Opening and closing interactive spaces: Shaping four-year-old children’s participation in two English settings

Payler, Jane (2007). Opening and closing interactive spaces: Shaping four-year-old children’s participation in two English settings. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, 27(3) pp. 237–254.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09575140701594392

Abstract

This paper draws on an ESRC-funded study (Payler, 2005) of the sociocultural influences on learning processes of 10 four-year-old children in their second year of the Foundation Stage in England (DfEE, 2000). The children, very close in age, were in one of two early years settings: a pre-school playgroup with a largely invisible pedagogy (Bernstein, 1996) and a reception class in a primary school with a more visible pedagogy. In this paper, children's experiences in specific teaching and learning episodes are used to examine how the pedagogies of the settings created open or closed interactive spaces; inviting, building on or limiting children's contributions. The study considers a range of communicative modes (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2001) used in creating interactive space. It draws on diagrams, outline drawings from video stills and detailed transcription incorporating gaze, body positioning, tone of voice and use of resources to explore factors involved in shaping children9s interactive learning experiences. The findings suggest that although both early years settings worked to the same Foundation Stage curriculum, their subcultures of pedagogy ensured that the curriculum was differently enacted in each, offering quite distinct interactive opportunities for children in which learning was mediated in different ways. This resulted in different learning outcomes according to children's positions as the youngest or oldest in a cohort and to adults' perceptions of their abilities.

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