2002, Volume 5, Journal Articles

NZ Research in ECE Journal Volume 5 (2002)

early childhood research journal

Research as a Journey: The New Researcher as a First-time Traveller

 Michael Gaffney
Children’s Issues Centre, Dunedin
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp. 1 – 12.

Abstract: This paper uses ‘journey’ as a metaphor, and to a lesser extent problem solving, to provide a framework for understanding the activity that more early childhood practitioners are finding themselves in – research. For someone setting out on the research journey for the first time the whole experience seems daunting if not overwhelming. Perhaps very similar to taking a first train ride. For the new researcher the problems and questions are coming at you from many different levels. Without previous research experience to see how all these decisions come together to create the journey, managing the experience can become quite stressful. This article is my attempt at a short travel guide, if you like for the beginning researcher.

Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax – Taking a Sociocultural Approach to Interviewing Young Children

Jill Robbins
Monash University
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp. 13 – 30.

Abstract: When conventional interviewing methodology is employed with young children there appears to be a tendency to overlook or avoid the ‘talk of many things’ in order to focus on the topic of interest to the researcher. The consequence of this is that the researcher may gain an inaccurate picture of children’s real understandings, ideas and abilities. If however, a sociocultural viewpoint is brought to the interview context, then extended conversation (the ‘talk of many things’), and the cultural tools that children might use during the interview, can provide a greater insight into their thinking and the activities in which it is embedded. This paper will provide examples from researching which a sociocultural perspective has been applied to the data and data-gathering methods, thus providing greater insights into young children’s ideas than conventional methods might reveal.

Beliefs and Principles in Practice: Ethical Research with Child Participants

Helen Hedges
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp. 31 – 48.

Abstract: Choosing a research method involves fitting research techniques to a research question. The choice may also be influenced by the beliefs the researcher holds. This paper reviews beliefs and ethical principles associated with a research study that included children as participants. These beliefs and principles are examined in light of the research experience, with particular regard to the methodology used and the veracity of the findings. Consistent with sociocultural theory, a commitment to seeking principles, approaches and methods that empower children’s active participation in research is advocated.

The Visibility and Role of Intersubjectivity and Peer Collaboration in Young Children’s Play and Cognitive Development

Cheryl Greenfield
Manukau Institute of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp. 49 – 66.

Abstract: There is a growing body of literature that encompasses sociocultural and constructivist theory and has arisen from a more collaborative approach to studying cognition, compared with the individualistic focus of the past. The wide acceptance that cognition is co-constructed, shaped by the social world and the individual, has lead to an interest in how we establish and maintain shared meaning and collaborative activity. Intersubjectivity or shared meaning is needed in order for worthwhile and meaningful collaboration to take place. Establishing intersubjectivity and involvement in collaboration, can stimulate and provoke cognitive development with recent research strongly indicating that the quality of the interaction with the child determines the cognitive transformations. This paper reports on findings from observations on the visibility and nature of intersubjectivity and collaboration in peer interactions of 26 young children, aged between 2 and 5 yrs. This study was carried out in a multi-cultural full-day centre, as children engaged in spontaneous free play. The analysis of the data showed high levels of intersubjectivity amongst the children, collaboration clearly visible, social interaction extensive and non-verbal interactions the most frequent. Cognitive distancing was seen too at the low to middle level. Key points are made as to why it is important for teachers to understand the peer culture, and then using this deeper understanding of the children, be able to foster greater collaboration and cognitive transformation.

“I Think it Stopped Me Being So Opinionated” The Impact of a Family Practicum Experience on Student Teachers Professional Development

Helen Hedges and Colin Gibbs
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp.67 – 86.

Abstract: Partnership between teachers and parents is a central tenet in early childhood education. This belief is included both in descriptions of required teaching practice and of necessary elements in teacher preparation programmes. Suggestions for preparing student teachers for partnership with parents in their teaching role, research on the ways that this occurs and its efficacy are rare in the literature. This paper describes one approach: the experience of a family practicum for student teachers. The rationale for this approach, student teachers’ responses to the practicum and implications for early childhood teacher preparation and professional development are discussed.

The Response of Solomon Islanders to an Early Childhood Education Partnership Project within New Zealand

Joanna Daiwo
Children’s Issues Centre, Dunedin
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp.87 – 108.

Abstract: A field-based training programme designed for Solomon Islands’ kindergarten teachers was a partnership development initiative between New Zealand and Solomon Islands. A research study investigated the impact of the training programme, on the roles, relationships and activities of educators working in the Solomon Islands kindergartens. It identified and analysed possible changes to their professional behaviour and teaching practice as a result of the training. This paper has focused on some aspects of what teachers, administrators and the community, including parents, thought about the programme and it had affected educators’’ work with children and families. The research suggested that the field-based training programme has succeeded in respecting and adhering to local cultural beliefs and practices. It has modified them based on more contemporary values such as gender equity, and at the same time as improving the practice of Solomon Islands’ teachers in early childhood centres.

A Critical Pedagogy of Early Childhood Education: The Aotearoa/New Zealand Context

Linda Keesing-Styles
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp. 109 – 122.

Abstract: Recent international developments in education, including early childhood education, promote more inclusive and complex contexts than those traditionally provided. Some of the foundation principles of early childhood education are increasingly subjected to intense scrutiny in an attempt to analyse the impact of traditional practices on diverse groups and individuals. Critical pedagogy provides a framework for an analysis of the provision of early childhood education in diverse contexts. Te Whariki, the NZ early childhood curriculum, prescribes a curriculum framework based on some of the same principles that underpin critical pedagogy. In this paper, the notion of critical pedagogy is briefly described and the potential of Te Whariki as a tool to support diversity and equity is examined.

Challenging Developmental Theory in Early Childhood Education

Bella-Jane Hardie
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp.123 – 132.

Abstract: Traditional views of child development are embedded in our understandings of the child and childhood and the way early childhood practitioners make sense of their practice. There is growing awareness among reflective practitioners that an understanding of what is ‘normal’ for one child and their family may be different for another, and therefore it is hugely complex and problematic to attempt to conceptualise what child development actually means for early childhood education. This article explores the way three kindergarten teachers described and justified traditional child development theory as foundational to their teaching practice. It illustrates the conflict between maintaining that there are individual differences between children and following developmental stages as a baseline for understanding children.

“She Can’t be Baby Spice … Because She’s Got Black Hair”. Young Children Talking Television

Margaret Brennan
Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa/NZ Childcare Assn
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp. 133 – 144.

Abstract: This paper discusses the partial findings of a qualitative study carried out in one early childhood centre. The investigation examined the influence of television messages on young children’s learning and development. A sociocultural approach was used to analyse and interpret findings. According to sociocultural perspectives, development occurs as young children participate in the valued activities of their culture. This means that children will use what is immediately available to them, including cultural tools such as television, to understand and make sense of their world. The focus of this discussion is how television, specifically television scripts, allows young children to access rules and information about future adult roles.  Findings suggest that young children’s television play and talk is constrained by rules, reflecting stereotypical societal expectations about adult roles, especially in relation to gender.

An Exploration of the Effects of Implementing Sociocultural based Teaching Strategies in Visual Art Education

Helen Davey
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp. 145 – 156.

Abstract: The focus of this research was on the effects of socially constructed teaching strategies on children’s skills in symbolic representation as part of the visual art education programme in an early childhood centre. An experimental group worked together with a Vygotskian approach to scaffold each other’s learning. A control group was provided with a Piagetian approach of a resource rich environment for them to explore and learn in. The Vygotskian approach was found to be advantageous to children’s skill levels.

The Golden Kiwi Childhood – Is it a Lottery?

Colleen Lockie and Jocelyn Wright
Christchurch College of Education
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 5, 2002, pp. 157 – 168.

Abstract: This paper reports on a survey of provisions for and children’s access to outdoor play in full-day early childhood centres. Environmental features, routines, staffing, and the weather were found to be key factors influencing outdoor play. The findings indicate that outdoor play is better supported n centres that have a well planned environment, organised rosters, flexible routines, higher staffing ratios and a strong philosophy focussed on the child.

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