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Children’s scientific imagining and their engagement in everyday family activities

2.4 Cross-national explorations of sociocultural research on learning
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
9:57 AM, Vendredi 1 Sep 2017 (27 minutes)
Traditionally, children’s imagination in play is depicted as a fantasy world created through play; however, based on Vygotsky’s (1966) concept of play, it is a kind of imaginary situation through which children are trying to make conscious their awareness of reality and to act out the rules in their particular society. This study seeks to examine how Chinese families provide the conditions for children’s scientific imagining through a wholeness approach from a cultural-historical perspective. The interactive and dialectic relations between children’s scientific imagining and their everyday real life experiences across different family settings were examined, such as preparing to go to kindergarten, cycling in the park and out-door playing after snowing. Cultural-historical activity traditions are positioned as the theoretical framework of this study including the theorization of play, imagination, and the dialectic between everyday and scientific concepts. Two middle-class families in Mainland China with a 3-year child each (including a boy and a girl) participated in this study. A total 52.32 hours of data were collected through digital video observations and parent interviews over two observation periods (with an interval of ten months). This study found that children’s participation in various everyday family settings worked as a whole to form their scientific imagining. Dialectically, with the help of parents’ supported scientific imagining especially through family joint imaginary play, children showed their potential to make conscious everyday phenomena. It is argued that scientific imagining must be examined and discussed as a dialectical relation to children’s everyday real life experiences. 
Monash University
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