Narrative performance, peer group culture, and narrative development in a preschool classroom
De Sá Barbosa A.
Children's Peer Talk: Learning from Each Other
Cambridge University Press
42 - 62
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Introduction This chapter uses the analysis of a preschool storytelling and story-acting practice to explore some of the ways that peer-oriented symbolic activities and peer group culture can serve as valuable contexts for promoting young children’s narrative development. In the process, it suggests the need to rethink, refine, and broaden the conceptions of the “social context” of development now used by most research in language socialization and development. There is a substantial and growing body of work on the role of social context in language development (Hoff 2006). In practice, most research on this subject has focused on delineating and analyzing various forms of adult–child interaction, usually dyadic, in which an adult caregiver transmits information, provides cultural models, and in other ways instructs, guides, corrects, and “scaffolds” the efforts of the less capable child. By comparison, research on the complementary role of peers in socialization and development has been, as Blum-Kulka and Snow (2004: 292) put it, relatively “peripheral and non-cumulative.” As the present volume helps to demonstrate, that situation has gradually been changing. But with some notable exceptions, the perspectives informing peer-oriented developmental research often remain limited in important respects. Even when interaction between children is studied, it is usually assimilated to the one-way expert–novice model, with an older sibling or other peer taking on the “expert” role. And both adult-oriented and peer-oriented research tend to reduce the social context of development, explicitly or in effect, to interactions between individuals and their direct consequences. © Cambridge University Press 2014.