The Utility of Vygotskian Behavioral Criteria in the Early Childhood Classroom: Learning from Non-compliance

  •  Laura Reynolds-Keefer    


Non-compliant behavior in young children is consistently an area of concern for the teachers and caregivers of
young children. These behaviors can disrupt learning, teaching and positive social interactions, increase referrals
for special services, discourage the teacher, and reduce positive interactions with family. Behaviors such as
defiance and non-compliance also present early childhood educators with difficult situations in their classrooms,
are often considered indicators of hyperactivity, attachment or relationship disturbances, and a predictors of later
academic and socio-emotional problems. Despite being a common concern on the part of both families and
caregivers, relatively few tools exist that give early childhood educators ways in which to analyze these difficult
behaviors. This study explores the strengths, limitations and utility of the behavioral categories created by
Vygotsky in the documentation and analysis of non-compliance in young children in the modern early childhood

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