Talk to me: A study of children's verbal approaches to pedagogues

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperCommunication


This paper focuses on which children in Danish kindergartens approach the professional adults verbally, with which intention
and how they succeed. Which role does factors such as gender, age, background and the physical and psychological
environment play? The project behind the study draws on research by e.g. Hagtvet (2004), Gjems (2009), and Winther-
Lindqvist (2012). The theoretical foundation is the interactional theory of language acquisition as presented by e.g. Vygotsky
(1983) and Tomasello (2003): The child is the prime agent in the acquisition process, scaffolded by professional adults. The
research design is a qualitative study inspired by linguistic ethnography, based on video observations, field notes, interviews
and group reflections. The pedagogues gave oral consent to the researcher. Parents were informed by a general consent in
the kindergarten. All names are anonymised. Observations are of everyday life, allowing participants to move around as usual.
The study shows that the children primarily approach pedagogues who are physically in one place. In general, verbally wellfunctioning
children over 3.5 years (primarily boys) seem to approach these pedagogues with "stories from everyday life" or
"search for knowledge", whereas younger children and girls generally approach to get short information, help or to get
mirrored. An unorganised "free play"-time in kindergartens, where professionals are often physically and mentally "on the
move", and where no apparent activity is going on, appears to appeal interaction-wise to the verbally strong, older children,
primarily boys. Thus the professional adults must consider their physical and psychological positioning in order to secure
equal opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date30 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2017
EventEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Association: Happiness, Relationships, Emotion & Deep Level Learning - Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 31 Aug 20163 Sep 2016
Conference number: 26th


ConferenceEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Association
LocationDublin City University


  • learning, educational science and teaching

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