“When you’ve been doing it as long as I have ...” Repositioning children through role-based strategies in classroom research

Viv Aitken


In this presentation, Viv talks about a drama-based data generation strategy that was developed during a two-year research project: Connecting curriculum, connecting learning (Fraser, Aitken, Price, & 2012). The strategy, ‘researcher-in-role’, involved a researcher stepping into role alongside children as they were learning in drama, to conduct learning conversations and generate data. The strategy was used in five classrooms. On three occasions, researchers tried the researcher-in-role strategy simultaneously alongside a more traditional researcher, working out of role. This allowed Viv to compare the quality of children’s talk to the researcher-in-role with that of the researcher out of role. She found that where researcher-in-role was used, children seemed more inclined to share provisional knowledge, express the processes of their learning and grapple with incomplete understandings. After sharing these findings, Viv goes on to theorize them through the lens of Positioning Theory (Harre and Lagenhove 2009. The presentation concludes by advocating for the researcher-in-role strategy as a useful tool in drama education and other research contexts. Please note, this powerpoint presentation has been further developed into a peer reviewed journal article published in RIDE (Aitken, 2014 in press). 


Mantle of the expert; learning conversations; researcher-in-role; positioning

Full Text: Video

DOI: 10.15663/wje.v20i1.180


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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015