UBC Graduate Research

Caregiver's co-construction of children's voice : exploring pre-verbal communication and relationships Hittos, Madelaine


In this project I describe in what ways caregivers co-construct children’s voice dialogically as they respond to children’s behaviours. The purpose of my project is to demonstrate pre-verbal and preschool children’s behaviours as a valuable form of communication. I describe voice from a Bakhtinian perspective as all sounds and gestures made by an individual as an attempt to communicate. I frame my project within the sociocultural and critical theoretical perspectives, and I draw from emotion theory and the constructs of temperament and sensory processing. I present a review of the literature focused on how children learn about their worlds through their actions and interactions with others. I highlight research recommending paying more focused attention to interactions with children with more reactive emotional responses. I discuss a pedagogy of listening and dialogic pedagogy as methods to use with children. I subsequently describe scenarios from my own work experiences with children, and how I responded to children in ways that aligns with the research I present. This project includes a one day interactive workshop focused on pre-verbal language as the child’s first language, how voice is influenced by others, and how this relates to constructs of temperament and sensory processing. I discuss my conclusions which reflect that children’s behaviour is a valuable form of communication and should be acknowledged so the child becomes more connected with their body and voice. Finally, I consider limitations to the research reviewed, and I make recommendations for educators to become familiar with the constructs of temperament, sensory processing, and pedagogical approaches focused on how children create meaning in their world. I furthermore discuss recommendations for future study and practice.

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