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The BNS: A notation system for developing better ideas about children's strategies

Jane Tingle Broderick, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Constructivist educators are concerned with methods that will help teachers understand young children's thinking in order to facilitate their learning along a developmental continuum in the acquisition of knowledge. This study focuses on the development and testing of the Broderick Notation System. The BNS is a format and system for teachers to map observable interactions of children's play over time in relation to teachers developing inferences about what children know and hypothesize about friendship, leadership, roles, and rules. The intention of this concept mapping system is to help teachers gain a deeper understanding of what children are thinking so they can more accurately assess appropriate entry points for facilitating learning with children. ^ Four preschool teachers were trained to use the BNS in six 2-hour trainings while viewing 2 short (under 10 minutes) videotapes of children at play. They were asked to use the BNS to identify the conceptual thinking underlying children's spontaneous play in the areas of friendship, leadership, roles, and rules. ^ Following the 6-week period each subject was tested individually. The test consisted of viewing two unseen videotapes (under 10 minutes each) that are similar but different from the original training videos. Subject's were allowed to take as long as they liked to complete the process of observing and coding with the BNS, and the video footage as seen on a computer that they could easily pause, forward, and reverse the footage in order to complete the notation to their satisfaction. Following the test each teacher was interviewed to obtain his/her record of the beginning and ending of each coded concept on the computer's time display. Teachers were interviewed to obtain more detailed information about the conceptual meaning they attached to each coded symbol and the behavior each coded symbol relates to. ^ The testing of interrater reliability among teacher subjects is a first step in a research program to be carried out over the next three to four years, in which the BNS will be tested for validity and use among trained educators.* ^ *This dissertation is a compound document (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation).^

Subject Area

Early childhood education|Teacher education|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Broderick, Jane Tingle, "The BNS: A notation system for developing better ideas about children's strategies" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3118283.