Video online: Shaping curricula through pedagogical innovation: Facilitation of young children’s narratives in the classroom – a free online Childhood & Society seminar, Monday 22nd March 2021

This presentation discusses data produced through the video-observation of workshops in two Primary Schools in London. The workshops were part of an action-research project for a doctoral research and took place in one Year 3 class and one Reception class in each school. The action-research implemented children’s collection and production of photographs related to their own memories and life stories. During workshops, children were invited to share and negotiate their memories in the classroom, starting from the presentation of photographs related to those memories. Children’s narratives were supported by facilitative techniques aimed to promote dialogic interactions. Facilitation enables children and teachers to make significant contributions to learning, supporting children’s thinking in moving forward creatively and independently through different areas of teaching and learning, in particular in oral communication, PSE, Intercultural Education and Citizenship. 

A pivotal phase of any action-research consists in the evaluation of the intervention, in the case of this doctoral research the evaluation concerns the facilitation of children’s active participation in the workshops. Based on the analysis of video-data, this presentation considers an important aspect of facilitation: facilitators’ comment on children’s narratives. Using examples from workshop interactions, the presentation argues that a type of facilitators’ comments, narrative comments, is particularly effective during workshops to support children’s participation and production of narratives. Narrative comments are stories produced by facilitators concerning his or her personal experiences that are somehow connected to the ongoing child’s narratives. Narrative comments aim to create trust, interpersonal connections, and dialogic opportunities. The presentation will argue that personal comments can support facilitation to achieve a form of rights-based pedagogy where children’s voices are promoted and empowered. 

Bio: Angela Scollan is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Education Studies at Middlesex University. Previously, she has worked as a Manager and Foundation Degree Coordinator in a Further Education College and as a freelance Early Years Ofsted Inspector. In 2010, Angela opened her own training company, ‘Emerald Early Years and Education’, offering bespoke training and CPD to promote high-quality, sustainable, and reflective early years leadership and provision. Since the early 1990s, Angela has worked directly with and for children positioning her practice within a transdisciplinary approach and as a rights-based advocate. Her teaching philosophy, research and writing focus on the child first whilst touching on an array of themes relevant to education and care: adults-children interactions; rights-based pedagogies, leadership and management, self-determination, reflective practice, critical education studies, environments and partnerships that enable. As an activist against educational disadvantage, Angela has worked with many local authorities to support inclusion and equality in education across England towards enhanced social mobility. Angela has recently undertaken research with an EU-funded project, observing how facilitation and the use of visual materials can encourage the production of shared memories and dialogue in intercultural educational settings.