[xmca] Kindergarten As a Semiotic System

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at yahoo.com>
Date: Sat Jun 02 2007 - 18:33:30 PDT

Dear Katarina:
  Sorry--it's my fault. I changed "Activity System" to "Semiotic System" in the thread byline. I didn't mean to imply that there was a big body of work along those lines; I just meant to say that I thought "activity" was not the only way to look at what children do in kindergartens (actually, in a lot of my data, the kids are pretty passive).
  I don't work in kindergartens, though: we do school age children between nine and thirteen. But I'm always on the lookout for stuff on preschools. Here's what I've enjoyed:
  Nemoianu, A.M. (1980) The boat's gonna leave: A study of children learning a second language from conversations with other children. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  It's really not pre-school per se; just the researcher following pre-school kids around with a microphone. But it's one of the very few things I've read that is a) longitudinal, b) developmental, and c) not just "the science of strange children doing strange things with strange adults for the shortest possible period of time" (Bronfenbrenner).
  Bodrova E and Leong D.J. (1996) Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education. Columbus: Merrill.
  Also look at their piece in Vygotsky's Educational Theory in Cultural Context, 2003 CUP Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev and Miller eds.
  You might try Halliday et al--they are quite close to the Prague Structuralists (in my view, anyway), and they've done a fair amount on preschool:
  Halliday, M.A.K. (2004) The Language of Early Childhood. London: Continuum. This has a CD ROM including all of his data, which I've found very useful.
  Ruqaiya Hasan has done a fair amount on child interactions with parents, but not preschool. It would be interesting to what the Hallidayans have to say about pre-school. In general, I find a lot of their stuff a little bit unfair to teachers: there is this strong tendency to emphasize power relations in school settings but not in home settings.
  Ruqaiya Hasan, to her credit, sees power everywhere; both at home and at school. I think I'd rather see an analysis that sees GROWTH everywhere though! Human subservience doesn't seem to me nearly as interesting or difficult to explain as human development.
  David Kellogg
  Seoul National University of Education

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Received on Sat Jun 2 19:35 PDT 2007

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