7th August 2017

Personal Reflection from the REAIE Conference

REAIE 2017

Rochelle Ritchie, Guardian’s Social Media Specialist attended the REAIE Conference and took a moment to reflect on her experiences at this event.


This year the Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange (REAIE) Biennial Conference took place in Sydney, from the 14 – 16th July. Under the theme ‘Landscapes of Identity’, the conference allowed for personal and existential conversations about identity from a range of insightful perspectives.

‘Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn.’ Loris Malaguzzi

During the Information Exchange, I had the opportunity to reflect alongside educators and researchers, about balancing personal and professional identities; as well as learning about the theory of identity.

Putting ourselves into the identity soup, in a presentation by Alma Fleet, we delved into the idea of situational identities, offering a unique perspective and a considered way of approaching situations in the classroom and beyond. The presentation allowed for personal reflection, constructive criticism and development. All active and engaged listeners left the presentation encouraged to share, be bold, ask, read and think.

REAIE 2017

The second talk I attended was Walking Strong on Country, presented by Annette Sax and Kylie McLennan. This presentation offered an insightful understanding of Indigenous culture and identity, referencing the pedagogical pandemic.

“Children learn about themselves and construct their own identity within the context of their families and communities. This includes their relationships with people, places and things and the actions and responses of others.
Identity is not fixed – it is shaped by our experiences.”
Excerpt taken from the Early Years Framework for Australia, 2009, Page 20.

This was my most profound learning from the REAIE Conference – that identity is not fixed. In a post structural world there are multiple answers and exits, and understanding of the world around us will be gained through, talking, listening, exploring and engaging with children and the world around us.

REAIE promotes the rights and potentials of children and facilitates national and international dialogue and debate about education. More information about the REAIE can be found here.

These reflections represent the thoughts and opinions of an individual, and do not reflect Guardian’s views or opinions. The images shown here are from the Guardian Early Learning Group stand at the REAIE Conference. Guardian Early Learning Group was a proud sponsor of the Conference.

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