Sociomaterial Dimensions of Early Literacy Learning Spaces: Moving Through Classrooms with Teacher and Children [chapter]

Lisa Kervin, Barbara Comber, Aspa Baroutsis
2019 School Spaces for Student Wellbeing and Learning  
Classroom spaces are complex social worlds where people interact in multifaceted ways with spaces and materials. Classrooms are carefully designed agents for socialisation; however, the complexity and richness of learning experiences are partly determined by the teacher. This chapter draws from sociocultural perspectives to consider processes of thinking and learning as distributed and mediated across people and resources within the learning space. We argue that learning and wellbeing cannot be
more » ... wellbeing cannot be separated as students activate their social and emotional literacies when navigating the classroom environment. Drawing on data drawn from an ethnographic study of classrooms located in a community of high poverty, we critique how teachers describe their classroom spaces and selection of resources to facilitate their teaching of writing. We illustrate how geographies of place, movement and resources, interact with, and expand the social dimensions of classroom spaces. represents an increase of approximately 16% from 2003, emphasising the importance of a focus on the sociomaterial dimensions of schooling. Classroom spaces are complex social worlds where people interact in multifaceted ways with spaces and materials. This highlights the complexity and dynamism of learning spaces and the experiences enacted within, which are in part determined by the teachers' and schools' philosophies of education in interplay with the lives of children. As such, classrooms are spaces where events unfold and ultimately shape the social and academic experiences of the learner (Warf & Arias, 2009). This chapter investigates the social and material dimensions of learning spaces; that is, we undertake a sociomaterial analysis and argue that the geographies of place, movement and resources, interact with, and expand classroom spaces. Therefore, the classroom becomes the object of our study, an active element of belonging and learning. The chapter starts by outlining our theoretical understandings of wellbeing, space and literacy. Here, we take Leander's (2004) argument that space organises individuals, hence we look to the ways that teachers and students interact, or appropriate, classroom spaces to facilitate teaching and learning (Gee, 2008). We acknowledge that learning and wellbeing are intertwined (OECD, 2017) ; that is, children activate social and emotional literacies as they navigate the classroom environment. Next, we discuss our research methods, outlining our data sets and illustrate how a sociomaterial analysis allows us to explore the social, material, spatial and pedagogical relationships in a writing classroom. Specifically, we look to how materials, ideas, practices and pedagogies are brought together in ways that are always active and interrelated to investigate everyday teaching and learning practices. We then discuss our findings, drawing on a video analysis of a teacher's tour of his classroom, children's perceptions of writing as expressed in their drawing and talking, and researcher observations. Combined, these data form the basis of our discussion demonstrating a classroom in action. We conclude by summarising the importance of the social, material, spatial and pedagogical dimensions of learning. Theoretical Understandings of Space, Wellbeing and Literacy Critical scholars of architecture and urban planning argue that buildings, cities, malls and all built environments need to be understood not as empty containers that just anyone can inhabit for any purpose at any time (Lefebvre, 1991; Soja, 2010) . Rather, such structures, including schools, playgrounds, universities and so on are designed and constructed in particular places to house specific populations and to enable and constrain activities therein (Foucault, 1979) . Hence, the spatial politics of purpose-built institutions always require negotiation and interrogation in terms of the occupants for whom they were designed.
doi:10.1007/978-981-13-6092-3_2 fatcat:df4oymakejbizb2ffmfl4tic4m