Learning in the Making

Margaret Carr


Learning in the Making: disposition and design in early education. Authors: Margaret Carr, Anne B. Smith, Judith Duncan, Carolyn Jones, Wendy Lee & Kate Marshall. Foreword by Jacqueline Goodnow 'Learning in the Making' integrates theoretical ideas, research findings, and richly detailed episodes of learning to chart the development of learner identities in the early years. Learning dispositions are the central theme. The book traces the progression of learning dispositions for fourteen young children from early childhood centres into the first year of school. To quote the Foreword by Jacqueline Goodnow: this book "is a rare example of work that has two firm bases. One is in the conceptual analyses of learning. The other is in what one learns from the longitudinal following of individual children and particular aspects of change." A theoretical discussion early in the book defines a learning disposition, and argues for three key learning dispositions: reciprocity, resilience and imagination. The fourteen case studies provide verbs for these three learning dispositions: suggesting what young children are doing when they are learning to: live together, take some authority in their lives, and imagine alternatives. Jacqueline Goodnow also comments: "One of the major steps that this book makes consists of translating these nouns into verbs. With that translation, one can pin down what these terms mean. We can begin to see what children do that indicates moves towards reciprocity, resilience, or imagination. And we can begin to see - by way of those specific activities - what we ourselves can do or can foster". Learning in the making, it is argued, is sited in the relationship between disposition and design. The book describes six 'transactional and progressive' processes that are at work in this relationship, with implications for the design of educational environments, for policy, for professional development, and for teacher education. This book was written for teachers, practitioners, families, tertiary educators, and academics working in early education. However a wider audience will be interested in the analysis of where and how children develop a 'critical edge' in relation to their learning and their learning opportunities - Learning in the Making.

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