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Social development within learning communities: A linguistic study of the lower primary years

Beesley, Tobias (2018) Social development within learning communities: A linguistic study of the lower primary years. Masters thesis, York St John University.

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The language found in child-child group interactions provides insight into children’s learning and social negotiations (Wenger, 1998; Cekaite et al., 2017). This research set out to explore the significance of child-child learning through moment-by-moment interaction during primary school children’s work-related discourse. Furthermore, the research explores how work- related interaction changes throughout the lower years of primary and explores the dialogue used in learning communities to accomplish social negotiation of activities.

Using transcripts from audio data collected from several year groups in a primary school (year 1, 2, 3 and 4) this will be achieved through discourse analysis. Four tools from Gee’s (2014) discourse analysis toolkit were implemented for data analysis to explore the children’s learning experiences of their linguistic and social negotiations. This investigation of children’s peer talk will be valuable for institutions and researchers as it will detail further knowledge about children’s learning negotiations. This focus will try to further challenge the idea that learning should only occur within teacher-child interaction, which is a problematic stance according to Corsaro and Eder (1990). Moreover, the thesis demonstrates the social and academic benefits of child-child interactions.

The findings show children’s self-awareness of activity expectations and the supportive behaviour they demonstrate while working as well as their efforts to define the context of their work as ‘play’, increasing investment. Investigation of identities and relationships revealed the children’s socially negotiated efforts to display ‘smartness’ and reinforce their membership in the learning community. Furthermore, the research demonstrated the children’s protective nature of their partner relationships and how they make use of authority to guide other members through activities. Lastly, the negotiations of power relations were demonstrated through further supportive behaviours, the efforts made to challenge others or themselves, and the accountability children display towards each other.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Status: Unpublished
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3708

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