Parents and toddlers: Teaching and learning at home
Parents and toddlers: Teaching and learning at home

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Parents and toddlers: Teaching and learning at home

3.3.2 Collaborative structuring (sometimes called ‘structuring situations and transferring responsibility’)

Rogoff et al. argue that parents and other caregivers are active in structuring children's environment according to their perceived goals for development. There are several levels of structure. At a macro level is the overall timetable of the child's day (the balance of time for play, tasks, feeding, washing, resting, etc.), the opportunities for participation in specific cultural activities and the extent to which these activities are separated/integrated. At a micro level is the way specific tasks and activities are adapted to the perceived capacities of the child, broken down into manageable elements through interactions that enable the child to achieve a goal or complete a task. As children become more competent so responsibility may be transferred from teacher to learner. The distinctive feature of Rogoff's framework is acknowledgement that adult and child roles are variable according to contexts and goals as well as children's status and role. In some contexts they may be ascribed by tradition or by the status differential between teacher and taught. In other contexts, especially in ‘child-centred’ informal settings, they may be subject to continuous renegotiation.

Activity 2: Analysing cooking with Dad

Try applying the concepts of guided participation to the video sequence of Joe cooking with his father Philip (Video 3). Look for both verbal and non-verbal examples of the following:

Building bridges

Philip says: ‘Do you remember, we have to cream it …’

Joe says ‘You need a driver [mixer].’

Structuring at a macro level

Look at the way Philip organises the ingredients and utensils, brings elements of the task in and out of Joe's immediate view, sequences the task into a series of stages, and introduces each in turn.

Structuring at a micro level

Look at the way Philip ‘reduces the degrees of freedom’ so that Joe can participate at each stage, by asking him to do a specific action and even by taking hold of his hand.

Wood's levels of control could also be applied here. But how far is Joe learning through observing his father and how far through being instructed in each element of the cake-making process?

Transferring responsibility

When Philip invites Joe to do something, and where he does not: ‘There, you have a go.’

Where Joe makes a bid to be given responsibility, or asks for more help: ‘l can't how to do it.’


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371