Social inclusion and exclusion of a young child: A cultural–historical perspective of an international mid-semester transition into an international school in Malaysia

Megan Adams
Marilyn Fleer
Monash University

Expatriate children potentially experience multiple international transitions in their early childhood years as their parents move countries to fulfill the demands of employment with multinational companies. However, we know very little about the social interaction that occurs as young expatriate children enter into international schools. The focus here is the processes of a mid-semester transition, which resulted in both inclusion and exclusion practices. These processes are explored using Vygotsky’s (1994) cultural–historical system of concepts, specifically perezhivanie (the unity of personal and environmental characteristics) and the social situation of development. An analysis of different children’s perspectives is presented. In the larger study, 90 hours of data was gathered through video observation, still images, semi-structured interviews and field notes from five families. However, this study presents findings from the interaction of the three-year-old participants. Findings indicate that inclusion and exclusion become part of the values and norms of the classroom due to the demands of the curriculum and the way assessments are organised; this in turn affects the motives of children and their social interaction. The second finding explores the way very young children use complex interaction styles to negotiate forms of inclusion and exclusion.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 41 Number 3 September 2016.

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