Pedagogical intersubjectivity: Teaching and learning conversations between children and teachers

Funding year: 
1 year
University of Waikato
ECE sector
Project start date: 
January 2012
Project end date: 
March 2013
Principal investigator(s): 
Dr. Amanda Bateman
Research team members: 
Kelly Dromgool, Timothy Bennett, Sharmila Caeiro, Jane Waters
Research partners: 
Teachers from the Waikato University Campus Crèche,

Project Description

This project builds on prior national TLRI research investigating teaching and learning episodes between teachers and child during their everyday interactions (Carr, et al., 2008; Davis & Peters, 2008). These prior studies indicated that teachers sometimes found it difficult to:

  1. choose which of the children’s interactions they should involve themselves in to develop opportunities for children’s learning (Carr, 2007; Davis & Peters, 2008)
  2. interact with children in ways that avoid “hijacking” their developing working theories (Davis & Peters, 2008).

International studies exploring early childhood education practices were also considered in the planning of this project. Specifically, the “Effective Provision of Pre-school Education” (EPPE) study (Sylva, Melhuish, Sammons, Siraj-Blatchford, & Taggart, 2010) and the “Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years” (REPEY) study (Siraj-Blatchford, Sylva, Muttock, Gilden, & Bell, 2002; Sylva, Taggart, Sammons, Melhuish, & Elliot, 2003) in the United Kingdom were significant. These international studies suggest that effective teaching and learning lies within the co-construction of reciprocal conversations between teachers and children where sustained shared thinking and adults’ use of open-ended questions were imperative.

With these prior studies as a foundation, the current project aimed to investigate teacher–child interactions with a specific focus on analysing everyday verbal and non-verbal communications between teachers and children. As the New Zealand early childhood curriculum is of international repute (Waller, 2005), a closer investigation into how it is implemented in an everyday context is essential for teacher training and early childhood education research both nationally and internationally. The main aim of this project was to reveal how everyday moments of teaching and learning were co-produced by teachers and children.                                       

Project Contact

Dr Amanda Bateman

Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
Faculty of Education
University of Waikato





Project Outputs



Bateman, A. (in press, Sept 2015) Conversation Analysis and Early Childhood Education: The co-production of knowledge and relationships. Hampshire: Ashgate.  

Bateman, A., Hohepa, M. and Bennett, T. (forthcoming, 2016). ‘Indigenising outdoor play with young children in New Zealand’ in T. Waller (ed.) Outdoor environments and learning in early childhood. Sage Handbook

Bateman, A. and Waters, J. (2013) Asymmetries of knowledge between children and teachers on a New Zealand bush walk, Australian Journal of Communication - Special Issue: Asymmetries of Knowledge, 40(2), pp 19-32

Bateman, A., Bennett, T., Cairo, S. and MacMillan, N. (2013). Dispositional teaching in early childhood education, Early Childhood Folio, 17(1), pp12-18.

Bateman, A. (2013). Responding to children's answers: questions embedded in the social context of early childhood education, Early Years: An International Research Journal, 33(2), pp 275-289.

Presentations, conferences and workshops

Bateman, A. (2013). Morality on an early childhood education bush trip in New Zealand. Paper presented at NZDC conference, AUT, Auckland, New Zealand; December 2nd - 4th 2013.

Waters, J. and Bateman, A. (2013). Scaffolded and co-constructed interactions in outdoor experiences in Wales and NZ. Paper presented at EECERA conference, Tallin, Estonia; August 28th – 31st 2013.

Bateman, A., Bennett, T., Caeiro, S., Macmillan, N. Doing early childhood teaching and learning in New Zealand; preliminary TLRI findings. New Zealand Association for Research in Education Conference and Annual Meeting. Hamilton, New Zealand; 28-30 November 2012.

Bateman, A., Waters, J. Follow the learner: Sharing knowledge with children in the NZ bush. AIEMCA 2012 Biennial Conference. Brisbane, Australia; 29-30 November 2012.

Waters, J. and Bateman, A. (2012) Revealing the interactional features of learning and teaching moments in outdoor activity. Paper presented at EECERA conference, Porto, Portugal; August 29th ”“ September 1st 2012.

Bateman, A. (2012) Investigating Early Childhood Pedagogy in New Zealand. Paper presented at EECERA conference, Porto, Portugal; August 29th ”“ September 1st 2012.

Bateman, A (2012). The use of questions in toddler teaching and learning. Paper presented at the Transcription Analysis Group (TAG) Symposium, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia; 18th May 2012.