Pedagogical intersubjectivity; understanding how teaching and learning moments occur between children and teachers through everyday conversations in New Zealand

Project Director: Amanda Bateman
Research team: Sharmila Caeiro, toddler teacher at Campus Creche (ages 2½ - 3 ¾ years); Timothy Bennett, pre-school teacher at Campus Creche (ages 3 ¾ - 5 years); Nadine MacMillan, pre-school teacher at Campus Creche (ages 3 ¾ - 5 years)

Project Dates: 2012 - 2013

Partnerships: Campus Crèche Preschool and Toddlers groups

The Project                                                

This was a one-year Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) funded project investigating the moments of teaching and learning which occur during everyday interactions between children and teachers under the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. The focus of the study was to reveal how intersubjectivity is reached, and at what level, in early childhood pedagogy. The project followed the interests of the teachers involved, and builds on prior national TLRI projects (Carr et al. 2008; Davis & Peters, 2008) that suggest further investigations into conversations between teachers and children in order to reveal how and when learning takes place. The project also builds on prior international research from the EPPE (Sylva et al., 2010) and REPEY (Siraj-Blatchford et al., 2002; 2003) studies where the concept of sustained shared thinking (SST) is paramount in the learning process.This research will provide a greater understanding of the issues raised in prior research and work towards creating a deeper understanding for teachers and students about how to effectively implement Te Whāriki. A clearer picture of how teaching and learning was established was revealed through the detailed and intricate transcriptions of the verbal and non-verbal interactions engaged in during pedagogical practice. As the project involves teachers working with pre-school children and toddlers, it offers insight into the interactional teaching and learning occurrences of a wide age range of children.


Pedagogical intersubjectivity was co-constructed between children and teachers through attending to the interests of each participant, to the answers of children once questions were asked, and by being aware of levels of knowledge ownership children have in various situations. The findings reveal the fine details of turn-taking processes evident in everyday teaching and learning moments and how important it is to be aware of these conversational features when interacting with children.

For detailed information and findings please see the final report


Carr, M., Peters, S., Davis, K., Bartlett, C., Bashford, N., Berry, P., & Wilson-Tukaki, A. (2008). Key learning competencies across place and time: Kimihia te ara tōtika, hei oranga mō to ao. Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER.
Davis, K., & Peters, S. (2008). Moments of wonder, everyday events: How are young children theorising and making sense of their world? Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER.
Siraj-Blatchford, I., Sylva, K., Muttock. S., Gilden, R., & Bell, D. (2002). Researching effective pedagogy in the early years. DfES Research Report 365. London, England: HMSO Queens Printer.
Siraj-Blatchford, I., Sylva, K., Taggart, B., Sammons, P., Melhuish, E., & Elliot, K. (2003). Intensive studies of practice across the foundation stage. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project. Technical paper 10. London, England: Institute of Education, University of London
Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Taggart, B. (2010). Early childhood matters: Evidence from the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education Project. London, England: Routledge

Project outputs


Bateman, A. (2013). Pedagogical intersubjectivity: Teaching and learning conversations between children and teachers. Summary report. Wellington, New Zealand: Teaching Learning Research Initiative. (PDF 223.5 KB)

Bateman, A. (submitted). Responding to children's answers: questions embedded in the social context of early childhood education. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development.

Bateman, A., Bennett, T., Cairo, S., & MacMillan, N. (submitted). Dispositional teaching in early childhood education. Early Childhood Folio.

Presentations, conferences and workshops

Bateman, A., Bennett, T., Caeiro, S., & Macmillan, N. (2012, November 28–30). Doing early childhood teaching and learning in New Zealand; preliminary TLRI findings. Paper presented at the New Zealand Association for Research in Education Conference and Annual Meeting—Early Childhood Special Interest Group, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Bateman, A. (2012, May 18). The use of questions in toddler teaching and learning. Paper presented at the Transcription Analysis Group (TAG) Symposium, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia.

Bateman, A. (2012, August 29–September 1). Investigating early childhood pedagogy in New Zealand. Paper presented at EECERA conference, Porto, Portugal.

Bateman, A., & Waters, J. (2012, 29-30 November) Follow the learner: Sharing knowledge with children in the NZ bush. AIEMCA Biennial Conference. Brisbane, Australia.