Play, narrative and learning in education: A biocultural perspective

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    A substantial body of research suggests that both teachers and students frequently find teaching and learning within the confines of the English National Curriculum a frustrating and alienating experience (Wood 2004). Interviews were undertaken in five English secondary schools to explore aspects of both teacher and student constructions of the teaching and learning process. The resulting thematically analysed data supported Wood’s (2004, p.371) proposals of ‘impoverished’ learning. It is subsequently proposed that if we view human beings as ‘storying animals’ (Lyle 2000, p.55) making sense of their world through cohesive narratives within Wittgensteinian ‘language games’ (Wittgenstein 1953) via collaborative play and discovery activities, we can more readily define problems emerging from heavy reliance upon ‘transmission’ teaching practices resulting from the demands of the English National Curriculum. It is proposed that such a pedagogy does not adequately recognise human primate styles of learning, in particular the need for to-be-learned material to be embedded within cohesive narratives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)66-76
    Number of pages12
    JournalEducational and Child Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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