Children’s perspectives on play
Children’s perspectives on play

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Children’s perspectives on play

2.2 Using facts, opinions or arguments

From the two videos you watched in Activities 1 and 2, you will have formed an opinion about the children’s play and their creative experiences from that play. It is important to understand the difference between facts, opinions or arguments. The next activity will help you to distinguish between them and think about how you can use them effectively.

What are facts?

Facts can be checked against evidence. Facts used in academic writing are those that have been gathered and recorded in a formal way, such as part of a research study published in a journal or official records or statistics. For example:

Many of the early pioneers of early childhood education recognise the value of music and musical activities for young children.

(Rowe, 2012)

This is a fact because the early pioneers did recognise the value of music and this has been extensively written about.

What are opinions?

Opinions are personal beliefs. They are not always based on good evidence and, in some cases, may even be the opposite to what evidence suggests. Even if most people agree with what you are saying, it is still an opinion unless you can back it up with supporting evidence. For example, Elodie’s Mother, Mia, offers her opinion on what Elodie likes to play with:

She loves her toy piano and she loves all her percussion things. So she’s either working on her music or she is singing, or she is playing making me tea and breakfast in her little play kitchen.

How does Mia know that Elodie loves her toy piano? Or her percussion things? What evidence is there to support her claim? It is just Mia’s opinion from watching her daughter play because there is no evidence to support what she is saying. It is good to have opinions, but in academic study opinions must be backed up with a fact or an argument.

What is an argument?

Arguments are reasons, which can include facts, given to support a point of view. For example:

Participating in activities with others, engaging in conversations and sharing in play with roles are key concepts in sociocultural theories of play and learning. Barbara Rogoff (2003, p. 287) refers to such mutual learning and meaning-making as a part of the process of ‘guided participation’ through which children learn as they participate with others.

Here the research by Rogoff (2003) is being used to back up what the author wants to say. It is an informed argument because an opinion (first sentence) is supported by published research which agrees with the point being made (second sentence).

Activity 3

Timing: Allow 1 hour to complete this activity

By the time you have completed this activity, you should be able to:

  • recognise the difference between facts, opinions and arguments
  • describe how they are used in paragraphs to answer a question.

From the paragraph below, decide whether each sentence is a fact, opinion or argument:

There is a sense in which all music-making and participation involves aspects of exploration, experimentation, trial and error and, as Mia suggests, play. For example, think of a composer working on a new manuscript or musicians working together to create an original composition. From what Mia tells us, Elodie seems to be enjoying the textual, rhythmic and melodic features of the songs she is getting to know. Small (1998) referred to such spontaneous musical-making as ‘musicking’ (from the verb to music). Before she slips into sleep, Elodie plays with the melodies, rhythms and the words known to her in her own creative way. Many of the early pioneers of early childhood education (including Froebel and Montessori) recognise the value of music and musical activities for young children.

(Rowe, 2012)

Write your answer in the table below.

Sentences from paragraphFact, opinion, argument?
There is a sense in which all music-making and participation involves aspects of exploration, experimentation, trial and error and, as Mia suggests, play.
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For example, think of a composer working on a new manuscript or musicians working together to create an original composition.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
From what Mia tells us, Elodie seems to be enjoying the textual, rhythmic and melodic features of the songs she is getting to know.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Small (1998) referred to such spontaneous musical-making as ‘musicking’ (from the verb to music).
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Before she slips into sleep, Elodie plays with the melodies, rhythms and the words known to her in her own creative way.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Many of the early pioneers of early childhood education (including Froebel and Montessori) recognise the value of music and musical activities for young children (Rowe, 2012).
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Answer

Sentences from paragraphFact, opinion, argument?
There is a sense in which all music-making and participation involves aspects of exploration, experimentation, trial and error and, as Mia suggests, play.Opinion
For example, think of a composer working on a new manuscript or musicians working together to create an original composition.Argument
From what Mia tells us, Elodie seems to be enjoying the textual, rhythmic and melodic features of the songs she is getting to know.Opinion
Small (1998) referred to such spontaneous musical-making as ‘musicking’ (from the verb to music). Argument
Before she slips into sleep, Elodie plays with the melodies, rhythms and the words known to her in her own creative way.Opinion
Many of the early pioneers of early childhood education (including Froebel and Montessori) recognise the value of music and musical activities for young children (Rowe, 2012).Fact

Comment

As you can see there is a balance between opinions, arguments and facts in the paragraph. There are many ideas about play and creativity, and you may well have come across very different opinions and perspectives as a result of your own study of the subject. One of the best ways to identify what your values and beliefs are about children’s play is to listen to children and take their thoughts and actions seriously. They communicate their ideas and responses in different ways, as you have learnt in this course. Listening to children, and thinking about the choices and decisions they make in their play, will help you to form your own responses to children’s motivation for play and creative experiences.

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