First published in 1999, the focus of this ground-breaking study is on representing the mental world of the child with unprecedented clarity. Cedric Cullingford aims to show that this world, in its normal experience by children, is significantly unlike what we typically assume it to be, and significantly unlike anything exposed by the most prominent research programs. Querying common assumptions about children’s thinking, Cullingford begins with an outline of children’s understanding which emphasizes its range and complexity, along with an address of the mythology of children’s intellectual incapacity and preparation for the approach to be taken in detailing children’s construction of a sense of their world. The following four chapters combine to construct a description of how children approach their world, exploring theory of mind, the self, the family, the school and then the wider social and physical worlds. Cullingford achieves a vividness, immediacy and intensity not seen elsewhere, using the constant medium of the child’s gaze and demonstrating that the youngest child is not simply responsive but is active and critical in interrogating the world.
Table of Contents
1. Through a Glass Darkly? The Abilities of Young Children. 2. Instant Epistemologies: the Myths of Child Development. 3. The First Academic Discipline: Evidence. 4. The Life of the World to Come: the Identity of the Self. 5. Home Life: the Significance of Others. 6. ‘Lives of Quiet Desperation?’ The World of the School. 7. Shared Insecurities: the Context of Place. 8. Face to Face: Understanding the Human Condition.