The Emotional Context of Young Children's Literacy Learning

Thesis


Price, H. 2004. The Emotional Context of Young Children's Literacy Learning. Thesis University of East London
AuthorsPrice, H.
Abstract

This thesis presents findings from an ethnographic, psychoanalytically informed research
project which aimed to investigate the emotional context of young children's literacy
learning in the final year of the infant school. Using psychoanalytic observational
methods, data was gathered over a two year period in an inner city primary school. The
author undertook non-participant observation weekly in classroom settings, and also took
children of different abilities, singly and in pairs and triads, for individual teaching
sessionsD. rawing on a mixture of ethnographica nd psychoanalyticp rinciples,
observationatlr anscriptsw ere analysedt o generateg roundedc onceptualisationso f
children's, and to a more limited extent, teachers', conscious and unconscious
relationshipst o eacho ther and to the learning task. The classroomi s conceptualiseda s an
'inter-psychic' psychosocialf ield which can be researcheqfr om a number of intersecting
vantage points.
The thesis reviews the relevant psychosocial literature and research on emotionality and
children's literacy learning, together with post-Kleinian Object Relations theory as
applied to child and learnerd evelopment.I t discussesk ey methodologicald ebates
surrounding clinically and observationally based psychoanalytic research. The aims and
methodology of the study are discussed and situated in the context of these reviews. The
six data chapters focus respectively on teachers, the task of literacy learning, struggling
learners, high achievers and middle range achievers. In each chapter, selected
observational reports across the time period of the research are presented, and a
psychoanalytic account of emotional factors in the learning process is generated.
The analysis reveals several key dimensions to the emotional life of an 'ordinary'
classroom. Individual case studies show children struggling in relation to the task because
of different degreeso f developmentalo r linguistic disadvantagec; hildren capableo f
using the 'literacy learning object' to engage in well sublimated imaginative learning and
growth; and children using the arena of literacy learning to work through questions of
power and gender. The emotional core of the teaching task is shown to centre on the use
of authority to establish and maintain order and orderliness; and on a capacity for
recognition of children's different and shifting states of mind.
The researchin dicatest he potential and the need for a range of emotionally sophisticated
capacities in teaching staff if the complex balance between group learning and the needs
of individual children is to be maintained. Additionally, the project constitutes a modest
advance in the development of professionally relevant psychoanalytic research
methodology in micro-social settings

Keywordsprimary school; children's literacy
Year2004
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1246
File
File Access Level
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Publication dates
Print2004
Publication process dates
Deposited10 May 2011
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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