Listening to young children outdoors with pedagogical documentation
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If children are to be heard in research and pedagogy, we need to find ways to listen to them. But how do we listen to young children when words are not their primary means of communication? Drawing on research investigating children’s perspectives of outdoor spaces in pedagogical settings, this article discusses the use of pedagogical documentation as a way of listening to young children. This listening involves children and adults working together in a relationship of co-experimentation which requires suspension of judgment, openness and preparedness to be affected by the ‘other’ [Davies, Bronwyn. (2014). Listening to Children: Being and Becoming. London: Routledge; Rinaldi, Carla. (2006). In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching and Learning. London: Routledge]. The article explores ways in which pedagogical documentation can not only lead to insights into children’s thinking, but also to questioning of taken-for-granted assumptions about children, learning and the wider world. Furthermore, the article highlights the way in which the materiality of pedagogical documentation strategies also actively contributes to the research. The study’s findings suggest that in thinking with pedagogical documentation, children, adults and nonhuman elements all work together in an interconnected and ever-changing assemblage which does not result in definitive conclusions but instead leads to more questions.
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