Phillips, Louise Gwenneth. (2010). Young children’s active citizenship: storytelling, stories and social actions (Doctoral thesis). Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
This thesis inquires into possibilities for young children’s active citizenship as provoked through a practice of social justice storytelling with one Preparatory class of children aged five to six years. The inquiry was practitioner-research, through a living educational theory approach cultivating an interrelational view of existing with others in evolving processes of creation. Ideas of young children’s active citizenship were provoked and explored through storytelling, by a storytelling teacher-researcher, a Prep class of children and their teacher. The three major foci of the study were practice, narrative and action. A series of storytelling workshops with a Prep class was the practice that was investigated. Each workshop began with a story that made issues of social justice visible, followed by critical discussion of the story, and small group activities to further explore the story. The focus on narrative was based on the idea of story as a way knowing. Stories were used to explore social justice issues with young children. Metanarratives of children and citizenship were seen to influence possibilities for young children’s active citizenship. Stories were purposefully shared to provoke and promote young children’s active citizenship through social actions. It was these actions that were the third focus of the study. Through action research, a social justice storytelling practice and the children’s responses to the stories were reflected on both in action and after. These reflections informed and shaped storytelling practice. Learning in a practice of social justice storytelling is explained through living theories of social justice storytelling as pedagogy. Data of the children’s participation in the study were analysed to identify influences and possibilities for young children’s active citizenship creating a living theory of possibilities for young children’s active citizenship.