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Co-constructing Writing Pedagogy with Two-and-Three-Year-Old Children

Bradford, Helen; (2018) Co-constructing Writing Pedagogy with Two-and-Three-Year-Old Children. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Research over the past four decades confirms that by the age of three years old children already understand some of the functions and purpose of writing. Evidence also suggests that some children are capable of articulating this understanding. From a developmental perspective it therefore makes sense that the literate performances of three-year-old children have their roots in much earlier writing experiences. Building on this premise, and further evidence to suggest that children as young as two years old are beginning to understand the symbolic nature of print, the research reported in this dissertation focused on discourse of writing, through recording children’s and adults’ conceptualisations, the pedagogical approaches of the children’s pre-school setting, and approaches to writing in the home environment. Foucaultian theory of truth and shifting power relations provided a framework for understanding and interpreting the discourse of writing that emerged. The study investigated the writing practices of nine families and their two-year-old and-three-year old children in an early years pre-school setting in the east of England. The first aim of the research was to develop a clear understanding of what children of this age already know about the functions and purpose of writing. To this end the children themselves contributed to the process of discovery, through revealing what they knew about writing and how they communicated through this medium. Second, the research sought to develop joint understanding amongst parents and the early years setting of how two-year-old and-three-year-old children express themselves through writing. The research found that most adults did not perceive that the children could write, a perception that was rooted in the conceptualisation of writing as necessarily formed of conventional text, and a skill to be developed and taught at a later age. In direct contrast to this the research found that children were not only writing, but that they were writing despite adult conceptualisations. The participant children were engaging in their own discourse of writing, driven by self-belief in what they were able to achieve through using writing as a medium for recording and sharing information. It is argued that if children as young as two years old perceive themselves to be writing, a responsive writing pedagogy can only be effective following a reframing of how writing is understood in relation to children in early years’ settings and homes.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Co-constructing Writing Pedagogy with Two-and-Three-Year-Old Children
Event: UCL Institute of Education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055520
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