what subtle messages this sends to our children, in what ways this shapes them, and what may be a more preferable alternative in terms of our educational goals.

i’ve written before about the idea of tacit teaching, and the important role which context (as opposed to explicit content) plays in the development of children.  the idea is that we should be as intentional about context as we are about content, because what we immerse our children in matters, perhaps more than what we tell them during their immersion.

but in order to do something constructive with this idea, it is necessary to operationalize it.  the idea of context can be broken down in a number of ways.  in the context of schooling, it is we can conveniently talk about them in terms of three aspects: the physical, material environment and objects in it; the social context and interpersonal features; and the institutional landscape including formal and informal policies, which shape the course of experiences in that context.  while these areas are not mutually exclusive, they provide a convenient lens through which we can begin to discern the various factors which constitute the educative context at each level of the system, from classroom, to school and up to the community or board level.  within each cell of the resulting matrix, we can begin plotting what we observe, and asking ourselves what subtle messages this sends to our children, in what ways this shapes them, and what may be a more preferable alternative in terms of our educational goals.