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Literacies, Literature and Learning: reading classrooms differently

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In this seminar, I present material from a newly published edited book associated with the international NRF funded research on Decolonising Early Childhood Discourses in Higher Education https://www.decolonizingchildhood.org/ . In this research project, we have been working with posthumanist and new materialist theories to decolonise childhood and early childhood education practices. Our book attends to pressing questions in literacy education, such as the poor quality of children’s experiences as readers, routine disregard for their thinking and the degrading impact of narrow skills measurement and comparison. It reports on a unique experimental research project created through one literacy lesson and involving members of the DECD group with children, teachers, the picturebook How to Find Gold and its author Viviane Schwarz , a visiting practitioner of Philosophy for Children, Sara Stanley, as well as student teachers in a Grade 2 primary school classroom in Cape Town, SA. In my presentation, I will first discuss the ethics of response-ability and the research methodology adopted throughout the project. When we began to analyse the data we had created as a research team three key ideas that inspired us: dis-identification, diffraction and naturecultures, all important elements of the relational ontology of posthuman philosophy. Following this discussion, I will offer an example of an analysis created to illustrate how the morethanhuman can be taken into account to open up radical possibilities for a different doing of childhood and literacy.

Karin Murris is Professor of Pedagogy and Philosophy at the School of Education, University of Cape Town. She is a teacher educator and grounded in philosophy as an academic discipline, her main research interests are in children’s literature and intra-active pedagogies such as Philosophy with Children and Reggio Emilia, and postqualitative research methods. She is Principal Investigator of the Decolonising Early Childhood Discourses: Critical Posthumanism in Higher Education research project funded by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF): www.decolonizingchildhood.org.

Her books include: The Posthuman Child: Educational Transformation through Philosophy with Picturebooks (2016), and (with Joanna Haynes) Literacies, Literature and Learning: Reading Classrooms Differently (2018), Picturebooks, Pedagogy and Philosophy (2012). She is co-editor of the Routledge International Handbook of Philosophy for Children (2017). For her articles, see: www.academia.edu.

This talk is part of the Centre for Research in Children's Literature at Cambridge series.

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