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ERIC Number: EJ856166
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-0360-9170
Kyle and the Basilisk: Understanding Children's Writing as Play
Boldt, Gail M.
Language Arts, v87 n1 p9-17 Sep 2009
In this article, Boldt considers decisions teachers must make about the value of children's writing as a form of play in primary classrooms. She offers a brief history of the framing of this question at 1966 Dartmouth Conference on English, focusing particularly on the perspective of Jimmy Britton. She highlights the relationship between Britton's work on play and fantasy and that of his brother-in-law, the child psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott. Reading across their publications on play and fantasy, she has drawn out the argument that their work was motivated by a mutual concern about the dangers of orthodoxy, compliance, and what Winnicott referred to as a "fascist state of mind." She highlights that what they advocated for was a set of playful practices, including Britton's understanding of children's writing as a form of play, that were grounded in a deep concern that classroom pedagogy could contribute either to children's sense of social responsibility, artistic and creative potential and emotional security, or to fear, rigidity and conformity. She argues that to return to this set of concerns is particularly timely in today's accountability-driven environment.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A