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Making meaning of children’s social interactions through dynamic narrating

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Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
1:30 PM, Mardi 29 Août 2017 (24 minutes)
3.1 Farther reaches of theoretical and methodological explorations
Children’s stories about peer experiences reflect the ways they contextually make sense of their social interactions within the school context. More so, they allow us to see the values that guide their peer interactions, as values influence what people actually do; how they approach and interact with the world (Daiute, 2013; Rogoff, 1990). Yet, the sources of these values are often unclear. Children receive messages about social interactions from their families (Grusec, 2011), but they also receive messages from within the school itself: the broader school culture (Henry, Farrell, Schoney, Tolan, & Dymnicki, 2011), the classroom culture (Gest & Rodkin, 2011), and the peer culture (Corsaro & Elder, 2001). Although some of these values may be congruent because of school socialization (Wentzel, 2015), it is likely that there may be tensions among the endorsed values from these varied sources (Daiute, 2008). This study used dynamic narrating to examine the tensions and congruities of children’s school expectations and relationship values among a group of third-grade children, sixth-grade children, their respective teachers, and the school that they all attended. We used values analysis (Daiute, 2014) to determine the social values from the school (taken from the mission statement), teachers (oral narratives) and students (two written narratives). We found value tensions and congruities across all levels, which reflected school mission values that were not recognized, teacher values that were contested, and inter-classroom differences in peer relations. Using a dynamic narrative approach allowed us to examine the shared and divergent meanings of school, teacher, and peer expectations, so we could more fully understand the complexities of creating and maintaining shared values within the school context. 

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