Janet Pletz’s Doctoral Defense

Janet Pletz will defend her dissertation on Monday, November 27th, 12:30 PM at the Graduate Student Centre (6371 Crescent Road), Room 203.

All are welcome to attend.

Date: Monday, November 27th
Time:  12:30 p.m.
Location: Graduate Centre (6371 Crescent Road) | Room 203

Committee Members:
Dr. Carl Leggo (Co-Research Supervisor)
Dr. Erika Hasebe-Ludt (Co-Research Supervisor)
Dr. Marlene Asselin
Dr. Teresa Dobson

University Examiners:
Dr. Margot Filipenko (LLED)
Dr. Karen Meyer (EDCP)

External Examiners:
Dr. Anne Burke (Faculty of Education, Memorial University St. John’s, Newfoundland)

“Pedagogical Relations of Listening and Becoming in Children’s Everyday Literacies: In Conversation with Ted Aoki”
Janet Pletz


This inquiry applied a sociocultural lens of literacy to acknowledge how research contexts of everyday life are tied to children’s learning and participation in diverse cultural and social situations and settings. In the tradition of reconceptualist curricular theorizing in contexts of early childhood education, this research aimed to enhance an awareness of relations of pedagogical listening in teaching situations, especially responsive to ethical possibilities as meaning making for pedagogical change (Aoki, 1978/1980; Pinar, 1995). I took into account listening to young children as active, knowing participants who bring experiences and knowledge about their lives and literacies into the classroom.

Oriented in hermeneutic curriculum inquiry and narrative-interpretive methodology (Aoki, 1978/1980; Leggo & Sameshima, 2014), my study was located in two Kindergarten classrooms in a city in Alberta, Canada during one school year, and focused on two students, their teachers, and parents. I explored the pedagogical relations of listening to children’s everyday lives and literacy experiences across borders and contexts of home and school. Through Aoki’s pedagogical call (Aoki, 1990/2005) to theorize curriculum through re/awakening listening (dwelling with/in sonare), this inquiry aimed to understand: (a) young children’s perceptions of literacies, (b) the experience and meanings of relations of listening and literacy pedagogy in early childhood classrooms, and (c) the ways these relations are acknowledged by children, teachers, and parents.

Through conversational interviews (Chase, 2005; Silverman, 2001), narrative portraits (Ellis, 1998/2006), informal interactions, observations (Smith, Duncan, & Marshall, 2005), and practices of life writing (Hasebe-Ludt, Chambers, & Leggo, 2009), such as letters to Ted Aoki, the inquiry evoked meaning making from the students’ narratives about lived experiences with literacy, including technology. Students’ perspectives and meanings of literacies were uncovered through their stories when in transition from home to school. Parents expressed curiosity about literacies and “what teachers do” in developing relations with their children. Teachers became aware of tensions in their teaching, especially regarding how they ascribed personal values to teaching practices as well as students’ literacy practices with/in the classroom. Teachers articulated the importance of attentiveness in listening to students’ stories as layered narratives of literacy learning.