Inside the minds of children

I wonder how many of you in New Zealand have been watching the wonderful British television series titled “The secret life of babies”? This is a fascinating series that shows the power of video as a research tool – one I have very much come to appreciate.

Watch/re-watch this episode: with the lens of working theories in mind.

The concept of working theories offers a positive view of the complex ways in which children were learning to socialise with a new group of same-aged peers. Complement the commentary and interpretations of the researchers watching the video as it unfolded by considering: What were their working theories on how this educational institution functions? What were their working theories about how to make, be, and maintain, friends? Alongside the ABCs, watch two boys negotiate and re-negotiate their friendship and problem-solve important ideas.

Working through these kinds of ideas is complex and provides important dispositions about ways to be a citizen in a democratic society. As the commentary at the beginning notes, the learning – and growing language capacities that accompany learning –  that takes place from 4-6 sets children up for adulthood. What more argument do we need for the importance of early childhood education?


2 thoughts on “Inside the minds of children

  1. Fiona February 24, 2016 / 6:16 am

    I was just talking about this episode here and said I was going to ask your opinion of it. I found it fascinating and it reminded me of many children I know. But wondered if you felt it was edited in the same way that many ‘reality’ tv shows are ie casting certain children into specific roles to make it a more entertaining programme.


    • Helen Hedges February 25, 2016 / 1:41 am

      Well as a researcher who selects interesting excerpts of video to analyse, perhaps I could be accused of the same? I’m not sure that in a naturalistic environment children could be “cast” but they may have been selected for the programme to illustrate particular (or a range of) socialising skills and knowledge of life (so far) and indeed the editing helped to emphasise these. From the research lenses I operate within, I thought it was interesting to see how children’s lives in their families shaped their dispositions for learning, and contributed to their working theories and developing identities (rather than “roles”). This has resonance with my research programme and findings. I appreciate that these kinds of British programmes don’t usually succumb to the “edutainment” aims of many contemporary programmes and, while entertaining, are also thought-provoking and stimulate the discussion you had in your home, that we’ve had here on campus, and now digitally through this blog. I can’t wait for part 2 next week to see what is revealed.

      Liked by 1 person

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