Dialogical Agency: Children’s interactions with human and more-than-human Special issue ‘Participatory Pedagogies’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article addresses findings about knowing rather than assuming dialogical interactions between children. Understanding the nature of relation indicates the form of children’s interaction within participatory pedagogy. During a Dialogical Approach to Observation two-year-old children, their parents and key person practitioners also enact participation together. The approach is based on Buber’s relational ontology of dialogue between ‘I and You’. Through interpreting the perceived attitude or regard for the other, the children are found to engage in openness before entering into mutuality in interactions, or not. There is evidence of dialogical agency in their decisions to enter dialogue and regard others as relevant. The extension of dialogue is found, beyond human interaction, to encompass materials and the environment itself. The interpretations have significance for the understanding of potential dialogical relations and for future engagement in dialogical participatory pedagogy.

© 2019, EECERA. The attached document (embargoed until 15/10/2020) is an author produced version of a paper published in EUROPEAN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION RESEARCH JOURNAL uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-333
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Early online date15 Apr 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Apr 2019


  • dialogical agency
  • openness
  • extension of dialogue
  • more-than-human
  • dialogical approach to observation
  • two-year-old children

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