A Child-Centred Discourse in Zambian Kindergartens?
Keywords:child-centred teaching, discourse, kindergarten, ECCDE, Zambia
This article aims to identify and discuss the existence and strengthening of a child-centred teaching discourse in Zambian kindergartens. The article is based on the understanding that the teacher-directed approach to teaching is a historically based hegemonic discourse within Zambian kindergartens. This means that the teacher-directed teaching discourse dominates thinking in many ways and is translated into institutional arrangements (Hajer, 1995, in Svarstad, 2005, p. 243). Several studies have pointed to the challenges posed by the teacher-directed teaching discourse in kindergartens in Sub-Saharan Africa as a hindrance of pedagogical quality in such institutions, pointing to a child-centred teaching discourse as an important path towards development (EFA, 2015, p. 208, Temba, 2014, p. 110; Mwaura et al., 2008; 2011). This article includes a positive discourse analysis of the Zambian Education Curriculum Framework and a small-scale qualitative study, based on observations from four classrooms in four kindergartens in the Copperbelt province of Zambia. The article focuses on conducting a positive discourse analysis of the elements of child-centred teaching discourse observed in one of the four classrooms. The findings point to the existence of a child-centred teaching discourse in the Zambian Education Curriculum Framework. However, only one of the four Zambian kindergarten teachers seemed to implement teaching practices that could be identified as a child-centred teaching discourse. The elements of a child-centred teaching discourse identified through the positive discourse analysis were: the kindergarten teachers’ professional decisions, good interaction with children, use of a variety of materials, and children’s participation. The findings are discussed in light of the Zambian Education Curriculum Framework as well as theoretical perspectives on child-centred teaching discourse, argumentation theory and children’s right to participation. Finally, the article includes a critical discussion of how the findings may strengthen a child-centred teaching discourse in Zambian kindergartens.
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