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ERIC Number: EJ781904
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0256-2928
"The Clouds Are Alive because They Fly in the Air as if They Were Birds": A Re-Analysis of What Children Say and Mean in Clinical Interviews in the Work of Jean Piaget
Pramling, Niklas
European Journal of Psychology of Education, v21 n4 p453-466 Dec 2006
This article is about the contributions children make in clinical interviews. This issue is studied by re-analysing a selection of the empirical excerpts used by Piaget in his seminal book The Child's Conception of the World. The focus is on how children use language non-literally, and especially on how they use meta-communicative markers ("as if", "like", etc.) when communicating with the interviewer. Considered in relation to Piaget's own analysis, this alternative view has important consequences for how one understands the children's answers, and, as a consequence, strikingly different pictures of the children's abilities and competences emerge. In Piaget's analysis, the children are understood as revealing their "conceptions" and as making claims about reality, for instance, that a watch like a human being "knows" something, or that thoughts are actually "in front of you" as some kind of physical entities when you think. In the alternative interpretation, suggested in this article, the children's answers can be read as attempts to communicate and to make themselves understood in a relevant manner. One of the means they use for achieving shared understandings is through meta-communicative markers. Read in this way, the children appear communicatively competent. (Contains 3 notes.)
Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada. Rua Jardim do Tabaco, 34, Lisboa 1149-041, Portugal. Tel: +351-21-881-1700; Fax: +351-21-886-0954; Web site: and English translation)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A