Seminars & colloquia

Seminars & colloquia

Children and Families Research Centre Seminars and Colloquia

14 April 2016: Dr Harry Shier, Centre For Children's Rights, Queens University Belfast and CESESMA, Nicaragua

Transformative research by children and adolescents: Partnerships between adults and children as researchers

Harry Shier
Harry Shier worked in England for many years, first in children’s play, then in children’s rights and participation. In 1981 he founded Playtrain, an independent training agency specialising in children’s rights, play and creativity. In the 1990’s he worked and wrote extensively on children’s participation rights, most notably developing the “Article 31 Children’s Consultancy scheme”, which enabled children to act as consultants in the management of cultural institutions. This experience was crystallised in his 2001 paper “Pathways to Participation”, which introduced a tool for analysing children’s participation in decision-making that is now widely used throughout the world. Read more...

23 November 2015: Professor Marika Veisson

Professionalism of preschool teachers in cross-cultural contexts

Professor Marika VeissonProfessor Veisson, is the Head , Institute of Educational Sciences, Tallinn University, Estonia. During her visit, she will share findings of the cross-cultural study investigating the professionalism of early childhood educators – preschool teachers and principals (equivalent of centre directors in Australia) from four European countries who are partners in this study.

In their first study (Peterson, Veisson, Hujala, Härkönen, Sandberg, Johansson, Kovacne, in press) investigated the ratings of Estonian, Finnish, Swedish and Hungarian preschool teachers and principals regarding the professionalism of preschool teachers within a cross-cultural context. According to reports commissioned by the European Commission (2011) and OECD (2012), the professionalism of preschool teachers is a key factor in ensuring the quality of early childhood education. The study is based on the contextual approach in the bio-ecological theory (Bronfenbrenner 2005) and critical ecology theory of early childhood professionalism (Urban 2010). The research question was: what are ratings of principals and teachers regarding the professionalism of preschool teachers in interaction and family involvement, the planning of education and the evaluation of children’s development, using teaching strategies and support for professional development, creating a growth environment and the development of values. Read more...

Seminar Series 2015: Professionalism of preschool teachers in cross-cultural contexts, Monday 23 November 2015.

27 July 2015: Dr Sarah Coyne

A fantasy childhood? The effect of Disney princesses and superheroes on Preschool children

Dr. Sarah M. Coyne is an associate professor of human development in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. Her research interests involve media, aggression, gender, and child development. She has over 70 publications on these and other topics and is on the board of the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) society and is currently serving as an associate editor for Aggressive Behavior. ​She has four young children and lives in Spanish Fork, Utah. 

The media often portrays boys and girls in stereotypical ways - with princesses and superheroes being some of the worst offenders. Both princesses and superheroes are extremely popular among this age group, though recently, there has been some discussion in the public sphere regarding potential concerning effects on child development. An examination of the media during early childhood is particularly important, as these years lay down a foundation for the development of many behaviors over time. This colloquium will examine the princess and superhero culture among preschool children and will present longitudinal research showing potential effects on gender stereotyping, body image, prosocial behavior, aggressive behavior, and defending. 

25 June 2015: Dr Carol Murphy

"Cool I am with it!' Extending the scaffolding metaphore in children's group work in mathematics 

The scaffolding metaphor is closely connected to ZPD, and has been portrayed as the structured, temporary and adaptive interaction of an adult in supporting a child achieve a specific goal. The teacher is the more knowledgeable other, and emphasis is on the teacher-student relationship. Peer collaboration is symmetric, that is, there is no formal or permanent positioning of a more knowledgeable other in the group. By analysing children's dialogue (both language and gesture), I consider the notion of collaborative ZPD and a bi-directional view of the scaffolding metaphor.

Carol Murphy lectured in primary mathematics in England for over ten years before moving to New Zealand four years ago to take up a position at the University of Waikato. Even as a primary classroom teacher Carol's interests were related to children's mathematical thinking and active engagement in mathematics tasks. As a researcher and lecturer her interests have widened to pre-service teachers' subject knowledge for teaching mathematics, but she has continued to focus on children's mathematical learning through talk and collaboration.

Her PhD thesis focused on the use of exploratory talk in primary mathematics classrooms and a key finding was how deixis (as a function of language) is an important feature of mathematics talk with young children. Carol's recent research has further investigated young children's collaboration in mathematics through the analysis of functional linguistics and this has led to an exploration of the notion of shared intentionality in young children's meaning-making in mathematics.

19 March 2015: Karin HOGNESTAD and Marit BØE

Studying the practices of leading - qualitative shadowing in early childhood research

This presentation addresses qualitative shadowing as a fruitful method to investigate leadership practices in early childhood settings. Using the work of Henry Mintzberg as a starting point to investigate leadership activities in everyday work, we take shadowing a step further by conducting investigator triangulation and video-observation with the aim of obtaining detailed descriptions on leadership practices. An approach to practice that takes into account the activities of sayings, doings and relatings (Kemmis et al., 2014) has been useful to obtain rich data on the practices of leading. We argue that the mode of Shadowing as a means of understanding practice(s) may provide valuable insights about how early childhood leaders work and contribute new understandings to the existing conceptualizations of research methodology on qualitative shadowing.

Karin is interested in how professional knowledge is created in different learning contexts. With extensive experience from early childhood centres and with a background as an early childhood teacher and a leader, Hognestad is concerned about how experienced formal teacher leaders at the department level, lead knowledge development in everyday work settings.

The working title of her PhD is: Shadowing formal teachers leaders engaged in knowledge development in everyday work. 

Marit has 17 years of experience working as a formal teacher leader in early childhood centres in Norway. Her research interests focus on everyday leadership in early childhood settings, and she is interested in exploring how formal teacher leaders lead their staff in a distributed pedagogical leadership context.

The working title of her PhD is: Leading distributed pedagogical leadership in early childhood.

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