This study offers a lens on two kindergarten classrooms, examining moments of disobedience as children interacted with children, their teachers, and the space and time elements of the classroom environments. Through Eisner’s educational criticism, author Sherry Leafgren also examines the elements of school, kindergarten and teachers within the spaces of their intersections with the children. While past research has directed our attention to addressing the problem of classroom disobedience, Leafgren provides an opportunity and means to view these familiar actions through fresh lenses of possibilities. Predicated by an event in the researcher’s teaching life, she utilizes Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizoanalysis to openly seek lateral paths of understanding by linking and folding the findings with texts other than those that would be normally used toward developing new understandings and questions regarding children’s disobediences. An earlier version of this book was awarded the distinguished dissertation award from the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology.
" Through evocative stories and insightful analysis Sheri Leafgren exposes and challenges some of the basic practices of our educational system. I was left empathizing for all the Reubens of the world, questioning my uses and misuses of power. This is a must read for all those involved in the teaching profession as our hegemonic assumptions about the teacher/student relationship are questioned. " --Joe Norris, Brock University
" Sheri Leafgren is a gifted teacher and inveterate kid-watcher whose antennae are finely attuned to the lives of children. Apprehending subtle sensory vibrations from that world, she narrates tales of everyday classroom events that are poignant, evocative, and layered with multiple meanings. Her compelling stories are matched by the theoretical sophistication-Leafgren breaks new educational research ground with her "rhizoanalysis"-with which she illuminates the "small things"-the pleasures, the passions, the creative maladjustments and the learning-that are too often lost in the standardized shuffle of order, control and achievement." --Kathleen Kesson, Long Island University
" Sheri Leafgren's marvelous and often funny book invites us to see children not as victims who are coercively domesticated by school, but as creative and accommodating participants in the construction of school life. Leafgren shows how through surveillance teachers impose rules that act to homogenize school space/time and students' experiences. But children have ways of being in multiple regimes and identities, seeming to inhabit fine-grained spaces and times full of heterogeneous possibilities. This passionate account reveals the interplay of disciplinary rituals and children who instill school rituals with purposes and pleasures of their own. " --Steve Fifield, University of Delaware
" In her provocative text, Sheri Leafgren shatters common assumptions associated with the binary fixation of "good" and "bad" behavior in the kindergarten classroom. Disrupting the notions of compliance and obedience, this marvelous examination challenges, complicates, and elucidates the deep potential, compassion, and hopefulness of young people. Anyone who believes in the humanity of children, must read this book. " --Brian Schulz, Northeastern Illinois University
"Dr. Leafgren's study of moments of disobedience amongst kindergarten children has important implications for how we interpret behaviour as "good" or "bad" in society generally. What is deemed "good" behaviour is too often only about compliance, whereas truly ethical behaviour must at times disobey social norms. "Bad" behaviour should never be taken at face value. Leafgren's discovery and analysis of this through observation of the innocence of kindergarten children's behaviour is wonderfully eye opening." --Diane Conrad, University of Alberta