Dr Louise Porter joins Goodstart as a senior early learning consultant
Child psychologist and author Dr Louise Porter has joined Goodstart Early Learning as Senior Early Learning Consultant – Practice Uplift (behaviour). She commenced her position formally in May, with the aim of “improving outcomes for children, and making work more rewarding for all educators”.
Dr Porter said she is passionate about supporting children to meet their needs in ways that allow others to meet theirs also. She will be working with General Manager of Pedagogy and Practice Sue Robb with the aim of ensuring that Goodstart educators and teachers employ world-best practice when responding to children’s behaviour.
“Reflecting Goodstart’s deep commitment to uplifting practice, part of my role will be to build a culture where the guidance method is used rather than the controlling reward and punishment method,” Dr Porter said.
Dr Porter recently shared her findings with Victorian early childhood teachers employed through other education and care providers external to Goodstart at a low-cost professional development session, held on 24 June 2019, as part of Goodstart’s social purpose and sphere of influence in support of increasing the public commitment to quality early learning and care.
Dr Porter’s presentation focused on the guidance method, which believes that children do well when they can and, like adults, want to be successful in life. If they are making mistakes, it is because they lack the skill to carry out tasks successfully.
Guidance is juxtapositioned with more traditional behaviour management methods, which centre on power and control. The controlling method uses punishment and reward and is based on negative beliefs that children are attention seeking, manipulative and misbehaving deliberately.
“Guidance does not use rewards or punishment but instead teaches children skills that allow them to behave considerately,” Dr Porter noted.
Guidance, Dr Porter said, centres on the belief that children need our compassion the most when they appeared to deserve it the least.
Humans are hard-wired to learn how to build relationships with others and co-operate with them to ensure their needs and wants were met, and therefore, Dr Porter said, children need to be taught to be considerate of the needs of others, becoming more mindful of their impact.
“You cannot teach this by using rewards or punishments,” she went on to say, “because those methods teach children what happens to them when they act in a given way, whereas what we want children to focus on is what happens to others when they act that way’.”