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How might teachers enrich children’s working theories? Getting to the heart of the matter

Daniel Lovatt

Children are constantly trying to make sense of their world. Working theories—one of the key learning outcomes of Te Whāriki—are constructed, adapted, and enriched in children’s lives as children experience the world around them and interact with others. This article presents findings from a study that investigated teacher strategies that were used to support and challenge children’s working theories. In particular, verbal strategies—engaging in dialogue—are presented as offering possibilities for teachers to support and challenge children’s complex and creative thinking and the development of more accurate working theories. These strategies are supported by the underlying context of abundant time, the importance of reciprocal and responsive relationships, and rich dialogue.

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