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ABS435 - Play-based teaching and learning approaches and the development of freedom

1.3 Learning, knowledge and agency
11:40 AM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
Midday Meal   12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (1 hour 30 minutes)
Play, within a cultural-historical perspective, can be characterized as a joint activity that is socially constructed in which participants “play out” an imaginary situation, taking on roles and developing scripts that externalize their conceptual understanding of the world and themselves in the rules they negotiate for action. In playing the imaginary situation of going to the doctor, for example, there are rules about how a doctor acts in relation to the patient (and vice versa) and the types of material tools and conceptual tools used in the practice of medicine. 
Meaning is at the heart of play from a Vygotskian perspective. Vygotsky argued that “meaning predominates in play” (Vygotsky, 1978, 101), whereas the opposite is true in reality. As such, play participants act more consciously with the conceptual meaning that constitutes the rules for action in the imaginary situation. This focus on meaning, on how one’s conceptual knowledge is actualized in play, is key to human learning and development. Meaning making is central in play and its potential for expanding and deepening children’s understanding of the world and themselves through it, is not only developmental in the intellectual sense, it develops human freedom. 
This oral paper explores how play-based teaching and learning approaches develop freedom, drawing upon the work of Vygotsky, Fleer, Van Oers, Bodrova, Derry, Brandom, and Spinoza, amongst others. 
University College Longon (UCL)