Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Young children participating in inquiry: Moments of joint inquiry and questioning practices at home and in school
by Keifert, Danielle Teodora, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2015, 233; 3724286
Abstract (Summary)

Young children first learn ways of understanding their world within families and communities (Cole, 2007; Rogoff, 2003). While we know that life in families shapes how children notice, question, and explain (Crowley, Callanan, Jipson, Galco, Topping, & Shrager, 2001; Goodwin, 2007), we know relatively little about how this occurs within moments of interaction (Mehus, Stevens, & Grigholm, 2010), when this occurs in family activity (Ochs, Taylor, Rudolph, & Smith, 1992), or children’s experiences as they move across settings (Leander, Philips, & Taylor, 2010). Drawing upon ethnomethodological and interactional analysis traditions (McDermott, 1976; Jordan & Henderson, 1995 Pomerantz & Fehr, 1997), I analyze data from a longitudinal video-ethnographic study to explore young children’s naturally occurring activity at home and school over time.

I explore how and when children learn to notice, question, and explore by looking across several focal children’s interactions in families. I define Inquiry as a Members’ Phenomenon (Sacks, 1967/1992; Stevens, 2010) to focus on how participants oriented to exploring puzzling situations with others (Dewey, 1938/1981) and to better understand the forms of sense-making in which they engaged during these moments. I also explore two focal children’s routine participation over time (ages two to three years, and age seven) within their families. I propose family questioning practices as patterns in interaction (Tuomi-Gröhn, 2003) that capture how children come to perceive and know their world. Tracing children’s engagement in their preschool classroom allows me to explore why some children were more successful in engaging teachers in questioning similar to family practices. I explain this difference as a result of tensions first between children’s expectations for appropriate contexts in which to ask certain kinds of questions and those expectations of teachers, and second tensions in participant interests and concerns. Rather than see such tensions as obstacles, these tensions can be understood as places for future innovation (Engeström, 1987, 1999). Thus, this work contributes to understanding how and when children engage in inquiry, as well as the family practices that shape engagement in inquiry, that might inform research supporting teachers drawing upon how children perceive and know for inquiry learning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stevens, Reed
Commitee: Sherin, Bruce, Spillane, James
School: Northwestern University
Department: Education and Social Policy - Learning Sciences
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology
Keywords: Cross-settings, Family practices, Inquiry, Interaction analysis, Science learning, Young children
Publication Number: 3724286
ISBN: 9781339077475
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