Notions of agency in early literacy classrooms: assemblages and productive intersections

DANIELS, Karen (2019). Notions of agency in early literacy classrooms: assemblages and productive intersections. Journal of early childhood literacy.

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Agency and its role in the early literacy classroom has long been a topic for debate. While sociocultural accounts often portray the child as a cultural agent who negotiates their own participation in classroom culture and literacy learning, more recent framings draw attention from the individual subject, instead seeing agency as dispersed across people and materials. In this article I draw on my experiences of following children as they followed their interests in an early literacy classroom, drawing on the concepts of assemblage and people yet to come, as defined by Deleuze and Guattari and Spinoza’s common notion. I provide one illustrative account of moment-by-moment activity and suggest that in education settings it is useful to see activity as a direct and ongoing interplay of three dimensions: children’s moving bodies; the classroom; and its materials. I propose that children’s ongoing movements create possibilities for ‘doing’ and ‘being’ that flow across and between children. I argue that thinking with assemblage can draw attention to both the potentiality and the power dynamics inherent in the ongoing present and also counter preconceived notions of individual child agency and linear trajectories of literacy development, and the inequalities this these concepts can perpetuate within early education settings.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1301 Education Systems; 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy; 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2019 10:43
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 23:00

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