Exploring adult child conversations to support young writers

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Of all language and communication activities, writing is the most complex and for many children the most difficult. Research has established the importance of adult-child interactions as adults play with, talk with and read to young children in the first years of life, but there is a shortage of research about adult-child interactions when young children are drawing and writing.

This paper reports on a study designed to explore the ways in which Early Childhood Practitioners interact with children as they engage in early mark-making, scribble, drawing and writing. Young children were video taped or photographed while they created their artefacts and participated in conversations about their texts. The recordings accurately captured conversations, gestures and non-verbal information to isolate the key features of the adult-child language interactions, the contextual factors and pedagogical supports and strategies that mediate and promote learning.

Our analysis draws on Bruner’s explanations of ‘scaffolding’ and the active engagement of adults and children to build the ‘learning capital’ children need to engage with conventional forms of writing, both traditional and digital. These interactions are dependent upon relationships of trust and respect and provide levels of social and emotional support deeply connected to thinking and learning.

The findings acknowledge the importance of socially mediated interactions and child-adult relationships in guided learning environments. The study contributes to the development of evidenced-based approaches to building educators’ capacity to effectively engage in intentional teaching conversations to improve children’s learning.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event69th OMEP World Assembly and International Conference : OMEP 2017 - Conference Centre Tamaris, Milenij Hotels, Opatija, Croatia
Duration: 19 Jun 201724 Jun 2017
http://www.worldomep.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/OMEP2017_CallENG.pdf (Conference information)
http://www.omep.hr/assets/omep-2017.pdf (Abstract book)


Conference69th OMEP World Assembly and International Conference
Abbreviated titleEarly Childhood Relationships: The Foundation for a Sustainable Future
OtherOMEP Croatia in cooperation with the Faculty of Teacher Education of the University of Zagreb and the Faculty of Teacher Education of the University of Rijeka cordially invite all preschool teachers, teachers, principals, pedagogues, psychologists, special educators and other experts who are involved in educating and caring for children from birth to eight years old, as well as academics, researchers, postgraduate students and policy-makers at international, national and local levels to contribute to rethinking early childhood by participating at the 69th OMEP World Assembly and International Conference.

Contemporary theoretical reflections and empirical research within early childhood and early childhood education emphasize the importance of children’s relationships with their environment from the micro- to the chrono-level. Attributes of these relationships are considered in relation to children’s development and quality of life. Simultaneously, contemporary early childhood policies are increasingly focusing on sustainability in the broad sense, whereas in early childhood practices both theories and policies are being brought to life in different ways.
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