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Action with friction: a transactional approach to toddlers’ physical meaning making of natural phenomena and processes in preschool
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. Humanities and Informatics, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden. (SMED)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3606-9379
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (SMED)
2012 (English)In: European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, ISSN 1350-293X, E-ISSN 1752-1807, Vol. 20, no 3, p. 439-454Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research into preschool education has paid a lot of attention to investigating children’s conceptual development and cognitive learning aboutnature, with methods based on observations and verbal interviews before and after a teaching period. The purpose of this study has been to present and illustrate an approach that facilitates the analysis of practical meaning making in Early Childhood Education. The study is largely based on John Dewey’s pragmatism and has a particular focus on his use of transaction, functional coordination, inquiry, educative experience and nature. In this context meaning making is understood as the growing, learning process that contributes to further actions in extended ways. A transactional approach to physical experiences, with a focus on analyses of toddlers’ bodily actions in nature encounters, is illustrated by a video recording of a toddler’s encounter with icy and clay surfaces. This encounter was analysed using Practical Epistemological Analysis. Toddlers’ inquiry processes were studied with a specific focus on functional coordination, i.e. relations between different actions and their consequences when meeting the environment. The methodological approach contributes to further research by focusing on practical and physical learning processes. It can also be seen as a contribution to Early Childhood Science Education by showing the relation between previous experiences of natural phenomena and meaning making for further actions in extended ways.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis, 2012. Vol. 20, no 3, p. 439-454
Keywords [en]
Practical epistemology analysis (PEA), science education, bodily actions, nature, pragmatism, transaction
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-26948DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2012.704765ISI: 000309120200009Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84866668211OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-26948DiVA, id: diva2:590385
Available from: 2013-01-21 Created: 2013-01-21 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Naturorienterad utbildning i förskolan: pragmatiska undersökningar av meningsskapandets individuella, sociala och kulturella dimensioner
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Naturorienterad utbildning i förskolan: pragmatiska undersökningar av meningsskapandets individuella, sociala och kulturella dimensioner
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

The overall purpose of this thesis is to investigate, illuminate and clarify meaning making processes and content when children between the ages of 1-3 encounter nature in a preschool practice. Further, the aim is to develop and illustrate action-centred methodological approaches that facilitate investigations of individual, social and cultural dimensions of preschool children’s meaning making of nature. The results are presented in four substudies that all take their starting points in John Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy, with a specific focus on Dewey’s concept of transactions, his theory of action and educative experience as meaning making. In the first substudy, a Practical Epistemology Analysis (PEA) is developed and used to investigate physical meaning making by studying actions and the consequences of these actions. In the second sub-study, a Custom Analysis is developed to facilitate investigations of how the preschool culture contributes to children’s meaning making of nature. An Epistemological Move Analysis (EMA) is used in the third sub-study for investigations relating to teachers’ guiding processes. Here, a Substantive Learning Quality Analysis (SLQA) is also developed and used for investigations of multi-dimensional learning qualities in children’s learning about nature. In the fourth substudy, the analysis methods above are refined to form a tool that can be used by teachers in their reflective work with pedagogical documentation in preschool practice. The results illuminate a multifaceted perspective of meaning making about nature. In this context, meaning making includes cognitive, physical, moral and aesthetical qualities, and nature content includes caring for nature, health and well being in nature and knowledge about natural phenomena and processes. The results contribute to a critical discussion about preschool science education that concerns how preschool practices can highlight nature learning and the multifaceted aspects that are of importance for making meaning of the environment and of life. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2013. p. 121
Series
Örebro Studies in Education, ISSN 1404-9570 ; 37
Series
Örebro Studies in Educational Sciences with an Emphasis on Didactics ; 5
Keywords
Preschool, early childhood education, science education, nature, teaching, meaning making, John Dewey, pragmatism, transaction
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-26425 (URN)978-91-7668-910-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-01-18, Örebro universitet, Prismahuset, Hörsal P2, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-11-12 Created: 2012-11-12 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Klaar, SusanneÖhman, Johan

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