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ERIC Number: EJ856473
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1350-293X
Constructs of Childhood: Enduring or Open to Change? Early Years Students' Reflections on First Hand Experiences of Childhood and Early Years Education in a Different Country and Culture
McGillivray, Gill
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, v17 n3 p271-282 Sep 2009
It can be argued that globalisation brings change for children and their families in the guise of increased poverty and inequality; for example, for the world's poorest populations and communities. Students undertaking Early Childhood Studies degrees in the United Kingdom are likely to encounter modules with a focus on childhood in a variety of contexts (for example, historically, sociologically, psychologically, educationally) and thus grapple with key issues such as poverty and inequality. This research aimed to explore early years students constructs of childhood, with a specific focus on their reflections and experiences during a week-long visit to the Gambia, West Africa. The research aimed to examine ways in which students interpreted and reflected upon experiences during the visit, potentially in terms of their constructs of childhood, their views on intervention and reflections on a culture and country different from their own. The work of Bronfenbrenner, Bourdieu and post-structural approaches stimulated by MacNaughton were useful in providing a theoretical basis for discussion and analysis. Findings suggest that interpretations of aspects of childhood, community, education, poverty and intervention were unsettled by first-hand experiences. There is scope for debate in terms of how enduring or embedded the apparent unsettling is, but student responses indicated a heightened awareness of sociological issues as a result of the experiences afforded by the visit. Findings will also contribute to the planning of future visits and international collaborations. In conclusion, opportunities for shared discourse are needed for more critical debate and deconstruction of perceptions and interpretations and to promote a deeper awareness of issues of poverty and ethical intervention for all participants. The variation in students' own positions and habitus influences reflections.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Gambia; United Kingdom