The use of the body in early education – examples from a North Indian preschool

Demuth, C. (Speaker)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Adopting a socioculturally informed perspective on human development, the present study explores embodied practices for socializing children into morally appropriate classroom conduct in a North Indian preschool. Previous studies on preschool interaction have shown how embodied practices need to be seen are part of the broader organization of social interaction, for instance in evaluating the moral aspects of children’s actions and emotions and to socialize children into culturally appropriate conduct (Burdelsky, in press; Cekaite, 2013). Recently, Bhattacharya & Sterponi (in press) could show how children in an Indian preschool are socialized into moral values during morning assemblies. The present study looks specifically at embodied practices by preschool teachers such as touch, gesture, position and mutual orientation of the body (Cekaite, 2015; Goodwin, 2000) that constitute specific participation frameworks for social action. Another focus lies on the socialization of the children to use and control their own bodies in normatively appropriate ways. The study draws on ethnographic research conducted over a period of 3 months. We will present findings from multimodal micro-analysis of video material of classroom interaction that was collected during that time. The findings reveal how the body serves as a site of socialization towards children’s disposition to obedience, which unarguably is essential for the smooth running of the instructional operations in the classroom. Socialization practises go, however, beyond the classroom and attend to broader cultural ideologies that orient towards children’s subject positions in the context of society. The findings also reveal how the teacher uses her own body to organize the interaction to achieve these goals.
PeriodJun 2019
Held atDepartment of Communication and Psychology
Degree of RecognitionInternational