Recognition is most important for developing a positive sense of self (Honneth 1994). In educational settings, children experience recognition if they are noticed: seen and heard (Reisenauer & Ulsess-Schurd, 2018). Taken to a micro-level and to the context of conversations, findings like these give secours to the demand, that children need the possibility to speak up and voice their own thoughts. This research project aims at exploring how children's communicative participation (Bock, 2018) can be facilitated in early childhood education so that children experience themselves as valued.
To this aim, conversation analysis (Bergmann, 1994) is used to analyze video extracts of shared picture book readings. Four sequences of a kindergarten teacher and three children were selected out of a larger international study (www.sprikid.org). For the analyses, sequences of the recordings were transcribed according to GAT2 standards (Selting et al. 2009). The turn-by-turn analysis allows to elicit how each child is addressed and what reaction follows a child’s contribution, resulting in patterns of participation for each participant.
Preliminary results suggest that it is more likely to succeed in valuing each child’s contribution during a conversation if the professional does not visibly aim to direct the children's attention to something specific, but rather lets the children take the lead in expressing their ideas. Also, teachers may support individual children who have not spoken up much e.g., by addressing them directly or repeating statements that otherwise might be overheard by the other participants of the conversation.