Socializing meaning-making through book-reading practices in a North Indian preschool (Poster presentation)

Demuth, C. (Speaker), Asha Singh (Panel member), Nandita Chaudhary (Panel member)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Developmental cultural psychology has stressed that understanding child development in context requires attention to how children learn to make meaning. Children are novice meaning-makers and narrative is a fundamental tool of meaning making (Bruner, 1990; Miller & Fung, 2014). Through story-telling, caregivers provide children with interpretive frameworks and modes of participation that can be appropriated by young children. These story-telling practices are dialogically intervowen with broader cultural ideologies of good child pedagogy and take on local color, reflecting and transmitting cultural interpretive frameworks, affective stances, moral orientations, and modes of participation (Fivush & Nelson, 2006; Miller et al., 2005; Ochs & Capps; 2001). Studying book-reading as a cultural practice that children and caregivers engage in together, we gain access to the process by which children step into and move along cultural socializing pathways (e.g., Miller & Goodnow, 1995; Wiley et al., 1998). To better understand the process by which young children, as incipient cultural beings, are socialized into meaning-making practices of their communities and cultural environment, the present study investigates book-reading practices in an English-speaking preschool in Northern India.The analysis is part of a larger ethnographic study including several hours of video recordings of various activity types in classroom interaction, as well as interviews with the teachers commenting on the videotaped activities. In this paper, we will focus on story telling activities with 5 year old children based on an English book for early education (Bruno story). We consider book-reading practices as embodied practices and hence use ‘Multimodal Interaction Analysis’ (Goodwin, 2000). Our analysis focuses on the teacher's strategies for scaffolding the child’s understanding of the meaning of the story for attempting to engage the children in co-creating the interaction and to establish shared and mutual understanding of things talked about. The results show that the teacher modifies certain aspects of the story and applies them to concrete situational issues but also to more global and abstract (cultural, emotional) ones. In this way, these practices serve as multifaceted sites not only for English language learning but also for socializing moral conduct in which children are assigned specific rights, duties, and obligations. Book reading practices hence not only provide a platform for the acquisition of language but of culturally appropriate interactional roles that go beyond the classroom.
Period15 Jul 2018 - 19 Jul 2018
Event titleBiennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development
Event typeConference
Conference number25
LocationGold Coast, Australia, Queensland
Degree of RecognitionInternational