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Creating intersubjectivity during sociodramatic play at one kindergarten Victoria Whitington Early Childhood Program School of Education University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating intersubjectivity during sociodramatic play at one kindergarten Victoria Whitington Early Childhood Program School of Education University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating intersubjectivity during sociodramatic play at one kindergarten Victoria Whitington Early Childhood Program School of Education University of South Australia

2 Purpose of presentation: to outline an investigation of 4 year old children’s creation of intersubjectivity in socio-dramatic play at one South Australian kindergarten. (conducted as part of an undergraduate honours 2004-5 degree) to develop early childhood educators’ knowledge about the ways in which children at one South Australian kindergarten created shared meaning in play.

3 Context A kindergarten in a southern beach suburb of Adelaide. Families are mostly Anglo-Australian, middle to low income, and live in single houses on small blocks of land which often they are buying over most of their working lives. Single parent families often live in rented accommodation.

4 Research questions Do four year old children at one South Australian Kindergarten create intersubjectivity in their sociodramatic play? If so, by what play acts?

5 Participants 4 year old children who had attended a minimum of 22 weeks at Kindergarten - average age: 4 years and 5 months 28 children - 14 girls and 14 boys Anglo-Australian children with parental permission who elected to play in a specially sectioned off area of the preschool building.

6 Theoretical framework: Socio-cultural The overarching idea about human development of the socio-cultural-historical perspective is: Humans develop through their changing participation in the sociocultural activities of their communities, which also change (Rogoff, 2003, p. 11) Social play is conceptualized as an intersubjective activity (Rogoff 1990; Rommetveit, 1979; Trevarthan, 1979), with frequencies for intersubjective interactions increasing with children’s age.

7 Theoretical framework: Socio-cultural Sociocultural theory contends that sociodramatic play fosters children’s development, thus this research comes from a particular curriculum perspective. Sociocultural theory sees human activity as context and culture-specific. Using this theoretical framework, play is not free but rather is itself a context tied to a broader societal/ cultural milieu (Tobin, Wu & Davidson, 1989). Thus, sociocultural theory is a useful framework for an investigation of play

8 Definitions: Sociodramatic play – the imaginative play engaged in by children beginning around 2.5-3 years in which “thought is separated from actions and objects, and children renounce impulsive actions” (Berk, 1999). In sociocultural theory it is the leading developmental activity of early childhood. In play children are working in their zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978) Intersubjectivity – the creation of shared understanding by two or more people in interaction. Over time an expectation is developed between parties that in interaction, meaning will be co-constructed and that shared understandings will be dynamic due to continuous knowledge exchange (Rommetveit, 1985)

9 The developing capacity of children (birth to approx. 7 years) to create shared meaning with a responsive adult partner Child Adult partner age Shared responsibility Both partners contribute, with adults taking the greatest responsibility birth 7 years

10 Data collection: Videotape with mobile camera and sound recording When children entered the designated area and began to engage in socio-dramatic play the videoing commenced, and ceased when they left, or when they declared the play finished Children played in groups of two or more, all called ‘play partners’

11 The term ‘Intersubjectivity’ operationalised (Goncu, 1993b, p. 188) Intersubjectivity is a continuous knowledge exchange between players It requires Meta-communication –children reaching agreement on the nature of the activity Communication – coordination of particular intentions through discourse Joint focus of attention that is representational in nature and affective in origin

12 Definitions relevant to coding of social play (Goncu, 1993, p 103) Social play episode – “a segment of a session in which children play with each other” Invitation – “overt acts that expressed a child’s desire to play with one or more partners, were interpreted as such and were answered” (could be verbal or nonverbal) Turn – “everything that a player said and did before the other player verbally or non verbally responded.” Play act – “dialogic units that expressed a thought or an idea to a partner” Termination – “overt acts expressing at least one of the players’ desire to leave social play” (could be verbal or nonverbal)

13 Categories and subcategories of play acts (adapted from Goncu 1993) Play acts are dialogic units, that express a thought or idea to a partner(s), and can be verbal or non-verbal Expansion – introduction, extension, building-on, acceptance, rejection, revision and conciliation Agreement – acceptance, rejection, revision, conciliation Emphasis Irrelevant Acts Observation

14 Expansion (Goncu, 1993) Introduction - introducing new elements not previously present. Extension – adding new information or expectations to a partner’s idea, expressed in the previous turn. Building-on – adding new information to one’s own previously expressed idea to contribute to the ongoing shared play.

15 Agreement (Goncu, 1993) Acceptance – agreement with play partner. Rejection – negating a partner’s idea. Revision – rejecting a partner’s idea and changing it. Conciliation – attempt to resolve disagreements by a plea or by trying to find an agreeable ground to solve the conflict.

16 Emphasis (Goncu, 1993) Repeating to self with the purpose of getting the partner’s attention to an activity of interest to the child (shows failure to take into account their partner’s viewpoint).

17 Irrelevant Acts (Goncu, 1993) Act has no relevance to the partner’s or own previously expressed play idea and the point of reference is something other than play.

18 Observation Child observes play enactments for a length of time prior to choosing to either enter the play episode or remain apart.

19 Coding example for identification of intersubjectivity At this point in play within a ‘doctor’s surgery’ there had been a role swap. Grace, the new patient, was lying across the chair. Wendy, the receptionist, announced ‘And I’m gonna sit here’ (M-meta-communication) and sat at the reception desk. Wendy called from reception ‘Now, Grace, what’s broken today?’ (C-communication). Grace with a big grin, pointed to her leg, and stated ‘My leg’. (JF-joint focus)

20 Findings: Research question 1 In their socio-dramatic play children were found to create intersubjectivity some of the time (consistent with Farver 1992, and Goncu 1993b). Total # of turns found to intersubjective as a percentage of total turns: 30.2%.

21 Findings – Research question 2 Play acts by which children created intersubjectivity in their sociodramatic play: Consistent with Goncu, 1993a the most frequent play acts were: -extensions (32.1%) - build-ons (13.3%), - acceptances (12.8%) - introductions (12.4%) And least frequent, rejections (8.4%), revisions (6.2%), observations (5.6%), conciliations (3%), emphasis (4.5%), irrelevant act (1.7%)

22 Table 1:Duration of play and frequencies for joint focus and play episode Play duration (mins)Joint focus Doctors, nurses & broken legs 4570 Doctors & babies2334 Pet dog1321 Doctor’s busy surgery1222 Waking up1120 Jewellery & treasure1025 Bombs1022 Doctor’s busy surgery922 Tigers725 Crocodile hunter714 Princess Jasmine & Aladdin 76 Pet shop514 Superheroes25

23 Findings – categories and subcategories of play acts Play acts Raw ScorePercentage Expansion Introductions7412.44 Extensions19132.1 * Build ons7913.28 AgreementAcceptances7612.77 Rejections508.40 Revisions376.22 Conciliations183.03 Emphasis274.54 Irrelevant act101.68 Observation335.55

24 Discussion By its nature, socio-dramatic play necessitates the creation of shared meaning between parties. In this study children managed to sustain play with only 30% of turns rated as intersubjective. This finding indicates that these 4 year old children are in the process of learning to develop shared meaning. Approximately 70% of turns were not rated as intersubjective. That is, the conditions of meta-communication, communication and joint focus were not satisfied. The finding that the play acts in this study with the highest frequencies were extensions, build ons, acceptances and introductions, and lower frequencies for rejections, revisions, observation, emphases, conciliations and irrelevant act shows that children had balanced skills to contribute positively in social play, and were developing perspective-taking capacity.

25 Examples of play acts where intersubjectivity was identified Extension Wendy leant over and watched Brenda closely, and asked pointing to the letters ‘h’, ‘e’, and ‘i’ on Brenda’s page ‘Can I just have a look at that word? `Cause I don’t know how to spell it...okay?’ Brenda stated casually ‘It’s haitches’. Wendy watched, concentrating for a moment before returning to her paper and writing the first letter. Wendy looked at the letters and began to copy them.

26 Examples of play acts where intersubjectivity was identified Introduction Paul with his finger pointed at Craig, stated, ‘You can be Robin’. Blake endorsed the role as he pointed to Craig and stated ‘You can be Robin and I can be Batman and’... Paul cut Blake off stating brightly ‘I’ll be Superman’ as he looked at Blake. Blake recognised Paul’s need to be Superman and confirmed both roles saying to Paul ‘You’ll be Superman and I’ll be Batman’.

27 Examples of play acts where intersubjectivity was identified Build-on Josh leaps on to the lounge chair, taking the frozen stance of Steve Irwin, crocodile hunter. He says in a deep voice much like Steve Irwin’s, “Crikey!” and focuses on James, the crocodile. The crocodile watches the hunter, and leaps to the lounge chair, rolling on to his back, looking directly into the hunter’s face. The hunter grasps the crocodile by the lower neck and moves him from side to side. The hunter then puts a finger close to the crocodile’s mouth and pretends to give him food, saying “Eat your food,” releases him, then resumes the Irwin stance. The crocodile rolls his eyes and says in a painful voice, “That was poisonous food that was in my mouth.” The hunter exclaims, “Croc’s dead!”

28 Examples of play acts where intersubjectivity was identified Acceptance Steve and Trevor had a table draped with blankets to make a fort. Paul, began to remove the blankets as he constructed a tent. Steve protested ‘He-ey!’ as Paul took a blanket from the fort. Paul replied ‘I’m making a tent for us’. Seated in the fort, Trevor and Steve shifted and looked at Paul’s construction. Steve, accepting the idea, said excitedly ‘We’re making a tent instead’

29 Recommendations More research is needed to establish in other contexts and with other cohorts to understand the meaning of the apparently low frequency of turns in which intersubjectivity was found. When children work to develop shared meaning with their peers they are engaged in a challenging activity. At four years children are at a developmental point in their capacity to create shared meaning with their peers. In doing this they must put meaning before objects and action, and act according to rules negotiated with play partners, thus controlling impulses. Their continued participation in socio-dramatic play in school contexts in the early childhood years provides a pathway to continue to develop these key abilities, which may have positive impact on later academic progress and adaptive behaviour. These are topics for future investigation. Adults and teachers have a role in elaborating and scaffolding play while still leaving children in control of decision-making. I hypothesis that when adults take such roles the play is extended and the percentage of play acts that are intersubjective increases. This is an area for further research

30 Thank you for your attention Any questions?


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