Young Children's Authentic Inquiry Practices
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This dissertation is comprised of three interlinked studies investigating young children’s authentic inquiry practices. The first article provides a literature synthesis of over two hundred and fifty in-depth cases of K-6 facilitated authentic inquiry learning environments. These cases reveal the wide-ranging authentic inquiry practices that are a vital feature of the inquiry process including the practices young learners use to conduct research, organize their workload, motivate each other, collaborate together, innovate upon practices, and promote equitable learning conditions. The second article investigates how young learners leverage each of the above practices to advance their collective inquiry on a novel and complex project in an afterschool learning environment called Mancala Club. The third article, an extension of the second, empirically examines the moment-to-moment interactional moves that young learners used to re-mediate relations of power, affect, social positioning, and spatial orientation in Mancala Club in order to promote more equitable learning conditions for themselves. Taken together, these articles demonstrate that the process of authentic inquiry is holistic and contentious, yet within-the-grasp of young learners. These findings push back on dominant models of what counts as an inquiry practice and what counts as competency, especially for young children.
- Education - Seattle