Reflection on Margie Carter’s Seminar

Posted on November 5, 2009

By Trish Searle

Margie Carter and REANZ certainly practice what they teach. On the Saturday of the recent REANZ ‘Provoking Encounters’ Seminar, with Margie Carter, in Auckland they ‘created a reflective culture that transformed my pedagogy’.

The environment for the ‘provocation’ had been set up in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Tables and chairs were set in groups with centre pieces on the tables designed for exploration and delight, using natural resources, fabrics and colours. I chose where I sat by the display on the tables and the people already seated.

Margie encouraged us to practice ‘learning communities’, to ask questions of ourselves and others, to create a culture of inquiry, and to explore and examine responses as individuals and teachers.

Among other topics Margie spoke of using a ‘thinking lense’, which is to be aware of what is engaging our hearts and minds, and to seek the child’s point of view and reflect critically on documentation.

We examined open-ended resources and were challenged to represent on paper how we thought they worked. This was to deepen the understanding of the process we put children through when they are asked to represent their ideas.

I came away from the encounter suitably provoked, with the message that the journey of learning is equally as important to cultivate for teachers as it is for children. It is a journey to be taken in a collaborative way within a learning community, one where an aesthetically pleasing environment can be a third teacher for adults as well as children.