Schofield, Keith (2011) An Exploration of One Educational Career: The Differing Experience of Compulsory, Post-16 and Vocational Study. Psychology of Education Review, 35 (1). pp. 12-15. ISSN 0262-4087

Emily began her educational career as most children do in primary school. The majority of the work that she completed was “hands on really. We had to do lots of, erm, topic books” and this, she found, engaging and interesting, perhaps because the goal oriented perception of the work she was completing complimented the theoretical and academic aspect of it. Alongside this, Emily explains that she had a solid friendship base at primary school and this was enhanced by her positive relationships with her teachers who “were easy to talk to teachers [who] […] made class fun”. This approachability in teaching staff clearly enhanced Emily’s perception of school and it could, therefore, be argued that it is the practices of the teachers that enabled Emily to have a positive and engaging working relationship with them. This act of mutual recognition between participants is one that Wenger (1998) cites as being a key element in relationships between individuals as a way of governing their social interactions through understanding each others’ roles and intentions. It is this ability to successfully participate within the community of the primary school classroom with teachers and peers that will enable a child to learn comfortably (Dean, 2000). In line with the Vygotskian theory of passage through the Zone of Proximal Development, Emily has illustrated here that it is through her relationships with her “more competent peers”, the teachers, that she became engaged in learning at primary school (Moll, 1992).

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