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Young Childrens Discourse and the Origins of the World

Young Childrens Discourse and the Origins of the World

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Published by David Kennedy

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Published by: David Kennedy on Nov 05, 2009
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09/13/2010

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DAVID KENNEDY1
Young Children’s Discourse and the Origins of the World:A Reading of Essences
Published in
Teaching and Learning 
3 (Winter 1989); in R. Reed, Ed.,
When WeTalk: Essays on Classroom Conversation
(Analytic Press, 1992); and in D.Kennedy,
Changing Conceptions of the Child from the Renaissance to Post-Modernity: A Philosophy of Childhood 
. The Mellen Press, 2006
. All rightsreserved.
The Transformation into Text
D.K.: But when you get these pictures from outer space (
he holdsup two NASA photos. A globe is also sitting on the floor inthe middle of their small circle
) you suddenly notice that theearth seems to be alive. . . . I mean, I’m not sure what Imean by “alive” . . .Brad: The earth is alive.D.K.: Well look at it if you look at this picture, and if you look atthat picture up there, you definitely get the sense that there’ssomething sort of . . .Anna: Living. Alive. Moving.D.K.: . . .
together 
about it, isn’t there? And so – Alan: And it’s floating up in space . . . and going down all the waythrough space with . . . with kinda rocket shoes . . . or that’salso invisible . . . or that also’s a head with two eyes and asmile.D.K.: Well what I wanted to ask you about was where . . . whatabout the origins of this thing that we live on – where does itcome from?
 
YOUNG CHILDREN’S DISCOURSE AND THE ORIGINS OF THE WORLD 2
Sara: I’ve got a question.D.K.: We’re alive. Is it alive? And if it’s not alive, how does it bring forth the life that
we
are?Sara: I have a question.D.K.: O.K. Does it have to do with what we’re talking about?Sara: Yes it does. Nathan: He’s a hairy monster.Sara: Well, the earth is a round ball, and, and it always goes roundand round the sun . . . and if it got closer it would be adifferent color, like it would turn green or something.D.K.: Closer to what?Anna: Or yellow or red?Sara: The sun.D.K.: So you’re saying that its color and everything depend on itsdistance from the sun. That’s a very good point.Sara: Yeah, and if it got so, so very close, very close that it couldturn up into ashes, um . . . I would think it would turnorange, I guess.D.K.: Well then you’re saying that it comes from the sun? . . .Or . . . you’re not saying that.Sara: I’m not saying that.D.K.: O.K. But I’m saying: where does it coming from?Sara: It comes from . . . Well, it comes from –  Nathan: Burning gas.D.K.: Burning gas? Nathan: Well, I think – 
 
YOUNG CHILDREN’S DISCOURSE AND THE ORIGINS OF THE WORLD 3
Sara: No it doesn’t come from burning gas! Neither does theearth!D.K.: Well let’s let him say it, and then you can respond to it. Nathan: The
 sun
is burning gas. But . . . .D.K.. Oh. The sun is burning gas. Nathan: But how, how does the . . . the . . . um gas get on the sun?D.K.: How did the gas get on the sun?Sara: I can tell you.D.K.: I thought you said the sun
was
– 
is
burning gas?Brad: Cause the gas tank can’t get blowed up in space or spray iton it. Nathan: (
laughs
) No!Sara: Um, I’ve got a question. . . . I’ve got another one to answer his.D.K.: O.K. Let’s not . . . Let’s let everybody get a chance to talk who wants to, though, Sara.Alan: I think uh . . . I think uh . . . the uh . . . burning gas is inspace . . . and I think that’s why (
over-ruling denial 
) . . . andI think that’s why we have space shuttles so they won’t getgas in their . . . (
inaudible
).Peter: (
almost whispering 
) There’s no burning gas up in space!The stars are gas.D.K.: The stars are what?Peter: And they’re burning real real hot.D.K.: The stars are burning? That’s why they’re bright?

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