Young children using language to negotiate their social worlds

Danby, Susan J. & Davidson, Christina (2007) Young children using language to negotiate their social worlds. In Makin, Laurie, Jones Diaz, Criss, & McLachlan, Claire (Eds.) Literacies in childhood : changing views, challenging practice. Elsevier Australia, Marrickville, N.S.W., pp. 118-132.


Instruction in the early years of schooling typically emphasises skills in reading and writing. This reflects national and state government priorities for effective instruction and intervention, with the aim that all children develop appropriate levels of literacy by the completion of their first three years in formal schooling. This focus on the formal outcomes of literacy often results in less attention given to children's oral communication Where oral language is addressed in early years programs in informal and formal early childhood contexts, it is frequently in relation to what might better be called "oral language development" i.e. of speaking and listening skills. This perspective tends to emphasise the linguistic and cognitive development of students, rather than the social relationship constructed through talk.. Even more taken-for-granted are the communicative practices that involve the cultural practices of literacy, such as "doing school" and "doing learning", the communicative competence that children already possess when they begin formal schooling and the ways in which talk and interaction are integrally connected to the social practices of literacy.

This chapter draws on video recordings and transcripts of naturally occurring talk from the institutional settings of pre-school and early primary school to show how children routinely and competently employ conversational procedures and resources in the social organization of their social and literacy activities. A conversation analysis approach is used to describe interactional resources used by children, and establishes them as competent contributors to their social worlds, although in ways not always consistent with adult versions of childhood and school student in pre-school and classroom settings. This chapter concludes that it is essential for teachers to understand how children's communication contributes to the accomplishment of their everyday activities and social worlds, in complex and competent ways.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 14760
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: language, literacy, early childhood education, classroom, social interaction
ISBN: 9780729537834
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Elsevier Australia
Deposited On: 08 Sep 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:36

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page