What is a provocation?
We have a great, more in depth article here detailing exactly what a provocation is which you may like to read first. However, in simple terms a provocation is something which is set up to ‘provoke’ learning. This may be a photo, a book, a display area, an example piece of work etc…. This seems to be a very popular trend at the moment with many settings creating a provocation to inspire the children. So many are fond of this idea using it in a variety of ways from adding a small new object to an area to creating a full provocation area. But the most recent debate coming out is, is creating a provocation a fancy way to say adult led learning?
Is a provocation the same as adult led learning?
Many will say ‘yes’ they are the same because an adult is staging an activity/area/ resource in order to led the children learn about what has been set up for the provocation. For example a vase of sunflowers may be placed on the table with paint pots, paints in yellow, brown and green and paint brushes. Some would call this a provocation because it is provoking the children to explore and create sunflowers, others would say this is an adult led activity with the adult guiding what should be done. Or another example may be photographs of a temple being displayed on a table along with building bricks, some again would say this is a provocation others would say this is an adult led activity. It is easy to see why there is so much confusion and in some ways they are incredibly similar. However, there are a few differences.
What are the differences between a provocation and adult led learning?
- A provocation is usually set up ready for independent exploration – There is no pressure for the children to do the activity nor are they led in how they should complete the activity unlike adult led which is usually guided and directed throughout
- Provocations are not always a set activity and there is often no set learning outcome for the children. For example it may just be some new metal teapots in the water tray to provoke exploration in this area unlike adult led learning which usually has a set learning outcome
- Whilst a provocation is provoking or as some see it leading learning it can still be based fully around children’s interests. Sometimes this can get lost with adult led learning and children’s interests are not always taken in to account and activities are completed to get certain observations or pieces of artwork for a display etc…
It would be interesting to hear how many of you believe they are the same thing? Leave us a comment below