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ABS012 - Building common knowledge between parents and children: cultural-historical insights into parenting

1.3 Learning, knowledge and agency
11:20 AM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
This paper extends work informed by contemporary cultural-historical theorists: Edwards, Hedegaard, and Derry. It explores how professionals support parents of children where some kind of risk to has been identified. The argument is that significant changes occur for parents through a learning process focused on developing common knowledge between parent and child. This learning forms the basis of developments (changed relationships between parents and elements of parenting practices), that promote wellbeing and buffer against risks. The professional intervention is conceptualised as enabling parents to understand the child as an agentic participant whose behaviours can be interpreted and shaped by attending to their motives in particular situations, even from a very early age. The paper will consider an example from a home visit with a mother of a 14 week-old child. Edwards’ (2016) has described forms of knowledge, expertise and agency involved in professional work where relationships with clients or other professionals are key to working on complex problems. However, her concept of common knowledge has not previously been applied to relationships between parents and children. Edwards’ Leont’evian approach foregrounds the importance of motives, as does Hedegaard (2012), the latter within a conceptualisation of activities in practices in institutions. Her recent writing on Vygotsky's notion of the social situation of development is important to the analysis presented here. Derry’s (2008) notion of the space of reasons is further deployed in linking these analytical approaches.
University of Technology Sydney
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