ABS283 - The challenges for conceptual learning: Examining the role of teachers’ ‘subject positioning’ for creating conditions for children’s development at group-time - Board 3

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Part of:
11:00 AM, Wednesday 30 Aug 2017 (1 hour)
The importance of conceptual development in play-based early childhood education is well-established in Australian and international research and policy.  However, many popular Early Childhood pedagogies (e.g. Emergent/Inquiry Curriculum, Reggio Emilia) place the teacher in an ‘under position’.  This study examined different forms of subject-positioning used by teachers to create the conditions for development during group time.  As part of the first author’s Ph.D. study, this first phase included digital video recordings of two teachers interacting with 24 children (mean age 5.2 years) during group time and subsequent play.  Six hours of video observations were analysed using Kravtsova’s (2009) Cultural-Historical concept of subject positioning to explore pedagogical practice.  This paper focuses on the tension around the teacher’s role and how teachers position themselves in relation to the children.

Findings suggest that for teachers practicing pedagogies based predominantly on children’s interests, ideas and theories, placing the teacher in the ‘under position’, it is difficult to create the conditions for children’s conceptual development.  The role teachers were required to take to document children's voices was also found to be a factor that created a preference for the ‘under position’. We argue that varying the subject positioning creates the conditions for concept development and makes conceptual learning more conscious.  This study contributes to an understanding of the relationship between the subject positioning of the teacher and the conceptual learning of children in the Early Childhood Education context.
Monash University
Monash University

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