C&S SIGN SEMINAR SERIES (Anna R. Moxnes & Teresa K. Aslanian)

Sensing, thinking and doing a diffractive pedagogy in Early Childhood Teacher Education (ECTE)

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Making cuts: the joys of representation

DATE & TIME: 4th April, 15.30-17.00

LOCATION: C113, MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY, LONDON, NW4 4BT


Teresa K. Aslanian (The University of South-Eastern Norway)

Making cuts: the joys of representation

This paper considers representation in the context of the ECEC classroom using Barad’s concept of ‘agential cuts’, which is temporary theoretical stability given to matter becoming. We all engage in the practice of naming toys after the living things or technical objects they represent, but what are we doing when we play this game and what are the toys doing? Children have miniature sized plastic “cars” and “animals” to play with. Through these representations, we talk about and engage imaginatively with the world around us and outside of us. The representations themselves are toys to play with. Representation is problematized in post-modern literature as a subjugating force. What about the pleasure children and adults derive from playful representation? Materials act in different ways in different situations, as a part of different entanglements with other objects, children, space and time. What does representation do in the ECEC classroom when the elephant becomes a telephone, or a pacifier to be sucked on? How does time make space for playful ‘re-purposing’ of already determined objects? The joy of playing with toys will be explored in light of Barad’s theorizing.


Anna R. Moxnes (The University of South-Eastern Norway)

Sensing, thinking and doing a diffractive pedagogy in Early Childhood Teacher Education (ECTE)

Keywords: Classroom, Student-teacher(s), Reflection, Diffraction, Materiality

This presentation builds on my thesis, which addresses matters of reflection in university classrooms in Norwegian ECTE. The thesis comprises four articles, all of which explore reflection, differently. This presentation focuses on how teacher education prepare student teachers on their future practices in kindergartens. Through the study, especially ethical and critical reflection as central concepts in Norwegian ECTE captured my interest. Universities aim to offer rigorous, academic, high quality ECTE to ensure students develop skills and abilities for professional critical and ethical reflection in work with children (MER, 2012). Seeking to identify evidence of ethical and critical reflection, I realised that I was reproducing the already known, and to be open to what else might be going on in classroom encounters, I turned towards diffractions (Barad, 2003, 2007, 2012; Bozalek & Zembylas, 2017; Lenz Taguchi, 2012; Moxnes & Osgood, 2018).

Questions as how student teachers in ECTE is prepared on their future practices on the floor; caring, teaching and playing with young children kindergartens, inspires me to investigates micro-moments (Davies, 2014) from classroom teaching. Within this moments, diffractive pedagogy works as a force, where materiality and the outside world play active parts in forming the here and now in education. These moment’s also reveals that student-active learning strategies can generate an engagement for worldly justice standard lectures fail to provide. By introducing diffractive pedagogy into debates about ECTE, the idea is to offer opportunities to extend teaching practices. I ask what else gets produced during teaching and argue that critical reflection and diffractive pedagogy can work together to illuminate the field, and investigate the not yet known about the education of becoming kindergarten teachers.

  • Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3).
  • Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Barad, K. (2012). Intra-actions. interview by Adam Kleinman, Mousse, 34(81), 76-81.
  • Bozalek, V., & Zembylas, M. (2017). Diffraction or reflection? Sketching the contours of two methodologies in educational research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 30(2), 111-127. doi:10.1080/09518398.2016.1201166
  • Davies, B. (2014). Listening to children : being and becoming. London & New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Lenz Taguchi, H. (2012). A diffractive and Deleuzian approach to analysing interview data. Feminist Theory, 13(3), 265-281. doi:10.1177/1464700112456001
  • MER. (2012). Forskrift om rammeplan for barnehagelærerutdanningen av 4. juni 2012. regjeringen.no Retrieved from https://lovdata.no/dokument/SF/forskrift/2012-06-04-475?q=Forskrift%20om%20rammeplan%20for%20barnehagel%C3%A6rerutdanning.
  • Moxnes, A. R., & Osgood, J. (2018). Sticky stories from the classroom: From reflection to diffraction in Early Childhood Teacher Education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 19(3), 297-309. doi:10.1177/1463949118766662