Oosterhoff A, Thompson T, Minnaert A & Oenema-Mostert I (2017) ‘It’s not a paper kid’: An ANT analysis of tensions and contradictory practices in early childhood education. 3rd International ProPEL Conference 2017, 14.06.2017-16.06.2017.
In this paper I consider current tensions in the day-to-day practices of early childhood teachers, related to monitoring children’s development. Heuristics based on Actor Network Theory (ANT) are applied to explore empirical data, collected as part of a PhD study examining professional autonomy. ANT investigates the plurality of associations between people and things and how they together co-constitute practices. The analysis presented in this paper highlights tensions that accompany contradictory practices of management and teachers. It is argued that due to shifting socio-material relations multiple realities are enacted. The concept of learning is enacted differently in different spaces. In the classroom learning is a performance, elsewhere learning is a representation of a preset selection of learning outcomes in the form of a diagram. These co-existing realities have conflicting effects in practice, particularly when they have politically and morally contested consequences. Furthermore the account shows an imbalance between different
sociomaterial assemblages that occur. The paper concludes by questioning how sociomaterial inquiries could help teacher-students and practitioners to (re)consider their own place in the ‘thick of things’.
early childhood education; actor-network theory; multiple realities;