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Title:One preschool teacher's approach to play intervention: An interpretive study based on Vygotsky's concept of activity
Author(s):Chen, Jeng-Chyan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Spodek, Bernard
Department / Program:Education, Early Childhood
Discipline:Education, Early Childhood
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Early Childhood
Abstract:This study explores how the social interactions in a play intervention are socially constructed by the teacher and the children within the context of classroom organization and structure. Further, it explores how the organization and structure of the classroom are affected by the demands placed on the teacher by the preschool in which she works, by her beliefs about child development, and by the larger contemporary discourse on early childhood education.
This study is based upon Vygotsky's concept of activity. Vygotsky's concept of activity asserts that the meaning of an action lies in the actor's intentions, that is, action is the means by which an actor achieves her intentions. Thus intention states must be interpreted within the social context within which the actions are embedded.
Using ethnographic methods, I interpret the intentions of teacher and children in a play intervention episode by combining "close analysis of fine details of behavior and meanings in (the) social interaction with analysis of the wider social context--the field of broader social influence--within which the face-to-face interaction takes place" (Erickson, 1986, p.120).
The teacher's play intervention strategies were constituted by her practical-knowledge-in-use (Clandinin, 1986). Her practical-knowledge-in-use reflects her beliefs about early childhood education and the demands placed on her as a teacher, e.g., parents' expectations, school philosophy.
The usefulness of Vygotsky's concept of activity to understand classroom process is discussed. First, Vygotsky's concept of activity provides a way to study teachers' intentions in their interactions with children. Teaching becomes, then, not a series of behaviors but of meaningful actions by which the teacher struggles to meet the many demands placed on her as a professional. Second, Vygotsky's concept of activity provides a most useful framework for studying face-to-face interactions within a classroom. Revealed are the lived experiences of children and teachers as they make sense out of the constraints placed upon them as they interact in classroom.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Chen, Jeng-Chyan
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9305489
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9305489

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