‘Are You ‘Avin a Laff?’: A pedagogical response to Bakhtinian carnivalesque in early childhood education
White, E. J. (2013). ‘Are You ‘Avin a Laff?’: A pedagogical response to Bakhtinian carnivalesque in early childhood education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, published online 05 April 2013.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7676
Rabelaian carnivalesque provided philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin with a means of exploring the significance of humour through an examination of Middle Age peasant culture and the influence of the Renaissance on its legitimacy. This article argues that a similar phenomenon exists in modern educational settings and provides evidence to suggest that very young children are highly capable of working within this genre as a strategic orientation. It is proposed that the role of the early childhood teacher within this ‘underground culture’ is to be a dialogic partner who recognizes their dual horizontal and vertical roles as both insider and outsider: appreciating humour with children but expecting (and celebrating) the child’s position within a distinct culture that necessarily resides outside officialdom. In doing so, the article concludes that teachers will gain deeper appreciation of the important role of humour as a means of positioning the self within institutions characterized by power dynamics that are typically beyond the young child’s control. Moreover, the teacher has greater opportunities to recognize the potential of humour as a form of social mobility and agency on the part of the child.
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