Adair Named Young Scholar Fellow
Jennifer Keys Adair was named a Young Scholar Fellow with the Foundation for Child Development. Her funded study, as part of the fellowship is about how agency affects learning experiences for young children of immigrants in school. She explains:
Agency, as I am using it, is being able to make decisions about one's own learning and to have some control over how something is learned. I became interested in this topic during my dissertation work because I visited around twenty preschool classrooms and noticed a strong difference in how children were treated as learners. Children of immigrants had a smaller range of motion and influence in their classrooms. They were given specific tasks rather than problems to solve. They were told precisely how to do those tasks. This meant that they had less opportunity to develop a range of capabilities that could include organization, self-regulation, creative problem-solving, critical thinking, cooperation, collaboration, modeling, creating projects (beginning to end), leading discussion, responding thoughtfully to criticism, sharing and revising ideas, gathering support and making testable inquiries. I am passionate about figuring out how to provide more of these opportunities to young children of immigrants at the beginning of school.
Because I am a cultural anthropologist, I am also concerned with making sure that the kinds (forms) of agency that I will eventually advocate for within early childhood education are culturally relevant. I want to be sensitive to the educational concerns of immigrant families and utilize the expertise of immigrant teachers so after making films of two first-grade classrooms where children have a lot of agency, I will show these films to many immigrant parents, teachers, children and administrators to understand what kinds of agency make sense and what kinds of agency validate important cultural values.
For more information about the grant see article: Adair Awarded Grant to Study Optimal Class Environments for Young Immigrant Children