Pedagogy and possibility thinking in the early years
Canterbury Christ Church University; University of Cambridge; University of Exeter, at the time of publication the author was at The Open University.
Thinking Skills and Creativity
Connecting to current work in the area of creative pedagogies, this paper reports findings of an exploratory study that sought to identify what characterises possibility thinking in young children's learning experiences and how teachers’ pedagogical practice fosters this critical aspect of creativity. It focuses in particular on pedagogy, seeking to demonstrate how approaches adopted facilitated children's possibility thinking. Possibility thinking has been conceptualised as being central to creative learning although its role, as manifest in the learning engagement of children and the pedagogical strategies of practitioners has not been fully illuminated. The co-participative research team involved in this study comprised staff in an early childhood centre, in an infant and a primary school, working collaboratively with three university-based researchers. The 12-month long segment of a longer study employed various data collection methods including video-stimulated review (VSR) to facilitate reflection, critical conversations, classroom observation, interviews and examination of planning documents. The paper illuminates the perspectives and embedded values that the teachers expressed whilst reflecting upon their practice, and highlights common pedagogical themes, including the practice of ‘standing back’, profiling learner agency and creating time and space. Particular strategies were employed by each of the teachers. These approaches appeared to foster possibility thinking in young learners. In addition, the paper considers the development of the teachers’ thinking through the phases of the research process and presents a model for conceptualising a pedagogy of possibility thinking.
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