11, 12 Dig and Delve: RSD for Early Childhood

What nursery rhyme has a line that nicely foreshadows research? It is ‘One two buckle my shoe’; when the poem gets up to 11, 12 it says ‘dig and delve’.

To dig and delve is to probe deeply, and not to stop until there is a satisfactory resolve. It struck me that the lines of this nursery rhyme, with a few modifications, have some parallels with the 6 facets of the RSD (see these at http://www.rsd.edu.au):

‘1, 2 what do I do?’  This connects to students embark and clarify (facet a), where questions, aims or ideas- from the educator or from the children- launch the enterprise, and the process requires much subsequent clarification of purpose.

‘3, 4 open the door’. Finding information or generating data (facet b) only occurs when students or educators decide which door- to the playground, the garden, to the neighbour or to the internet.

‘5, 6 pick up sticks’. Students must discriminate between the information they want- such as sticks, and other superfluous data- such as stones, snails or weeds. This parallels evaluate and reflect (facet c).

‘7, 8 lay them straight’. Students organise information and data and manage their time and teams (facet d).

‘9, 10 see the trend’. Students analyse well organised information/data and synthesise new understanding. (facet e).

’11, 12 dig and delve’. Students keep probing by going through cycles of these processes until they have something worth communicating and applying’ (facet f).

The RSD was always devised with primary to PhD in mind, as that mirrored Kerry O’Regan and my educational experiences. Now by creating a version of the RSD for early childhood educators that is song and picture based, there is an opportunity to explicitly develop this cognitive skill set across formal education, beginning with early childhood and continuing to PhD.

Do you think the 6 facets of the RSD can be developed with 3 to 6 year olds? If so, what could be the advantages and the barriers?

John W

Author: johnwillison

Senior Leturer, Discipline of Higher Education, School of Education, University of Adelaide.

2 thoughts on “11, 12 Dig and Delve: RSD for Early Childhood”

  1. Great adaptions and reflections of the poem. I could see many advantages, to exploit the children’s cursorily of the age to engage them in undertaking their own research. The main barrier I can foresee is the language of research. We have noted that university students have a different research lexicon to us as lecturers, and as such there will likely be a vastly different lexicon in this age group. Once having an understanding of that language, and creating it as a common language between child and teacher and parent, then there is a lot of research for the children to do, in an increasingly autonomous way.

  2. Hi Glen

    Changing language can be a killer when the purposes are the same, but the students can’t see that. If the educative connection between 11,12 Dig and Delve, and the RSD were made explicit at a time when students were ready for a change in language, the segue could be increadibly helpful.

    I used to do some science with my daughter’s care group of 3 year olds. The students would have ‘feely boxes’, where they could place hands inside a box, but not see in. The students worked out what to do (1, 2 what do I do?): one child described to others what they felt when they put their hands in (3, 4 open the door). The other students had to listen and consider which information was more helpful (5,6 pick up sticks), and organise information mentally or in drawings (7,8 lay them straight) so that they could come think about it later. Considering important features they inferred a number of possibilities about what the object was, before deciding their ‘hypothesis’ or best inference (9,10 see the trend). They would communicate this to the teacher who may prompt them to observe and infer more, or to communicate their idea to others (11,12 dig and delve). Then they would be able to do the same process with a trickier object! If this skill set is being developed explicitly with 3 year olds, and continues to be developed through formal education what may our education systems achieve?

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