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Pedagogy of third space: A multidimensional early childhood curriculum

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This paper will illustrate how philosophical and pedagogical boundaries that are defined by diverse cultures and ideologies might be navigated in the practical implementation of an early childhood curriculum in postcolonial urban India. Findings from a qualitative naturalistic inquiry indicated that a complex, multifaceted curriculum shaped by diverse socio-cultural-historical elements was being enacted: a highly structured academic curriculum mandated by the government and historically rooted in the colonial policies of the British administrators; the ongoing values-based curriculum is rooted in Ancient Indian beliefs, the practical knowledge of teachers and some curricular ideas central to Euro-American progressive education. This early childhood approach did not fit the definition of any of the commonly known 'Western' early childhood curricula. Rather, the three-dimensional postcolonial early childhood curriculums seemed to seamlessly combine ideas from diverse educational discourses within what can be conceptualized as the third space of pedagogical hybridity. More recently, changes in the national curriculum policy recommend learner-centred approaches; and an increasing influence of globalization has promoted the adoption of core ideas from the dominant, mostly 'Western' discourse of early childhood education. A teacher education curriculum developed within a postcolonial framework to prepare early childhood teachers in the pedagogy of third space is recommended and urged. (author abstract)
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