SYMP 037 - Participation, identity, and leadership: A three-pronged exploration of agency in early childhood education

1.3 Learning, knowledge and agency, 1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Symposium (Symp)
Tuesday Aug 29   03:50 PM to 05:50 PM (2 hours)
Agency is a complex phenomenon that presents itself during interaction with others, as people recognise, interpret and respond to, either individually or collectively, the cultural activities in which they participate (Edwards, 2015). In early childhood education (ECE), understanding the notion of agency in relation to children and teachers isn't always easy for several reasons. For example, it can be argued that children are still developing an ability to fully articulate their intentions, decisions, and actions, and the notion of a teaching team suggests intersecting intentions and decisions about shared activity. With such complexities, it's clear that in order to develop in-depth understandings of agency in ECE, its manifestations, and the conditions and situations in which it emerges, researchers might give serious attention to particular interpretivist methods alongside sociocultural and CHAT theoretical constructs that recognize the potential for agency-in-context to be explored and understood in diverse ways. This symposium addresses these issues by exploring learning, knowledge, and agency in three layers:
1. Exploring the agency and participation of toddlers using sociocultural and sociological theoretical perspectives, a mosaic framework, and child-friendly participatory methods.
2. Examining learning, knowledge, and agency of a young child through sociocultural theory, and related concepts of funds of identity and funds of knowledge.
3. Investigating teachers’ collective activity for the emergence of everyday teacher leadership using cultural-historical activity theory and the related concept of relational agency.

Our three-pronged exploration of agency emphasizes agency as a multi-dimensional phenomenon and highlights its significance for all children, teachers, and researchers in early childhood education.
Monash University
University of Auckland, New Zealand
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication
Brooklyn College
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication
Aalborg University
Post Doc
University of Auckland

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