A rising body of research has documented the crucial role played by ECEC attendance, however, the extent to which ECEC can exert these positive benefits is closely linked to the quality of the ECEC provision: early childhood education matters, but only high quality ECEC makes a difference (Sylva et al., 2004). This issue has drawn educational researchers’ attention and the interest in monitoring quality of ECEC has resulted in the development of several measures to assess it (Ishimine & Tayler, 2014; Grammatikopoulis et al., 2015). Most of these measures are standard-based tools, often developed in the US, widely used at international level. The international application of the same evaluation measures, despite carrying some advantages, may also leads to pitfalls, especially if the cultural complexities of cross-cultural use of these instruments, their cultural consistency and ecological validity, are not taken into account (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence 2007; Tobin et al., 2009; Vandenbroeck & Peeters, 2014). This topic has received only marginal attention in literature and few recent studies (Ishimine & Tayler, 2014) discuss and argue the problematic validity of instruments migrating out of their cultural cradle. First findings will be presented from the Italian part of an international study – set within the research framework of the European project CARE – aimed to address this gap, focussing on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS Toddler and Pre-K versions, La Paro et al., 2012; Pianta et al., 2008), one of the most internationally widespread assessment instruments, originally developed to assess daily interactions between teachers and children in the US. National ECEC experts and teachers have been involved in sustained and focused observations and dialogues, using the CLASS tool, its dimensions, indicators and behavioural markers, as a lens and frame to observe and compare the perspective of the tool to the local-cultural and pedagogical perspective. Elements of continuity and differences between these perspectives were recognized and key-features of the teacher-child relationship not captured by the CLASS were elicited. Preliminary findings suggest that the CLASS, rather than being assumed as a tool valid to evaluate the quality of teacher-child interactions across cultures, can be a powerful highlighter of different cultural viewpoints on quality and pedagogy in ECEC settings, a stimulus to compare and contrast local theories with the values and the cultural models embedded in the instrument, through an «intercultural dialogue» supported by and with the instrument itself. Results offer interesting insights into a methodological reflection on the international use of standardized evaluation tools and into a theoretical reflection on universal vs culture-related views on education and quality. As it will be argued, while it is appropriate to recognize the continuity and size of agreements between different countries and cultures, it is as strategic to emphasize the variety of local cultures of children’s education and question a rigid universalistic idea of educational standards of quality: «the diversity of cultural ways within a nation and around the world is a resource for creativity and the future of humanity» (Rogoff, 2003, p.18).

Pastori, G., Pagani, V., Mantovani, S. (2016). A critical cultural approach to CLASS. The voice of Italian ECEC teachers.. In Conference book, Bridging multiple perspectives in Early Childhood Education, June 29, july 1 2016.

A critical cultural approach to CLASS. The voice of Italian ECEC teachers.

PASTORI, GIULIA GABRIELLA;PAGANI, VALENTINA;MANTOVANI, SUSANNA
2016

Abstract

A rising body of research has documented the crucial role played by ECEC attendance, however, the extent to which ECEC can exert these positive benefits is closely linked to the quality of the ECEC provision: early childhood education matters, but only high quality ECEC makes a difference (Sylva et al., 2004). This issue has drawn educational researchers’ attention and the interest in monitoring quality of ECEC has resulted in the development of several measures to assess it (Ishimine & Tayler, 2014; Grammatikopoulis et al., 2015). Most of these measures are standard-based tools, often developed in the US, widely used at international level. The international application of the same evaluation measures, despite carrying some advantages, may also leads to pitfalls, especially if the cultural complexities of cross-cultural use of these instruments, their cultural consistency and ecological validity, are not taken into account (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence 2007; Tobin et al., 2009; Vandenbroeck & Peeters, 2014). This topic has received only marginal attention in literature and few recent studies (Ishimine & Tayler, 2014) discuss and argue the problematic validity of instruments migrating out of their cultural cradle. First findings will be presented from the Italian part of an international study – set within the research framework of the European project CARE – aimed to address this gap, focussing on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS Toddler and Pre-K versions, La Paro et al., 2012; Pianta et al., 2008), one of the most internationally widespread assessment instruments, originally developed to assess daily interactions between teachers and children in the US. National ECEC experts and teachers have been involved in sustained and focused observations and dialogues, using the CLASS tool, its dimensions, indicators and behavioural markers, as a lens and frame to observe and compare the perspective of the tool to the local-cultural and pedagogical perspective. Elements of continuity and differences between these perspectives were recognized and key-features of the teacher-child relationship not captured by the CLASS were elicited. Preliminary findings suggest that the CLASS, rather than being assumed as a tool valid to evaluate the quality of teacher-child interactions across cultures, can be a powerful highlighter of different cultural viewpoints on quality and pedagogy in ECEC settings, a stimulus to compare and contrast local theories with the values and the cultural models embedded in the instrument, through an «intercultural dialogue» supported by and with the instrument itself. Results offer interesting insights into a methodological reflection on the international use of standardized evaluation tools and into a theoretical reflection on universal vs culture-related views on education and quality. As it will be argued, while it is appropriate to recognize the continuity and size of agreements between different countries and cultures, it is as strategic to emphasize the variety of local cultures of children’s education and question a rigid universalistic idea of educational standards of quality: «the diversity of cultural ways within a nation and around the world is a resource for creativity and the future of humanity» (Rogoff, 2003, p.18).
Si
abstract + slide
Quality, Evaluation, Standardized Tool, Cultural Analysis
English
Convegno EARLI – SIG5 Learning and Development in Early Childhood. Bridging multiple perspectives in Early Childhood Education
Pastori, G., Pagani, V., Mantovani, S. (2016). A critical cultural approach to CLASS. The voice of Italian ECEC teachers.. In Conference book, Bridging multiple perspectives in Early Childhood Education, June 29, july 1 2016.
Pastori, G; Pagani, V; Mantovani, S
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/146823
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