This study critically examines how the decision-making of two-year-old children may take place and may be interpreted in dialogue. The aim is to increase adult understanding of the decision-making experiences of children. The decisions, as perceived by parents and practitioners as participants, are situated within the non-verbal as well as the verbal dialogue of the children and are interpreted through the dialogue of the interpreting adults.
Case studies focus on three children drawn from families and settings willing to engage in extensive observation and analysis. The study is conducted with dialogism meta-theory containing a contextual social constructionist approach. The principal research methods are naturalistic video observations of the children over the course of their third year and video analysis sessions with parents and practitioners. I use a second-person approach to observation that acknowledges my presence with the children.
Phenomenological principles underpin the interpretation. Multi-modal interaction analysis accesses aspects of the children’s phenomenal minds (here indicating no separation of mind and body), namely their expressions and responses to each other. The children’s dialogue is discussed in terms of Buber’s I-You relation and I-It attitude to the other, and in terms of what the children make relevant in their decisions in and with the world.
Questions are raised about how decision-making in dialogue can be understood, discussing in particular the situated nature of this understanding, with the aim of contributing to the processes of observation and understanding in the future.
A key contribution of the study is the exploration of mutuality and contextual knowing involving the perceptions of the adults closest to the children, and the contextual continuity of knowing in adults developing professional judgement in situations of uncertainty, and yet of relevance to the children.
|Date of Award||31 Mar 2017|
|Supervisor||Bridget Egan (Supervisor) & Jane Payler (Supervisor)|