“This article was published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol 25 number 8, Authors: Josepha A. Blay and Judith Ireson, "Pedagogical Beliefs, Activity Choice and Structure, and Adult–Child Interaction in Nursery Classrooms", Pages 1105-1116, Copyright Elsevier (November 2009)”.
A qualitative analysis of four cooking activities undertaken in two nursery classes reveals relationships between the adults' pedagogical beliefs, the choice and structuring of activities, and the nature of adult–child participation.
Four adults each planned and carried out separately, one cooking activity of their choice with a small group of children, as part of a normal nursery session. The activities were video recorded and transcribed, and a grounded theory approach was adopted to analyse the adult–child interactions. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with the adults which provided insight into their pedagogical beliefs and rationale for their teaching approaches.
Analysis of the data reveals a dichotomy in the cooking activity choices made by the adults between baking recipes which required a high level of adult control, and other cooking activities which required minimal adult intervention.
Observations of the cooking activities demonstrate differences in the structure of the activities and the nature of adult–child participation. The interviews reveal how the teachers' pedagogical beliefs and intentions informed their choice and structure of the cooking activities.
This study provides an illustration of the relationship between the adults' pedagogical beliefs, activity structure, and the interactions between the adults and children in one type of activity in a nursery setting. The appropriateness of the design and feasibility of the observation method is also considered.