Phillips, L.G. (2009). Provoking critical awareness and intersubjectivity through ”transformative storytelling”. In Proceedings of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) International Education Research Conference 2008: Changing Climate
Theories that inform pedagogical practices have positioned young children as innocent, pre-political and egocentric. This paper draws from an action research study that investigates the impact of “transformative storytelling”, where stories purposefully crafted to counter metanarratives, revealed the impact of human greed with one class of children aged five to six years of age. Derrida’s notion of “cinders” provided a concept for investigating the traces or imprints the language of story left behind, amidst the children’s comments and actions, enabling the possibilities of the history of these“cinders” (that is what informed these comments and actions) to be noticed. Readings of some of the children’s responses suggest that children aged five and six years can engage in political discourse through the provocation of “transformative storytelling”, and that their engagement demonstrated the consideration of others through critical awareness and intersubjectivity. These early readings raise questions regarding curriculum content and pedagogical practices in early years education and the validity of ongoing educational goals that incorporate critical awareness and intersubjectivity to equip students with communitarian strategies to counter the individualistic outlook of neoliberalist societies.