Children and Teachers as Partners in Communication: Focus on Spacious and Narrow Interactional Patterns

Bae, Berit
April 2012
International Journal of Early Childhood;Apr2012, Vol. 44 Issue 1, p53
Academic Journal
The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and especially article 12 has put children's right to participation high on the agenda in early childhood settings in many countries. Based in a qualitative study done in early childhood institutions in Norway, this article analyses how salient features of dialogues between children and teachers create premises for children's participation. Qualitative differences are described by the metaphors of spacious and narrow pattern. It is shown that qualities inherent in spacious patters create relational premises for children to exercise their right to participation and to express their views. Neither children nor teachers need to be cast in fixed and limited roles. The findings are discussed in terms of other research describing democratic adult roles, and points to the need for critical thinking on theories on teachers-child relationships.


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