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The construct of social competence: how preschool teachers define social competence in young children
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2547-1100
2009 (English)In: International Journal of Early Childhood, ISSN 0020-7187, E-ISSN 1878-4658, Vol. 41, no 1, p. 51-68Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Preschool teachers share their environment with young children on a daily basis and interventions promoting social competence are generally carried out in the preschool setting. The aim was to find out if and how preschool teachers’ definitions of social competence are related to factors in the preschool environment like: a) the number of children having problems related to social competence; b) the support provided to the children; and c) the preschool environment and current research definitions.Method: 481 preschools from 22 municipalities in Sweden participated. Data was analyzed using a mixed methods design in which a qualitative content analysis was followed by group comparisons using quantitative methods.Results: Preschool teachers defined social competence mainly as intrapersonal skills, or as interpersonal relations. The definitions of social competence were not related to the numbers of children having problems related to social skills or social competence in units, the amount of the support provided to the children or the preschool environment.Conclusion: Preschool teachers’ definitions of social competence are partly multidimensional, which implies that the interventions aimed at promoting children’s social skills and social competence also should be multidimensional. Preschool teachers’ definitions of social competence have little relevance to environmental factors, which indicate that social competence, as a construct is more dependent upon perceptions of the individual than on contextual factors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 41, no 1, p. 51-68
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-15395DOI: 10.1007/BF03168485OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-15395DiVA, id: diva2:413145
Available from: 2011-04-27 Created: 2011-04-27 Last updated: 2019-06-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The applicability of a functional approach to social competence in preschool children in need of special support
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The applicability of a functional approach to social competence in preschool children in need of special support
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of the thesis, with four empirical studies, was to test the applicability of a functional approach in investigating social competence of children in need of special support within the preschool context. The main theoretical framework was systems theory. Study I and II investigated preschool teachers’ definitions of children in need of special support and social competence respectively. Study III was a prevalence study investigating the number of children in need of special support based on traditional disability categories and functional difficulties. In study IV the social competence of children perceived to be in need of special support based on traditional categories and functional difficulties was compared using an observational method. The results in study I showed that teachers adopt either a child perspective or an organizational perspective in defining children in need of special support. The child perspective was related to a greater number of children in need of special support in the preschools, indicating that in preschools with several children in need of special support, teachers are more prone on seeing the needs of individual children, as opposed to the needs of the organisation. Study II found that teachers define social competence in young children in terms of intrapersonal skills, or as interpersonal relations. Study III found that the majority of children in need of special support are undiagnosed children with functional difficulties related to speech- and language and peer interaction. Study IV found similar profiles of social competence between diagnosed children and undiagnosed children perceived to be in need of special support. Overall, the results yielded support for adopting a functional approach in studying the social competence of children in need of special support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2010. p. 92
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 18
Keywords
Children in need of special support, disability, functional approach, preschool, systems theory
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-9014 (URN)978-91-7668-710-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-01-29, Omega, Mälardalens högskola, Högskoleplan 1, Västerås, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Pedagogisk verksamhet för små barn i behov av särskilt stöd i förskolan- generellt och specifikt, PEGS
Available from: 2010-01-05 Created: 2010-01-05 Last updated: 2019-06-14Bibliographically approved

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Lillvist, Anne

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