Having the Touch of Motivation in Pre-school

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In this presentation, I will investigate the construction of embodied motivation in the interactions between educators and pre-school children during physical activity. The purpose of this study is to advancing the argument that motivation-building is more than pep-talks, magic formulaes or intellectual persuasion. Educators can motivate children to participate and immerse themselves in physical activities in and through touch and movement. This way they can facilitate felt here-and-now-experiences of embodied significance (Wrathall 2005) among children. On the basis of field work observations in a Danish Kindergarten and phenomenological interpretations I will argue that motivation to participate and engage is facilitated when educators speak to the 'bodies' of children, rather than to their intellectual reasoning. I will illustrate how an educator motivates a child during a game of tag by guiding the child to experiences of excitement through 1) physical contact and 2) theatrical performance. Furthermore, I will argue that the children's motivation is developed, because the educators actions create an environment of bodily felt uncertainty, which refers to ambiguous here-and-now-experiences in which children simultaneously feel maybe-I-can and maybe-I-cannot excel the challenges of the activity (Kretchmar 1975). This study suggests that motivation-building depend on educators ability to sense when and how they need to apply their own concrete bodily participation during pedagogical activities in order to guide the children to the bodily significances of the activities.


Conferencethe 35th International Human Science Research Conference (IHSRC), uOttawa, July 3-7, 2016
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Lund, O. (2016). Having the Touch of Motivation in Pre-school. Paper presented at the 35th International Human Science Research Conference (IHSRC), uOttawa, July 3-7, 2016, Ottawa, Canada.