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Fragment 3. Beto´s Reinvolvement in the Activity
Adults’ Orientation and Children’s Initiative
Image 3 Beto grabs a similar tool and joins the activity directly.
31. Father ! Beto: Are you working hard and
quickly? That shows spirit.
32. Father ! Beto: That’s enough
((Beto steps on the fresh
34. Father ! Beto: Baby, heeey, you stepped
on it, get off
35. Father ! Beto: Your foot is full of mud (2.83) Not that way
36. Father ! Beto: They fix it and you ruin it.
((Beto disengages from the activity briefly))
(7 Turns are omitted)
45. Beto ! Father: Ready, daddy, ready
46. Father ! Beto: We’re leaving now (.) Your mom is looking for you.
((The father kept justifying why Beto could not join in the activity until he
finished his work, then he justified leaving quickly, before Beto could
reengage in the activity)).
In response to his father’s rejection in fragment 2, fragment 3 shows Beto
grabbing a tool and getting directly involved in the activity. This suggests
that his father’s rejection is really just a provocation to increase his motivation. In fact, this reinforces the boy’s direct involvement and we see that the
father, far from being upset, smiles at the child’s action (Turn 26). However,
given the boy’s age and the activity’s level of specialization, it is clear that the
boy is not competent in the activity, which is why the father intervenes (in
Turn 29) to correct Beto’s actions. The father (in Turn 32) tells him that he
“has done enough” and implicitly ends his participation in the activity,
although Beto continues working with enthusiasm. Finally, (in Turn 33)
Beto does something serious, stepping on the fresh cement and ruining finished work, which brings about the definitive end of his participation in the
activity (Turn 34). We observe that the father gives Beto explanations and
evaluations (Turns 35 and 36) “your foot is all covered in mud,” “that’s
wrong,” and “they fix it and you ruin it” so that the boy realizes what he
has done. This last aspect shows how the father contributes to what de
Leo´n (2011) calls the socialization of attention. It also shows the care that
needs to be taken in this activity with a child’s limitations, which relates
to facet 5 of the LOPI model, which stresses guidance enabling the learner
to observe and pitch in that contributes to the construction of shared activity
in future endeavors.
Finally, (in Turn 45) Beto once again asks to join in the activity, and the
father (in Turn 36) justifies his rejection inventing that they are leaving
because “your mom is looking for you.” Thus, the father tries to shift the
boy’s attention to avoid his participation in the activity. This is a very valuable example, since it shows how adults use a series of explanations or justifications to keep children from participating in activities where they are not
competent enough to pitch in. We see that parents generally do not make an
explicit rejection, since Tsotsil parenting ideology consists of not discouraging children’s participation, but rather reinforcing their motivation and
directing it toward the development of a sense of responsibility, reliability,
and awareness of others.
4. CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOPI MODEL
The interactive nature of the relationship between little children and
adults shows a ritualized game of requesting and rejecting. This appears to be
related to de Leo´n’s observation (2005) about the provocation of fear among
the Tsotsil people of Zinacanta´n as a way to strengthen their ch’ulel (soul or
essence) and strengthen the character of Tsotsil infants. The adults’ apparent
dismissal of a child’s initiatives in these three examples serves as a kind of
provocation that strengthens the children’s motivation to pitch in to the
Adults’ Orientation and Children’s Initiative
activity as responsible and competent members. This relates to Ochs and
Izquierdo’s conception that “socialization practices that promote children’s
attention to the activity of others is a first step toward social awareness; social
responsiveness and self-reliance in practical matters that affirm the worth of
others and give dignity to the child’s own place within the family and
It is important to emphasize that even though each activity analyzed
here would seem to be divided into several parts, ultimately it is a single
interaction serving as a project aimed at transforming the child’s participation in family and community activities. This is consistent with the LOPI
model (Rogoff, 2014): LOPI may be divided into seven facets, but they all
make up a whole and contribute to the same family and community
One of the main contributions of this chapter to the LOPI model is to
show the interactional nature of little children’s dealings with adults and the
wealth of communicative resources used between them in the interaction
process when an activity is being carried out. Verbal language as well as
pointing gestures serve to involve the participants’ vision and attention
interactively (Goodwin 2000; 2010), focusing on the creation and recreation of interaction frameworks and shared objects of attention. These are
already considered in the LOPI model, but the data in this chapter underscore the nature of juxtaposed communicative resources used in the child’s
initiative-taking and insistence, as well as the activity’s social organization
consisting of the guidance and accompaniment provided by adults in their
interactions with small children.
Previous work by Alcala´ et al. (2014) has pointed out that mothers with
an Indigenous American heritage report that children pitch in to household
activities on their own initiative. Similarly Coppens et al. (2014) report children’s own expectations of taking initiative in their contribution to household and community tasks, which are based on a sense of mutual
responsibility. However, it has not been shown how small children’s initiative actually unfolds and how their insistence draws adults in to break down
the activity’s execution into interactional sequences. This study shows that
the initiative of very young children is sometimes requested verbally as in
Activity 1, sometimes by direct incorporation (Activity 2), or on occasion
by a combination of both (verbal request and direct incorporation) as shown
in Activity 3.
The cases presented in this chapter not only show small children’s initiative and how they express it, but also presents the diversity of communicative resources they use to insist and become involved in the activity, as well
as to prompt adults to guide and accompany them in carrying out the activity. The chapter points out how the activity works like a magnet for children, who cannot resist and insist on pitching in. For this, children make
use of different verbal and nonverbal resources. They even get emotionally
involved, venting their tension and frustration when they are not allowed to
pitch in to the activities, until they convince adults to let them participate.
Thus, these results expand and enrich the ideas set forth in the LOPI model
(Rogoff, 2014) and previous research on children’s initiative in helping at
home. The data presented in this chapter on the processes of very young
Tsotsil children’s initiative and the support of adults may help us understand
the early basis of the sophisticated ways older Indigenous American children
contribute to household and community activities later in life.
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Respect and Autonomy in
Children's Observation and
Participation in Adults’ Activities
Fernando A. García1
Program for the Formation of Bilingual Teachers in the Peruvian Amazonia (FORMABIAP) and the Ministry
of Education of Peru, Lima, Peru
Corresponding author: e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning to “Be Like People” in the Quechua Region
Quechua Notions of Respect and Autonomy
Children's Participation by Observing Activities
Learning in the Framework of Caretaking and Upbringing as Experienced by
6. The Development of Capacities for Autonomy
This chapter examines Peruvian Quechua children's learning by observing and pitching
in. The children concentrate attentively when they observe the activities of the adults
and they exercise autonomy in the context of adults’ encouragement of measured
behaviors while always showing respectful silence in the presence of their elders.
This chapter examines the development of autonomy and respect
among children in a Peruvian Indigenous community where children carefully observe adults’ activities while collaborating with them in different
ways, depending on their age. The line of argument is that these children,
in spite of the adults’ constant indications to them to keep quiet and behave
modestly in the presence of adults, display levels of autonomy that allow
them to undertake actions and learn in ways that benefit themselves and their
families. These ways of learning through observation and the development
Advances in Child Development and Behavior, Volume 49
2015 Elsevier Inc.
All rights reserved.
Fernando A. García
of autonomy are grounded on the one hand in the Aucara´ community’s family education traditions, and on the other, in the challenges that each member of the community faces in preparing for participation in local life and in
other contexts outside the community.
Learning through observation and the encouragement of initiative,
within a framework of participation and with an emphasis on involving children in family and community activities, are key features of the learning
model proposed under the name Learning by Observing and Pitching In
(LOPI; Rogoff, 2014). This chapter offers a point of view that demonstrates
the holistic integration of these features of LOPI in a certain way of learning.
In this chapter, I analyze children’s learning through observation and
participation in the activities of a Peruvian Quechua community that offers
children frequent opportunities to be present in most of the activities that
their family and community undertake. By participating in their family’s significant activities, they act with interest and motivation to contribute to the
successful completion of these activities. Motivation linked to significant
family activities leads to meaningful learning gained by dealing with the
challenges that these activities entail. In this varied sociocultural framework,
it is remarkable that local education emerges with an orientation toward forming respectful people who learn and develop by observing in silence, with
certain restrictions imposed by adults that nevertheless do not frustrate or
inhibit their capacities for taking initiative.
In the first part of this chapter, I present the ancient context of the
Quechua locality that I come from and where I made my observations of
how adults help children develop as persons following the ideal of “being
The second part of the chapter analyzes the notions of respect and autonomy as they are understood in the Quechua language and used in the discursive practices of the people living in the community of Aucara´. In the
community’s social practices and discourse, the two notions show a certain
complementarity, rather than contradiction, within the framework of the
formation of an ideal, fully developed person according to local visions.
The third part of the chapter looks at children’s observation of, and participation in, their parents’ day-to-day work. In this participation, children
clearly receive care and protection from the adults in the form of emotional
and physical proximity with family members and acquaintances. It is also
evident that children play a role in family and community activities and conduct themselves in a way that shows respect for the interactions among
adults, by keeping quiet and remaining calm. This sociocultural framework
Respect and Autonomy in Observation
is the space where the children’s autonomy develops through their participation in the family and community’s meaningful activities.
The next section presents the community’s conceptions about learning
through the care and upbringing that parents offer their children so they
develop as fully as possible, in accordance with their notions of human formation. This section focuses on the fact that the data presented on childcare,
based on observations of everyday life, are highly consistent with the conceptions and ideas that parents express about children’s overall development
in the perspective of “becoming people.”
The last part looks at the way children develop the capacity for autonomy
in the opportunities for participation and learning that parents procure for
them in day-to-day life. The argument is that the care and appreciation that
adults offer serve to ensure the children’s comprehensive development and
enable them to acquire capabilities for autonomy in carrying out their initiatives, within a scaffolding of social rules that adults enforce so that children
will be respectful toward their elders.
2. LEARNING TO “BE LIKE PEOPLE” IN THE QUECHUA
The locality of Aucara´,1 where the data presented here were gathered,
is a Quechua-speaking community in the southern Andes of Peru, a settlement with ancient pre-Inca historical roots (Garcı´a, 2007). As its ancestors
did, this community of roughly one thousand inhabitants earns its living primarily through agriculture for self-consumption, corn, and potatoes being
the most important crops. Local life requires active members who take initiative to help work in the fields and raise small farm animals as the main
source of their subsistence. For most of the families, monetary income is also
important as they interact more and more with the market and cities.
In Aucara´, for as long as people can remember, education within the
family follows the traditions of the Andean peoples. One distinctive feature
of this community, in addition to its system for forming persons on the basis
of respect, is the conception expressed by parents, grandparents, and older
siblings about how to form the new generations. They speak of
The locality of Aucara´, which belongs to the Farming Community of Aucara´, is located in the district of
Aucara´, in the province of Lucanas, in the Ayacucho region, and in the southern sector of the Peruvian
Andes. This community occupies a collectively owned territory, which includes a Communal Directorate, elected in a communal assembly, and a local municipal government, chosen in elections regulated by the national electoral institution.
Fernando A. García
comprehensive processes based on upbringing, care and the correct accommodation of children’s capacities so that they can be like people (runa hina
kay),2 are prepared to “make their way through life,” devote themselves to
the well-being of their family, which naturally includes them as well, and
contribute to the prosperity of their community.
In this conception, the capacities for autonomy that people develop in
these contexts center on their personal competencies, and yet they also
involve taking part with a certain degree of autonomy in their family’s
meaningful activities and contributing in this way, through their personal
achievements, to both their family’s and their own well-being. In other
words, personal autonomy develops for the purpose of dealing with social
challenges; it is not an autonomy detached from the individual’s life and that
of his or her family, as will be argued below.
Within this sociocultural framework, children develop by participating
in the community’s everyday activities, carefully observing adults and older
children as they go about their tasks, at times with great concentration, other
times more casually, but always with an interest in contributing. At the same
time, they maintain the attitude of respect instilled by their elders, consisting
of remaining quiet and not interrupting interactions among their elders,
within a scaffolding of mutual respect between adults and children. Their
participation in activities that focus on the family’s subsistence is based in part
on self-interest, which means that they find motivation in what they do.
Nevertheless, some tasks involve personal efforts that children do not
entirely enjoy, but have to be done because they contribute to the children’s
well-being and that of their family.
Children’s participation in their community’s activities and the quality of
the learning they achieve in this process have been amply documented in
studies of Indigenous communities throughout the Americas (Gaskins &
Paradise, 2010; Paradise & Rogoff, 2009; Rogoff, 1993, 2003; Rogoff
et al., 2007). These studies highlight, aside from the children’s initiative
in achieving their learning and their involvement in activities that are meaningful for the family, the role that parents play and the value of communal
traditions as particular sociocultural realities where child development
Runa hina kay literally means “being like people” in the Quechua of Aucara´. A justification of this concept can be found in Garcı´a (2007). Grim-Feinberg (2013, p. 104) mentions that one way to translate
runa hina kay into Spanish is “po´rtate como gente,” which she translates into English as “behave like a
human being!”, a recommendation often heard by the researcher when parents correct their children
for breaking the norms of the Aucara´ community. Runa means “people.”
Respect and Autonomy in Observation
occurs. This chapter contributes to this line of research by looking at LOPI as
it occurs in the Quechua community of Aucara´.
A case similar to the traditions of child development and education found
in Aucara´ has been documented by Bolin (2006) in a Quechua population in
the high Andes of Peru. She has identified in this population the value of
family educational conceptions for raising well-adjusted children who are
fully satisfied with being useful to their family and their community, in a
region where extreme environmental conditions and the marginalization
of its inhabitants make for harsh living conditions. The author argues that
in the community of Chillihuani, parents, older siblings, and grandparents
manage to raise persons with a strong sense of respect for all forms of life,
and that this generalized respect and the satisfaction of enjoying all that
has been bestowed on them is a guarantee for carrying on their lives within
the ancient traditions handed down by their ancestors.
A study conducted in Aucara´ also recognizes respect as a fundamental
orientation of this community in the care and upbringing of children.
Grim-Feinberg (2013) highlights the expression in Spanish that she heard
regularly, “Po´rtate como gente” (behave like people) as an expression close
to the Quechua recommendation runa hina kay (be like people) reported in
my own research (Garcı´a, 2007). Furthermore, Grim-Feinberg comments
that the meaning the community members express regarding respect is
related to the idea of “minding” in the sense of “paying attention” or
“listening,” implying a relationship between people who communicate with
one another and in this exchange pay full attention to their communication.
In this way, the author maintains that children in Aucara´ are motivated to act
respectfully in their families through affective bonds and a desire for
3. QUECHUA NOTIONS OF RESPECT AND AUTONOMY
Although the notion of “respect” has a range of manifestations and
meanings in different Indigenous communities, it has been shown to be
an important notion when it comes to raising children. For example, in
some Indigenous communities, respect has been identified with children’s
autonomy (Rogoff, 2003). In communities of the Amazon jungle in Peru,
children’s learning seems to involve respect for elders and their knowledge
(Aikman, 2003). In Mazahua families in Mexico, Paradise (1987) recognizes
respect for children in the care, seriousness, and appreciation shown toward
babies. In Indigenous communities of the Texcoco Hills in Mexico, Lorente
Fernando A. García
Ferna´ndez (2006) reports that children are respectful when they answer their
parents correctly, eat the food that their parents have prepared for them, and
help around the house. Taggart (2003) has reported that the Nahuas of
northern Puebla, Mexico, instill respect by forming children “as human
beings” who show mercy, respond with consideration, and are obedient.
In the Quechua language, the equivalent of “respect” is yupaychay [to
consider] according to Cerro´n-Palomino (1994) and Soto (1976). Moreover, uyakay,3 understood as “listening,” is closely related to the notion of
“minding” in the sense of listening and paying attention (Grim-Feinberg,
2013). Thus, uyakay and “minding” are part of the respectful behavior
demanded of children in the community of Aucara´. Quechua discourse
in this locality also makes use of the term rispitay [from the Spanish
“respetar,” meaning “to respect”].
In the community of Aucara´, respect implies observing different behaviors
and attitudes that constitute the type of family education used locally. When
it comes to children, respect means behaving modestly and quietly, especially in the presence of adults, and for adults, it means speaking softly in
the presence of strangers or people with some kind of important status in
the locality. Children are constantly taught to greet their elders, often using
kinship terms like “uncle,” “mom,” or “dad,” as a way to show closeness or
affection for people who are not blood relatives. Along these same lines, for
both adults and children respect involves speaking cordially and politely to
other people and displaying humility before them.
Other facets of respect in this community have to do with the “minding”
that children are expected to show to their parents and other adults by paying
attention and listening to them. Likewise, adults can “mind” children in the
sense of listening to them and putting themselves in their shoes, as reported by
Grim-Feinberg (2013). Adults and children are expected to feel embarrassed
when they fail to follow the norms of respect in the presence of others, or
when they fail to display the qualities of “being like people,” runa hina kay.
These notions of respect in the community might seem to clash with
the meanings of “autonomy” that are conventionally understood as
independence. Particularly, “obedience” as a manifestation of respect that
is demanded of children would seem to contradict the development of levels
of personal autonomy in family education as practiced in this community.
Uyakuy is related to uya [face] and to [listen]. So when uyakuy is translated as “obeying,” the intention is
to imply primarily listening, not submitting to the other. This word also contains the suffix -ku implying benefit for the verb’s subject.