Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

You Do Not like the Activity Arranged by the Teacher; What Do You?

Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

You Do Not like the Activity Arranged by the Teacher; What Do You?

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The purpose of the article is to describe children's perceived strategies in relation to a conflict situation with an educator. We view the situation as part of the interaction and communication present in the power relations of all educational activities. In the National Curriculum Guidelines on ECEC in Finland (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, 2003) the principle of giving due weight to the views of the child is mentioned as a central value in early childhood education and care (ECEC). The principle of children receiving understanding and having their say in accordance with their age and maturity is also listed in the values of ECEC. Children should be heard and seen. In general, educators should be sensitive to children's needs and initiatives. Unfortunately, this focus on children's rights and human dignity does not include children as producers of social interaction outside the curriculum. Instead, educators are considered to be committed, sensitive and able to react to children's feelings and needs. In the community of adults and children, they enable a good atmosphere in which children have a feeling of togetherness and inclusion.

In the year before compulsory education begins, children can participate in pre-primary education. The core curriculum for preschool education (the Finnish National Board of Education, 2000) stresses the promotion of children's growth into humane individuals and ethically responsible members of society by guiding them towards responsible actions and compliance with generally accepted rules as well as towards appreciation for other people. Children are to practice the rules of co-existence and learn commitment to these rules. They are to internalize the good practices of our society and understand their significance as part of everyday life. The idea of children as producers of social content is not considered.

According to Kalliala (2008, 29), the problems of interaction between children and adults are rarely discussed. The sensitivity of educators has an impact on their role. Conflict situations between children and educators require a shared understanding about the context and dialogue (Lundan, 2009; Turja, 2011). Moreover, children's own ways of interaction and their use of interactive tools have an impact on the interaction processes between children and educators. For example, Reunamo (2007) has described four different orientations toward change in social situations: accommodative, participative, dominating and withdrawn. Lehtinen (2000) describes the personal, social and cultural resources held by children, which result in four profiles of agency: reformers, fighters, reproducers and followers. According to Lundan (2009), the different types of interaction produce different strategies fo r action, for example, resistance, freedom, cooperation and education.

In addition to the paradigm of studying children's conceptions as adaptations, we need to consider children's views as independent variables that have the capacity to impact the environment, too (Reunamo, Sajaniemi, Suhonen & Kontu, 2012). These views are often related to metacognitive processes. In this article, we interview the children to reveal the children's interaction strategies between children and adults. The interviews were d esigned to elicit the children's orientations toward change. The children's views are not studied in a given environment; rather, they are studied in order to see how they affect the children's own experiences and development. That development has an effect on others' development as well.

2. Problem Statement

The purpose of the research has been to study children's action strategies in a conflict situation with a teacher and the changes in these strategies as the children develop. An important aspect of these strategies is the children's agency. Agency has been an important aspect of research for some time (Cooney & Selman, 1980; Reunamo, 1988; James & Prout, 1997; Corsaro, 1997; Reunamo and Nurmilaakso, 2007). …

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