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    Advanced investigation into the issues and contexts that both enhance and constrain the learning of young children in educational settings.

    Have you ever wondered how and why diversity should be recognised and celebrated in early childhood education? Or perhaps you've wondered how children's rights and agency can actually be promoted through their education engagement? Are you curious about how societies and cultures construct their ideas about learning, curriculum and assessment?

    In this paper you will engage in cooperative learning experiences with others to investigate and make meaning of the contested terrain of young children's learning and explore how various issues and contexts enhance and constrain the learning of young children in their earliest years.

    About this paper

    Paper title Contemporary Understandings of Young Children as Learners
    Subject Education
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (On campus)
    Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $937.50
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    One 200-level EDUC or SOCI paper
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Professor Alex Gunn:

    Teaching staff

    Paper Co-ordinator: Professor Alex Gunn (Dunedin)
    Other staff:
    Meredith Kelly (Southland)

    Paper Structure

    Diversity, inclusion and changing participation in early years settings:

    • Theorising difference, diversity and inclusion
    • A learning community approach
    • Pedagogical responses to difference and diversity

    Rights and Citizenship:

    • National and international responses to children's rights and citizenship
    • Rights and citizenship within early years settings
    • Upholding rights and practising citizenship: successes and challenges for thinking and practice
    • Learning, development and assessment: debating perspectives in the early years
    • Contested perspectives on learning, development and assessment
    • Critical questions of contemporary theories and practices in learning, development and assessment
    • Researching learning, development and assessment

    Transitions - shifting terrains:

    • Curriculum continuities and discontinuities
    • Changing conceptions of knowledge and moves towards testing
    Teaching Arrangements

    After the first week of class, lectures are to be watched by students online. Weekly workshops will be facilitated face-to-face in Dunedin and Invercargill. Workshop participation is cooperative and collaborative, a learning environment that reflects a Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership approach will be promoted.  The enactment of values of whakamana, manaakitanga, pono and whanaungatanga, in keeping with lecturers’ status as members of the teaching profession, will be observed.  Lecturers in this paper are te reo Māori language learners and committed to using and hearing te reo Māori in teaching. This does not mean you must be a te reo Māori speaker to participate, but you are welcome to use the reo you have to lead and learn with us all.   

    Required Text:
    Carr, M. & Lee, W. (2012). Learning stories: Constructing learner identities in early childhood education. Los Angeles: Sage.
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • Gain understandings of current literature and debates on children's rights and citizenship and what this might mean for educational settings
    • Investigate concepts of diversity and inclusion as educational issues for young children
    • Appraise and consider the wider politics of assessment practices and purposes in education
    • Gain knowledge and understanding of contestable theories and thinking about children's learning


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Thursday 09:00-11:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-21

    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Thursday 09:00-10:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-21
    Thursday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-21
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