Woodhill Park Retreat

Dr. Jens Hansen and Jo Perry

Dr. Jens Hansen and Jo Perry have consistently produced papers and delivered presentations about aspects of qualitative research for the past four years.  Jo was Director of the Early Childhood Education Centre at the Mangare Centre for Refugee Education in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand but now lectures in Early Childhood Education at the Manukau Institute of Technology.  Jens is a Director of the Woodhill Park Research Retreat and is also a supervisor of Jo's doctoral studies.

 Articles by this Author

Ensuring truth in learning stories

Trusting Parents: the potency of truly, really, really, truly Partnered Learning Stories. 

Anna Jo Perry, Manukau Institute of Technolgy
Dr Jens J. Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat

In Aotearoa New Zealand, teachers are charged with writing stories about children’s learning stories.  They construct them from a professional perspective informed by and from the experience of what they see and their professional knowledge.  But when there is no language in common between the children and the teacher, more often than not, the teacher’s written perspective becomes contestable.  This presentation reconsiders the underlying purpose and methods of devising learning stories.  It does so by narrating how engagement was facilitated with newly arrived refugee parents and their children in the planning cycle.  Three lenses were used to achieve this: the child’s eye, the parents’ perspective, and finally, the teacher’s ‘informed’ viewpoint.  As a consequence, a richer deeper understanding of these children’s families and their learning needs unfolded and the potency of learning stories became appreciated afresh.  

Hansen, J., Perry A. (2007). “Ways of Seeing Revisited”: Introducing a way forward in visual analysis.  Early Childhood Convention Proceedings: 2007, Rotorua.

Hansen, J., Perry, A. (2009). Communities of Learning in Early Childhood Education: Supporting Reciprocal Relationships with Refugee Parents at the Centre for Refugee Education. CLESOL 2008 Refereed Conference Proceedings.

Once again, the abstract above provides only a modicum of material: to access the powerpoint presentation, click here

People create stories to explain and make sense of their environment and events within it.  In early childhood education, therefore, reflective practice and learning stories fulfil an important role.  This paper examines visual depictions of learning episodes within stories and how appreciation is deepened through photographic image de- and re-construction for subsequent in-depth analysis.  In the original project a series of photographs of early childhood ‘situations’ were presented twice to subjects for interpretation.  They were presented, first, as ‘gestalt’ images and accompanying written interpretations were obtained.  In the second showing, a visual grid was introduced over the same pictures.  This prompted subjects to pay much more attention to particulars, thus facilitating a deeper understanding of the photographs.  The visual grid, therefore, served as a powerful aid that enabled multiple observers to discern, distinguish and comment in greater detail upon a series of images.  In the second phase of this project, a series of photographs of their children engaged in activities in the Early Childhood centre, Centre for Refugee Education, were shown to refugee parents.  These parents were then asked to interpret what they saw.  The process was repeated with the children.  Finally the teachers added their interpretation of the events, thus forming a much more robust picture of the child’s learning event. 

It is contended that this piecing together of multiple perspectives with the accompanying value and honour given to the people who engage in them is a marked feature of the Community of Learning in the ECE at the CRE and that it has a marked effect on the relationships that form and the individual identities that are shared.  The full paper will be published in the CLESOL conference proceedings but a stand-alone PDF version of the paper can be accessed by clicking here.  In addition, a power point show of the presentation can be accessed by clicking here.