Pedagogy and possibility thinking in the early years

Cremin, Teresa; Burnard, Pamela and Craft, Anna (2006). Pedagogy and possibility thinking in the early years. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 1(2) pp. 108–119.



Connecting to current work in the area of creative pedagogies, this paper reports findings of an exploratory study that sought to identify what characterises possibility thinking in young children's learning experiences and how teachers' pedagogical practice fosters this critical aspect of creativity. It focuses in particular on pedagogy, seeking to demonstrate how the approaches adopted nurtured the development of children's possibility thinking. Possibility thinking has been conceptualised as being central to creative learning although its role, as manifest in the learning engagement of children and the pedagogical strategies of practitioners has not been fully illuminated. The co-participative research team involved in this study comprised staff in an early childhood centre, in an infant and a primary school, working collaboratively with three university-based researchers. This twelve month long segment of a longer study employed various data collection methods including video- stimulated review to facilitate reflection, critical conversations, classroom observation, interviews and examination of planning documents. The paper illuminates the perspectives and embedded values that the teachers expressed whilst reflecting upon their practice, and highlights common pedagogical themes, including the practice of standing back, profiling learner agency and creating time and space. In addition, the paper presents a model for conceptualising a pedagogy of possibility thinking.

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