13 SES 14 A, The concept of childhood, P4C and competing ideas about play
At present, there are still remnants of the old discussion on the educational possibilities of children's play. The presence of play in the field of formal education has been proposed by thinkers such as Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1670), Jacques Rosseau (1712-1778), Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805), Friedrich W. Fröbel (1782-1852), Maria Montessori (1870-1952) or Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). From unique perspectives, each author established his own proposal about the meaning that the game could have in education. The arguments involved in the discussion establish different forms of relationship between children's play and education. While the most pessimistic perspectives have pointed out to incompatibility between formal education and play Kuschner (2012a, 2012b), the most optimistic ones have incorporated playful methodologies to school education contexts (gamification for instance). There are also other authors who have suggested the need to introduce education into children's play and not the other way around (Quiroga & Zaldívar, 2013).
In the exercise of exploring the educational possibilities of play, the discussion about its serious or banal character is present. This distinction could have its origin in the Aristotelian conceptualization of play as an activity as opposed to work (D’Angour, 2013). Education and play were for Aristotle two very different activities, the first being a way of spending leisure time and the second the opposite of work. For pragmatist philosophers such as John Dewey (1859-1952), George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) and Jane Addams (1860-1935) the boundaries between education, work, play and art seem more blurred. Education was not to be a process of preparation but rather was life itself. The notion of education as life led them to establish strong links in the relationship between play and education, as compatible elements.
Addams devoted many of her intellectual works (evidenced in articles, conferences, interviews, and books) to claiming the need for creating protected playgrounds in modern cities. Being founder and head of the settlement Hull-House (1889-2013), Addams enabled the first public playground of the city of Chicago in 1894. Hull-House was a settlement house that welcomed immigrants of various nationalities attracted by the industrialised city's desire for progress. Her efforts on the need for play in the industrial age can be encapsulated in her book The spirit of youth and the city streets (1909) and her essay A Plea for More Play, More Pay And More Education for Our Factory Girls and Boys (1913),
Mead used to participate actively in Hull-House, becoming a lecturer and treasurer of the settlement. He shared with Addams his advocacy of peace and his support for the Progressive Party. Mead's contributions to children's play can be found in many of the lectures he taught at the University of Chicago. In particular, his essays The Kindergarten and Play (undated), Play, the game and the generalized other (1934), and The Relation of Play to Education (1896) deserve special attention.
From the beginning of my doctoral thesis, I have placed my intellectual interest in pragmatism because it overcomes the Aristotelian dichotomous approach and facilitates the conciliatory reflection between education and playful activities. Deegan's studies have put a great deal of effort into understanding Mead's notion of play, but little work has systematically explored Addams' work. To this end, this paper aims to reflect on the notions of children's play in the work of two pragmatists: Jane Addams and George Herbert Mead: What are the possibilities of the relationship between play and education from a pragmatist approach? What continuities and discontinuities exist between the work of Jane Addams and George Herbert Mead?
The methodology used is based on the approach of the historian Martyn P. Thompson (1993) who deals with this type of analysis through the contextualization of the ideas of the thinkers that are studied. The methodology is based on the examination of primary and secondary sources on the notion of play and education by pragmatists Jane Addams and George Herbert Mead. Since both authors shared the Hull-House context, the aim is to find differences and similarities between the work of both authors. The compilation of primary and secondary sources was carried out through the design and development of a review of the databases of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), the Summon catalog of the Queen's University (Ontario, Canada) and the Jane Addams Digital Edition project.
My readings Mead’s and Addams’ works are still in process as they are part of my doctoral dissertation. However, some lines of thought can be traced. The relationship between Addams and Mead was as familiar and friendly as the one with John Dewey. Their relationship should be understood in terms of reciprocal influence since they worked together at Hull-House. The works of Addams and Mead seem to point to a conceptualisation of education as a process that goes beyond formal education. From the notion of education as a broader, social process, the pragmatists suggest that playful activity were a means by which life was recreated and in parallel a medium for the cultivation of civic virtues. The ways in which life is recreated through play are different in each author's perspective. According to Mead's theory, the construction of the self was based on the reflection of the processes of interaction between the self and the I during interaction in social processes such as language, play and game. Mead's differentiation awaited a different classification of play activities according to children's involvement in interaction with others. Addams aims to recover a certain notion of leisure from the classical city. According to Addams' work, just as the classical city provided opportunities for leisure, the industrial city was to take over the provision of children's play. Addams argued the necessity of the protection of children under the dangers of the industrial context. The playground was the safe place where children could express their individuality and realise that, beyond their cultural differences, there was something more human that united them. Addams and Mead elevate children's play to a sense of Greek leisure. Although the two authors used different theoretical resources, both related children’s play with the recognition of cultural diversity from a conciliatory perspective.
Addams, J. (1914). A Plea for More Play, More Pay and More Education for our Factory Boys and Girls, From the Writings of Jane Addams, pp. 14. Retrieved from: https://digital.janeaddams.ramapo.edu/items/show/6613 Addams, J. (1909). The spirit of youth and the city streets. University of Illinois Press. D’Angour, A. (2013). Plato and play: Taking education seriously in ancient Greece. American Journal of Play, 5:293–307. Kuschner, D. (2012a). Play is natural to childhood but school is not: The problem of integrating play into the curriculum. International Journal of Play, 1:242–249. Kuschner, D. (2012b). What is the state of play? International Journal of Play, 1:03–104. Quiroga Uceda, P., & Igelmo Zaldívar, J. (2013). La pedagogía Waldorf y el juego en el jardín de infancia: una propuesta teórica singular. Bordón. Revista de pedagogía, 65(1):79-92. Morris, C. (Ed.) (1962). Works of George Herbert Mead, Volume 1: Mind, Self, and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Mead, G. H. 1896. The relation of play to education. University of Chicago. University Record 1:141-45. Mead, G. H. (date unknown). The Kindergarten and Play. Mead papers. Retrieved from: https://brocku.ca/MeadProject/Mead/Unpublished/Meadu12.html
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.