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Title: Encouraging young children to talk about materials : reflections on the influence of context on young children's expression and development of scientific ideas
Author: Clarke, Helen Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Winchester
Date of Award: 2003
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This study arises from an optimistic view of young children's learning and in a gradual move away from the `deficit model', focuses on what young children can do. A significant amount of research, within a constructivist framework, has elicited older children's ideas about science concepts, including the area of materials, the focus of this project, which extends such work to focus on the voices of children aged three to five years. A number of tasks were developed to encourage talk about materials. Pilot Phase investigations refined key task criteria as markers of task design. These prioritise familiarity of task, ownership and control, social collaboration, and the integral role of adults in interaction. In the subsequent stages of action research, the research tasks were implemented with children aged 3-4 years in a nursery, and evaluated by practitioners in a range of early years' settings. Transcript data was analysed to explore the ways in which the children communicated ideas in their early explorations. The substantive findings provide evidence of the ability of young children in materials science and suggest implications for science learning and teaching in the early years. The children's use of a range of modalities to communicate their understanding highlights the need for practitioners to be aware of the importance of such child adult interactions. Bloom's framework (1992) is evaluated and extended to analyse children's actions and talk, and a model of interaction is proposed which both explains the data from this study and summarises a theoretical approach to science learning in the early years. In this model, elicitation tasks are learning experiences for children and opportunities for adults to hear children's voices with integrity and authenticity. Trust is a methodological imperative in research interaction. Integral to the report is reflection on relationships, serendipitous moments and personal learning and development.
Supervisor: Ryan, Charly ; Souza, Janice de Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available