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Title: Family play-learning through informal education : make and play activities with traditional Thai toy activities at a science museum
Author: Kanhadilok, Peeranut
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 2489
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis charts the outcomes of family play-learning through make-and-play activities with traditional Thai toys activities (TTTA). Family learning is a component of inter-generational learning, and the research explores this through ‘edutainment’ activities within the informal educational system of a science museum. The thesis also identifies key factors that influence family play-learning through TTTA and explores the nature and impact of traditional Thai culture, local wisdom and Western modern science after participation with the TTTA. Participants in the toy-making activities at the National Science Museum, Thailand are members of the general public, day visitors to the museum who volunteer to join the activities, and represent all age groups. They also have varied levels of educational achievement, backgrounds in science and dispositions towards play. The research follows 93 families, including children, teenagers and adults, a total of 179 participants. Participants’ dispositions towards play are collected through self-reporting questionnaires based upon Barnett's (2006) work on playfulness; data on their individual and group actions have been collected in terms of their levels of enjoyment and engagement with the tasks, and learning outcomes. The data from structured routine observation indicates that, within the make-and-play activities, there is a two-way transfer of learning from older to younger, and from younger to older. The analysis of family learning is based upon Bandura’s (2005) social cognitive theories, used here in relation to informal museum education. Family play-learning is seen as significant, where more experienced members of the family transfer their knowledge and role-model skills to their children or younger members of the family. There is also an upward transfer where discerning youth model the fun and creativity they bring to the tasks. The Toy Learning Outcomes Questionnaire (TLOQ) has been used to study families’ learning outcomes from the TTTA with 51 families composed of 125 participants in total. The TLOQ is based upon work of the Research Centre of Museums and Galleries at the University of Leicester (Hooper-Greenhill, 2007), and uses a four-point Likert-style scale to explore seven areas of interest: (i) knowledge and understanding; (ii) skills; (iii) attitudes and values; (vi) enjoyment, inspiration and creativity; (v) action, behaviour and progression; (vi) scientific learning, and (vii) attitude towards Thai local wisdom. The findings show that families appear to have learned most in relation to two of these areas, ‘scientific knowledge’ and ‘Thai local wisdom’, when compared with the other areas. Data from semi-structured ‘exit interviews’ at the end of the activities, explore this clash of cultures, between Western modern science (WMS) and Thai local wisdom (TLW). This allows for a discussion of the integration of knowledge systems versus distinctive and separate fields. Findings from the interview data indicate that participants treat the TTTA, and work of the museum generally, bi-gnosically: they had positive yet parallel attitudes towards both domains of knowledge. The overall outcomes of this body of work indicate two main factors that encourage family play-learning: (i) the context of the play, which emphasises participants’ personal engagement, social relationships, and the physical setting (the environment and resources in the TTTA); and (ii) the conditions to play, playfulness of the participants and the opportunities they take to learn together through play. The thesis concludes with the implications of this work and recommendations for further research.
Supervisor: Watts, D. M. ; Zwozdiak-Myers, P. Sponsor: Thai Government ; National Science Museum, Thailand (NSM)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Family play-learning ; Informal education ; Make and play activity ; Traditional Thai toy activity ; Science museum