Curiosity, agency and participation in a foreign language – the relevance of play

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Play has been placed at the centre of the early childhood curriculum for over a century and child-initiated play (or free play), ‘the opportunity to explore materials and situations for oneself’ (Moyles, 1989: 14) is considered essential in children’s development (Wood 2022). Yet, in a forthcoming survey article, charting the field of early foreign language learning in the Language Teaching Journal, reference to play is absent. This confirms that published research on play and foreign language learning is sparse (for exceptions see Robinson et al., 2015; Waddington et al., 2018). In my short introduction to this pre-conference event, I will outline the relevance of play for curiosity, agency and participation in a foreign language. I will then touch on recent research into third spaces (Tatham-Fashanu, 2021) and Conceptual Playworlds (Fleer, 2021) and pose the question ‘How can we successfully bring child-initiated play into children’s foreign language experiences?’.
Period30 Aug 2023
Event titleChildren's Curiosity, Agency and Participation: : Challenges for Professional Action and Development
Event typeSeminar
LocationCascais, PortugalShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational