Pedagogical innovation for children’s agency in the classroom: Building knowledge together

Farini, Federico and Scollan, Angela ORCID logoORCID: (2023) Pedagogical innovation for children’s agency in the classroom: Building knowledge together. Palgrave Macmillan. . [Book] (Accepted/In press)


This book presents insights on the use of facilitation to promote children’s agency, which is considered an essential ingredient of dialogic pedagogy. Such insights are founded on a thoughtful consideration of previous research and theoretical literature and, more importantly it is believed, they develop from observations of practices of pedagogical innovation that used facilitation as a methodology to promote children’s agency, expressed as authorship of knowledge during classroom conversations. In particular, observations concerned workshops with children in two primary schools classrooms in the city of London (year 3 of the English school system, 7-8 years of age). Workshops were designed by the authors as a practice of pedagogical innovation to offer children an opportunity to narrate memories encrypted in photographs chosen, or taken, by them. During the workshops, the use of facilitation aimed to promote children’s access to the agentic role of authors of knowledge in the classroom. More specifically, the use of facilitation during the workshops aimed to create favourable conditions for the expression of children’s self-determination as autonomous choices concerning the access to the role of: 1) authors narratives; 2) commentators of narratives; 3) facilitators of others’ participation. Based on the observation and analysis of interactions during the workshops, this book discerns how a range of facilitative actions can position children as authors of knowledge. It also discusses how children can make a difference in the context of their interactions with adults and peers, by taking the role of authors of knowledge and organisers of conversations. The underpinning idea, supported by previous international research, was that the use of facilitation can promote self-determination and agency of children by positioning them as authors of knowledge in adults-children interactions, thus supporting: 1) a participative approach to learning based on equality of opportunities, 2) empathic reflections on the background of personal memories; 3) expectations of participation and interactions based on personal expressions rather than role performances. Equality, empathy and expectations of personal expressions are three core elements of dialogue (Bohm, 1996; Wierbicka, 2006; Hendry, 2009; Shier, 2010a, 2010b; Baraldi, 2014, Baraldi et al., 2021). The following sections in this chapter introduce the key concepts and philosophy underpinning the book, as well as its ambition to contribute to pedagogical innovation, impact, and sustainability.

Item Type: Book
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > Centre for Education Research and Scholarship (CERS)
Item ID: 37362
Depositing User: Angela Scollan
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2023 12:18
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2023 12:18

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