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Title: A socio-cultural analysis of early childhood educators' roles in fostering peer relationships : cross-cultural insights from India and England
Author: Mopidevi, Janbee Shaik
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 4637
Awarding Body: Anglia Ruskin University
Current Institution: Anglia Ruskin University
Date of Award: 2016
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A socio-cultural analysis of early childhood educators’ roles in fostering peer relations: Insights from India and England. There is strong evidence that positive peer relations greatly benefit children’s social and intellectual development and hence a case for peer relationships has been made in both theory and research. However, there are growing concerns regarding the worldwide trend of ‘schoolification’ or pre-primary focus in early childhood care and education and its potential negative effects on young children’s peer relationships. These concerns are more pronounced in England and also in India given the contradictory policy and practice contexts of prescriptive curricula with undue focus on school preparation. Given the discourse of early years as restrictive contexts, the research was carried out as a qualitative multi-site case study in the Reception class of a (local) primary school in England characterized by pre-primary focus and at a philosophically ‘different’ independent school in India, based on Jiddu Krishanmurti philosophy that follows social-pedagogy model. The aim was to explore the role of early childhood professionals in fostering peer relations in cross-cultural contexts. Participants were two reception class teachers and two learning support assistants for the class from England and four early childhood practitioners’ from the Indian case study setting. The research took an ethnographic approach using participant observation and semi-structured interviews to understand the perceptions and practice of educators in fostering peer relationships in their socio cultural contexts using the socio-cultural theoretical lens of Rogoff’s three-plane analysis. Findings from both settings conclude that despite of the cultural variations, early childhood educators’ engage in caring pedagogy by mediating a given curriculum; while their overall roles are defined and refined by cultural contexts within and beyond the immediate institutional contexts. In order to recognize and appreciate the wider ecological niche, which is impacting educators’ roles, I have argued for a clear and separate ecological focus to the original personal, inter-personal and institutional planes. Drawing philosophical inspiration from Krishnamurti’s ‘To be is to be related’ and Tagore’s ‘inherent mutuality’ and combining with Fleer’s theoretical concept ‘child embedded-ness’ -the study claims to make a contribution in terms of ‘community embedded relationships’ as opposed to child-centered peer relationships and pro-offers a socio-cultural theoretical framework for conceptualizing educators’ roles in fostering peer relationships by synthesizing all the three planes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available