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Following children's lines of flight : possibilities for a pedagogy of listening Kim, Bo Sun


This case study examines young children’s ideas and narratives as these emerged through a project about the forest outside the children’s early childhood classroom. I followed the trajectory of the children’s learning processes by participating with them in various experiences in the forest over 16 weeks. The theoretical inspirations for this study include the postmodernist work of early childhood researchers Gunilla Dahlberg and Peter Moss; selected concepts of poststructural theorists, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari; and the philosophical foundations of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. The children, teachers, and I visited the forest on numerous occasions. There the children generated hypotheses about phenomena, developed theories about their discoveries, and created original stories. Their ideas, concepts, narratives, and interactions became the foci of my study. The specific questions of this inquiry include: What happens when researchers and teachers follow children’s ideas and narratives through the philosophical lens of Deleuze and Guattari? How can a pedagogy of listening be understood as a way of co-constructing curriculum with children? What is the impact of a pedagogy of listening on early childhood curriculum and teaching? How can a teacher support the creation of learning contexts that will enrich and extend children’s thinking and learning? By employing a pedagogy of listening and pedagogical documentation, both taken from the practices found in the pre-schools of Reggio Emilia, I was able to follow what Deleuze and Guattari call “lines of flight,” the free movements of thought created by the four-year old participants in the study. I describe three events demonstrating how the children’s learning evolved and transformed as they encountered landscapes, materials and diverse perspectives. Throughout my analysis of these events, Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the rhizome provides an illuminating metaphor for understanding children’s thinking as generative, interactive and dynamic. My findings provide powerful justification for an emergent curriculum based on children's individual and collective interests. My study also addresses the role of the teacher in early childhood education, emphasizing a pedagogy of listening as a valuable tool for critical reflection on teaching and learning.

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