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Title: Vygotsky and play : a critical exploration of theory and practice
Author: Doherty, Andrea Mary
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This study describes a critical exploration of theory into practice. Two principles of Vygotskian cultural historical theory: mixed age play and enhanced home-school links, already integrated into practice in Zolotoi Kluchick (Golden Key) programme schools in Russia, were adapted and implemented in an early years setting (3-6 years) in Northern Ireland. These principles were implemented, evaluated and modified, in a cyclic process, involving the school community throughout. Over one school year, six teachers, 15 classroom assistants, 106 children, five sets of parents, and the researcher, formed a pedagogical collective to explore both the process of implementation, and resultant impact of the Intergrated Play Programme (IPP). The study explores critically the translation of Vygotskian theory into practice. A constructivist methodology was employed, which viewed collaboration within the school community as vital to its success. Vygotskian theory was foundational in the developmental methodology that saw new research methods emerge throughout the research. Findings and conclusions drawn from this study were drawn primarily from participant perspectives. Vygotskian concepts of the zone of proximal development (ZPD), social situation of development (SSD), internalisation and cultural mediation guided the analysis, evaluation, and reflection. Findings revealed that the translation process was not straightforward, and required modifications to the original principles. The concept of 'family' appeared to connect home and school emerged as the major factor in modifying the implementation process. A 'family pedagogy' was developed, in which mixed-age play groups were known as 'school families'. Children's discussion of their 'school family' at home generated curiosity and interest from parents and carers, and provided a dialogical tool and cultural tool to bridge children's home and school learning. The study highlights the value of using play as the basis for this family pedagogy and, in line with Vygotskian theory, presented play as the predominant developmental activity for young children
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available