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Dead forever: young children building theories in a play-based classroom

Hill, Michelle (2015) Dead forever: young children building theories in a play-based classroom. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis presents a multiple case-study which seeks to explore how young children build and use working theories. Beginning with an examination of the concept of theory-building in the educational contexts of Reggio Emilia and New Zealand, the study considers the relevance and potential of the concept of working theories to wider school contexts. Underpinned by sociocultural theories and a post-modern image of the child, the research is a small-scale, focused and in-depth study, which makes use of video recordings and participant observation of children’s play and classroom conversations to gather evidence of children’s theories. Making use of abduction, the analysis takes a latent thematic approach examining the underlying ideas whilst capturing the rich detail of the theories. The thesis suggests that as young children participate in the life of their peer culture they build working theories related to human nature, to the social world and to the physical and natural world. It is proposed that these working theories are a way for children to explore and develop their ethical, social and gender identities. Working theories may act as a bridge between cultural understandings of morals, ethics and gender roles and children’s own understandings of who they are and their place in the world. In considering the role of working theories in pedagogical practice it is suggested that, in being sensitive and responsive to children’s working theories, practitioners may be able to engage more deeply with children about fundamental life issues that are of concern or interest to them.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.655298
Depositing User: Mrs Michelle Hill
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2015 12:57
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9379

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