The politics of processes and products in education: An early childhood metanarrative crisis?

Educational Philosophy and Theory 39 (3):300–311 (2007)
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Abstract

This paper critically engages with the theme of ‘process over product’—a theme that is argued to be increasingly problematised as an influential narrative in the construction and transmission of a philosophy of early education. The importance of producing children of ‘competence’ through appropriate educational processes is associated with assumptions regarding what counts as an appropriate educational journey for children before they reach school age. Drawing upon the work of Michel Foucault, and Jean‐François Lyotard, this paper considers the purpose and tensions of articulating process as more important than product in early childhood. It is argued that the articulation of the child as a particular kind of process‐oriented player leads to an uncritical acceptance of technologies of governing the child. Furthermore, discourse asserting the importance of processes of play reveals a crisis in understanding what it means to be a player, and what the purpose of the process of play might be. Process contributes to a narrow understanding of a performative purpose of play as a processing of information. A role of the educator, this paper argues, is then to critically engage with the transmission of the theme of process

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