Creating spaces for children's agency: 'I wonder...' formulations in teacher-child interactions

Houen, Sandy, Danby, Susan, Farrell, Ann, & Thorpe, Karen (2016) Creating spaces for children's agency: 'I wonder...' formulations in teacher-child interactions. International Journal of Early Childhood. (In Press)

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Abstract

Affording children’s agency is an important pedagogical underpinning of a high-quality early childhood program. Yet little is known about how teachers’ interactions create spaces for children’s agency. From the perspectives of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, this paper investigates how teachers and children navigate agency through their collaborative interactions that relate to classroom participation. Drawing on 170 h of video recordings of classroom interactions in nine preschool classrooms, this paper discusses the teachers’ use of ‘I wonder…’ formulations in their interactions with children. In total, there were 17 occasions where the teachers used this formulation to create a space for agency for children to make decisions regarding their participation in classroom experiences. The ‘I wonder…’ formulation is suggested as a strategy for teachers to use when inviting classroom participation at times when children really do have a choice. These findings contribute to understanding children’s agency and point to practical strategies for teachers to afford children agency within the bounds of classroom life. Building and using a repertoire of pedagogic strategies to encourage child participation and agency is demonstrable evidence of high-quality teacher–child interactions.

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ID Code: 99522
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: children's agency, ethnomethodology (EM), conversation analysis (CA), 'I wonder...' formulations, teacher-child interaction
DOI: 10.1007/s13158-016-0170-4
ISSN: 1878-4658
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators (130313)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Funding:
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Springer
Deposited On: 29 Sep 2016 22:58
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 21:36

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