Author(s): Karen E Wohlwend
Drawing from an incident that took place during a year-long investigation of children's play and peer culture on a school playground, the author argues that seemingly neutral child-centered techniques can maintain and even strengthen existing gender inequalities as teachers and children access laminated but contradictory identity positions surrounding agentic educational discourse. As children revisit the original conflict, they laminate time-spaces to discursively reconstruct events and position themselves advantageously. Critical discourse analysis problematizes the effects of a conflict resolution strategy based upon gendered notions of learner agency in a cultural model of teaching: developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). Although the focus of this article is a single event on one elementary school playground in the USA, the author suggest that the presence of the DAP cultural model internationally means that many early childhood teachers may experience similar ambiguity over gendered tensions that arise around issues of agency and authority as they attempt to resolve children's conflicts during play.