01 – Keynote 1 – Young children’s learning by observing and pitching in

Presentation - ECV2022-Keynote 1

Young children’s learning by observing and pitching in

Barbara Rogoff, University of California-Santa Cruz, USA (brogoff@ucsc.edu

Biography: Barbara Rogoff is University of California-Santa Cruz Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology. She investigates cultural variation in children’s learning processes and how communities organise opportunities to learn in everyday life, with a special interest in Mexican and Indigenous-heritage communities of the Americas. Professor Rogoff received a Distinguished Lifetime Contributions Award (Society for Research in Child Development) and the Chemers Award for Outstanding Research (UCSC). She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Education, American Anthropological Association, Association for Psychological Sciences, American Psychological Association, and American Educational Research Association.

Background: Collaboration is an important part of learning. Collaboration can be difficult for many children, yet at home often children from Indigenous and Mexican heritage backgrounds collaborate in sophisticated ways. This has implications for education. For example, students may be more interested in science if they can contribute in a useful way. 

Aim: To investigate learning by observing potential collaborative opportunities in family situations, community endeavours, and science education. 

Method: Observational studies of children in home and school settings demonstrating their willingness to help and collaborate.

Results: Middle class European-American children are less likely to help instructors than children of Indigenous and Mexican heritage. This is similar to their behaviour at home. Often children of Indigenous and Mexican heritage are included as contributors in family activities. Contributing to family endeavours may carry over from home to school and support children to be actively involved in science. In contrast, many middle-class European-American children often avoid helping at home. Indigenous and Mexican children whose families had extensive schooling in Western contexts often voluntarily help at home, but seldom help the instructor during a research condition. 

Conclusions: An inclusive collaborative approach initially learnt in the home may help children to be aware of what is needed to collaborate and work in groups at school.

Implications for children and families: Families, include young children in household tasks and value their contributions. This may help them to collaborate and learn with others outside the home. 

Implications for practitioners: Encouraging helpful contributions could broaden participation in science for many children from Indigenous and Mexican heritage backgrounds. 

Key words: children’s voices, families’ voices, professionals’ voices, Indigenous voices, innovations

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: 


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