ABSTRACT. In this paper, I aim to reconceptualise how early childhood education (ECE) teachers respond to issues they perceive to be of political concern in everyday interactions. To do so, I introduce the interdisciplinary term teachers’ political dialogues to delve into these responses’ nuanced and agentic nature, transcending conventional education-focused perspectives. Although not commonly used in education, both sociology and political science offer definitions of political dialogue that include citizens formulating understandings and responses to their perceived problems. I apply this framing to teachers’ political dialogues to shift knowledge futures toward the possibilistic responses of teachers to their perceived political problems. Seeking teachers’ political dialogues as everyday encounters rather than systems or structures, this paper reports on a literature review that offers insights into their forms of response. This reconceptualisation attempts to redefine teachers’ responses as agentic and complex, fostering an opening up to interdisciplinary investigations and discussions. The insights gained for this literature review, code-switching, infer the potential to enrich knowledge production and exchange in the field, potentially fostering a more dynamic and nuanced exploration of ECE teachers’ responses to political issues.

Keywords: early childhood education (ECE) teachers; political; responses; agency; voice

How to cite: Westbrook, F. (2023). Reconceptualising early childhood teachers’ responses as political dialogues. Knowledge Cultures, 11(3), 60-81.

Received 11 October 2023 • Received in revised form 25 October 2023
Accepted 25 October 2023 • Available online 1 December 2023

Fiona Westbrook
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Auckland University of Technology
Auckland, New Zealand

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