Children as storytellers. Using photographs to facilitate narratives in the classroom, promoting respect of cultural differences and intercultural dialogue

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperpeer-review


This presentation discusses the results of a research on the use of dialogic teaching to promote new learning experiences, with specific consideration for respect of cultural differences and promotion of intercultural dialogue. The learning activities observed are part of the SHARMED (Shared Memories and Dialogue) project, funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and coordinated by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy) in partnership with University of Suffolk (UK) and University of Jena (Germany). The presenter, recently transferred to the University of Northampton, is the lead of activities in the UK. SHARMED provides opportunities for primary and secondary school children (16 classrooms in each country) to collect photographs connected to their memories, comparing dialogically memories of personal and cultural roots in the classrooms, in collaboration with an adult expert in the use of facilitation, to enhance dialogic intercultural learning. The methodology of SHARMED is centred around Project-Based Workshops (PBWs), applying dialogic teaching to engage children in extended narratives originating from their photographs. As storytellers, migrant-background learners are given a voice, towards their inclusion in the educational context. Dialogic teaching is based on the acknowledgment that children are active participants in constructing social practices (James, Jenks & Prout,1998; Baraldi & Iervese, 2014, and requires facilitation of interaction, with the adult facilitator as organiser of participation and mutual learning (Holdsworth, 2005), creating conditions in which all participants can contribute, mutually encouraging each other to participate actively (Mercer & Littleton, 2007). This presentation concerns the implementation of SHARMED in Early Years settings and Junior Primary Schools in England, led by SHARMED-UK team and associates. Data consists in videotaped PBWs, analyzed using Conversation Analysis (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson, 1974; Mehan, 1979; Margutti, 2006; Farini, 2012) to investigate how narratives around photographs develop, focusing on the interrelation between dialogic teaching and children's participation. The aims of SHARMED project were presented to teachers/practitioners, parents and children in dedicated meetings. Informed consent sheets including information about the use of data and right to withdrawn were provided and discussed (BERA, 2011) SHARMED aims to implement facilitation to promote storytelling of personal experiences and cultural backgrounds, and the discussion of these narratives in the classrooms. The presentation argues that supporting children as autonomous contributors through facilitation empowers them to take an active role coordinating interactions. Dialogic teaching enhances children’s agency (Bjerke, 2011), therefore promoting their own (and adult’s) intercultural learning. Facilitation is considered the most effective methodology to empower children as storytellers, towards the transformation of the classroom in a space of intercultural dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
EventInternational Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE) Conference 2017 - Université Catholique de l'Ouest, Angers, France
Duration: 1 Jun 2017 → …


ConferenceInternational Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE) Conference 2017
Period1/06/17 → …
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Children as storytellers. Using photographs to facilitate narratives in the classroom, promoting respect of cultural differences and intercultural dialogue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this