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Title: Play in an English reception classroom : how children navigate classroom rules during their self-initiated play
Author: Roscoe, Shabana Bi
ISNI:       0000 0004 9352 5518
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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In the recent past, a number of concerns have been raised, by educators and researchers alike, about the nature of the provision of child-initiated play in English reception classrooms, owing to the pressure from present and successive governments on educators to prepare young children for statutory schooling. These concerns provide the background to this research and the broad external context in which it is situated. Emerging from these broad concerns, this study examines how five young children navigated a classroom’s rules during their self-initiated play, over the course of the 2012-13 school year. In employing a broadly ethnographic methodology, the main research methods used to appreciate the minutiae of the children’s experiences and endeavours were participant observation and informal discussions; these were supplemented with child-led tours, interviews, and both participant children’s and their peers’ observations and interpretations. The research shows how the children deployed a range of ‘tactics’ to realise their play interests, which were based on their understandings of how each of the educators enforced classroom rules, and where they were located during each instance. It also shows the ways in which the children actively applied several classroom rules, and encouraged their peers to act in accordance with these. The research highlights that whilst it was the case that some of these rules ‘constrained’ the children’s play, it was owing to the various ‘conditions’ (relative freedom, choice and autonomy; and extended free play sessions) of the teacher’s play provision that they were also able to follow and realise their needs, interests and overall motivations. Concerns are raised about how the various assessment-related developments that have taken place since the fieldwork was conducted may be – in the present times – impacting on teachers’ play provisions, and accordingly opportunities for children to exercise agency in their play.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available