Young children’s creativity in science enquiry: a diffractive analysis of empirical and theoretical understandings

Digby, R (2021) Young children’s creativity in science enquiry: a diffractive analysis of empirical and theoretical understandings. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

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Little attention has been paid to the materiality of children’s creative knowledge making practices in science enquiry. Conflicting discourses have instead shaped a narrow understanding of how children come to know in early childhood science education. This thesis draws on new materialist philosophy to offer a new approach to diffractive analysis by showing how critical points of difference are created when empirical data encounter theoretical perspectives diffractively. In doing so, conflicting discourses are challenged as limiting, and points of difference illuminated as crucial in affecting connections which can convincingly reconfigure dominant ways of seeing. The thesis firstly presents empirical data which illustrates shared understandings of creativity in science enquiry held by early childhood practitioners, gathered using Video Stimulated Reflective Dialogues (Moyles et al., 2003) and analysed using a grounded theoretical approach. This data was found to be largely representative of existing perspectives on young children’s creativity in science enquiry and the analysis restricted by theoretical, ontological and axiological norms within the interpretivist paradigm. The empirical data was subsequently ‘re-turned’ in a diffraction together with i) existing research on early childhood science education, and ii) conceptualisations of creativity in the domain of art, to reveal critical points of difference which, in superposition, create the possibility for a new conceptualisation of young children’s creativity in science enquiry. Consideration is given to the role and ethics of what is excluded in reading diffractively. A diffractive reading found children’s creativity in science enquiry to be enacted at once through talk and materials. Cutting together and apart child-material revealed children as decentred and coming to know through the materiality of materials. This opens possibilities to explore children’s co-constitutive and affective ways of knowing in science enquiry. Attention is drawn to both video camera and footage as more-than-human matter and the need for further research into the significance of points of difference potentially emergent from the spaces in-between children’s encounters with materials in science enquiry.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: early childhood education, science education, science enquiry, diffractive analysis, creativity
Divisions: School of Education
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Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 17:16
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2023 13:36
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