Emotional imagination during teacher-child play in playworlds

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
1:30 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
The research of Gunilla Lindqvist introduced playworlds as a pedagogical approach for developing children’s play. She drew upon Vygotsky’s conception of play and drama pedagogy, resulting in a playworlds approach which positioned teachers as taking an active role in children’s play. Since then, this research has been further elaborated and developed (Hakkarainen et al., 2013). Insights have been made into how playworlds work in other countries, such as Finland, Lithuania and Australia (see other presentations). One of the unique features has been the need for teachers to be inside of the playworld. Despite the evidence from this body or research showing that children welcome teachers’ involvement in playworlds (Lindqvst, 2003), it appears that teachers have not always felt comfortable in this new role. What is missing from this research is an exploration of how teachers make sense of their new role, and how they emotionally engage with playworlds. In drawing upon the work of Vygotsky (1987) and Zaporozhets (2003), this presentation uses the concept of emotional imagination to understand better how children and teachers make meaning together in playworlds. The presentation will report on an analysis of 37 Australian early childhood teachers from across a range of studies, as they introduced and lived through playworlds. Each of the playworlds had a slightly different focus (e.g., scientific playworld; fairytales; digital playworld; executive function activities playworld), giving broader insights into teacher crises, emotions, and practices (El'koninova, 2001, 2002; Lobman, 2010). In taking the teachers’ perspective, the study has shown that new forms of pedagogy are practiced, new conceptions of children’s play emerge, and new understandings about the psychological development of children became possible. Teachers noticed how children changed the meaning of actions and objects in playworlds, and how children moved from the object to the idea of the object, and then to the word and back in their play narratives. It is argued in this presentation that research into play should also study how play supports the development of teachers. 
Monash University
Monash University