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Due, K., Skoog, M., Areljung, S., Ottander, C. & Sundberg, B. (2023). Teachers' conceptualisations of science teaching - obstacles and opportunities for pedagogical continuity across early childhood school forms. International Journal of Early Years Education, 31(3), 790-805
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers' conceptualisations of science teaching - obstacles and opportunities for pedagogical continuity across early childhood school forms
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2023 (English)In: International Journal of Early Years Education, ISSN 0966-9760, E-ISSN 1469-8463, Vol. 31, no 3, p. 790-805Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study aims to contribute knowledge about obstacles and opportunities for pedagogical continuity in science across early childhood education. We use activity theory to analyse individual interviews and group meetings with teachers from preschool (age 1-5), preschool class (age 6) and grade 1-3 (age 7-9) in three Swedish school units. The teachers' descriptions of their science teaching indicate both obstacles and opportunities for pedagogical continuity. For example, all teachers want to establish an interest in, and foster a caring attitude to nature, a similarity that facilitates continuity. However, some crucial differences indicate obstacles. There is a shift concerning ownership; from following children's initiatives in preschool in bodily and play based experiences towards an emphasis on pre-planned content, verbal knowledge and written documentation in grade 1-3. Our findings also suggest that teachers lack knowledge about each other's teaching and curricula. Hence, the conditions for pedagogical continuity largely rest upon what children share in the science class. We argue that there is need for an in-depth exchange of experiences, regarding content, teaching methods and frame factors, between teachers from different school forms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
Early childhood education, science teaching, pedagogical continuity, activity theory, teachers' talk
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30399 (URN)10.1080/09669760.2022.2107492 (DOI)000836563200001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-03868
Available from: 2022-08-24 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-09-14Bibliographically approved
Otterborn, A., Sundberg, B. & Schönborn, K. (2023). The Impact of Digital and Analog Approaches on a Multidimensional Preschool Science Education. Research in science education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Impact of Digital and Analog Approaches on a Multidimensional Preschool Science Education
2023 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Swedish preschool science practice is confined to a unique educational setting where upbringing, care, and education are intertwined. This allows teachers to develop innovative cross-curricular and multidimensional science teaching. At the same time, society demands the digitalization of preschool practice, which has caused concern not only about negative effects on children’s well-being but also the risk of foregrounding digital over analog tools in multidimensional and child-centered preschool practice. The aim of this study is to analyze how preschool teachers at the forefront of digitalization integrate digital and analog tools when teaching science and how this integration affects their practice. The data comprises documentation of digitalized science activities provided by ten preschool teachers and transcribed recall interviews with four of the teachers. Thematic content analysis and a framework for analyzing seven teaching dimensions of preschool science revealed the use of digital and analog tools as drivers for multidimensional science education. The findings show that the teachers primarily use digital tools to reinforce social learning, inclusion, and agency during science activities. Digital and analog tools were used to complement one another in pursuing the boundaries of multidimensional science. However, the content of this innovative and digitalized science teaching remained primarily within biology, the traditional scholarly discipline in preschool science. We conclude that the digitalization of preschool science seems to be used to strengthen and diversify teaching within the boundaries of overarching traditional preschool practice where nature encounters and children’s interests and well-being are at the forefront.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2023
Keywords
Preschool science education, Multidimensional science, Digital and analog approaches, Digital technologies
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30697 (URN)10.1007/s11165-023-10133-6 (DOI)001079906000001 ()2-s2.0-85173102775 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Örebro University
Available from: 2023-10-31 Created: 2023-10-31 Last updated: 2024-02-01Bibliographically approved
Sundberg, B. & Andersson, M. (2023). The Role of Wonder in Students’ Conception of and Learning About Evolution. Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal (C·E·P·S Journal), 13(1), 35-61
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Role of Wonder in Students’ Conception of and Learning About Evolution
2023 (English)In: Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal (C·E·P·S Journal), ISSN 1855-9719, E-ISSN 2232-2647, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 35-61Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Learning about evolution can be challenging for students, as a full understanding may require them to see the world in new ways, to master a disciplinary language and to understand complex processes. Drawing on a long line of theoretically grounded arguments of philosophers and researchers for including wonder in science teaching, we report on the results of an empirical study with the primary aim of investigating the role of wonder in students’ learning about evolution. The study was carried out through a formative intervention in which two researchers in science education collaborated with a seventh-grade teacher. Over a period of six weeks, 45 students participated in lessons and workshops aimed at eliciting a sense of wonder in relation to concepts that are known to impact the learning of evolution. We incorporated four ‘triggers’ to elicit students’ wonder in the science class: aesthetic experiences, defiance of expectations, agency and awareness of a mystery within the ordinary. Logbook entries and interviews with student pairs provided empirical material for a qualitative analysis of the role of wonder in the students’ meaning-making about, learning of and engagement in evolution. The results show that it is possible to design science teaching that triggers students’ wonder in relation to an intended learning object. The results also reveal that the participating students described their sense of wonder in qualitatively different ways and that they still struggled to make sense of the concept of evolution after six weeks of teaching.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Ljubljana, 2023
Keywords
evolution, formative intervention, lower secondary school, threshold concepts, wonder
National Category
Didactics Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30403 (URN)10.26529/cepsj.1489 (DOI)2-s2.0-85160403834 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Kontinuitet, progression och förundran i grundskolans naturvetenskapsundervisning
Funder
Örebro UniversitySwedish Research Council
Available from: 2023-08-25 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-09-14Bibliographically approved
Andersson, M., Sundberg, B. & Ottander, C. (2022). Förundrans roll för elevers meningsskapande om evolutionära processer. In: : . Paper presented at Forskning i naturvetenskapernas didaktik– praktiknära skolforskning (FND 2022), Sundsvall, 8–10 november, 2022.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Förundrans roll för elevers meningsskapande om evolutionära processer
2022 (Swedish)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [sv]

Filosofer såväl som forskare har länge hävdat att förundran är en nyckel till elevers intresse och engagemang i skolans NO-undervisning. Trots detta finns det i nuläget mycket få empiriska studier som beskriver lärares arbete med att ge plats för förundran i skolans NO-undervisning.

Syftet med denna studie är att undersöka hur elevers förundran kan studeras i klassrumssituationer samt om, och hur, elevers uttryck för förundran kan kopplas till deras meningsskapande om ett planerat lärandemål.

I studien har forskare och en NO-lärare (årskurs 7) samarbetat för att utforma evolutionsundervisning med plats för elevers förundran. Följande forskningsfrågor fokuseras:

  1. På vilka sätt kan lärare ge plats för förundran i samband med evolutionsundervisning?
  2. Hur påverkar undervisning, med plats för förundran, elevers möjligheter för meningsskapande om evolutionära processer och begrepp kopplade till dessa?

Empirin består av 45 individuella skriftliga elevreflektioner och transkriberade ljudinspelningar från 6 parvisa elevintervjuer. Elevernas reflektioner analyserades i två steg. Steg ett fokuserade på hur eleverna uttryckte förundran i relation till frågan Vad brukar du förundras över? Steg två på vad de förundrats över i evolutionsundervisningen. Elevintervjuerna analyserades med fokus på elevernas meningsskapande om evolutionära processer.

Resultaten visar att eleverna ger uttryck för förundran kopplat till variation, mångfald, evolutionära tidsaspekter och samspel mellan organismer och livsmiljö. Elevernas förundran skiljer sig kvalitativt inom ett spänningsfält mellan nyfikenhetsbaserad förundran och kontemplativ förundran. Samtidigt visar elevintervjuerna att eleverna fortfarande, efter sex veckor av undervisning, kämpar med att integrera vetenskapliga begrepp från evolutionsteorin med sitt eget meningsskapande om processerna.

National Category
Didactics Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30394 (URN)
Conference
Forskning i naturvetenskapernas didaktik– praktiknära skolforskning (FND 2022), Sundsvall, 8–10 november, 2022
Available from: 2023-08-31 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-08-31
Areljung, S., Skoog, M. & Sundberg, B. (2022). Teaching for Emergent Disciplinary Drawing in Science? Comparing Teachers' and Children's Ways of Representing Science Content in Early Childhood Classrooms. Research in science education, 52(3), 909-926
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teaching for Emergent Disciplinary Drawing in Science? Comparing Teachers' and Children's Ways of Representing Science Content in Early Childhood Classrooms
2022 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898, Vol. 52, no 3, p. 909-926Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This classroom-based study aims to contribute knowledge about children's opportunities to make use of drawing to make meaning in science. Employing a social semiotic approach to drawing, we examine what ways of representing science content that are (1) made available by the teacher and (2) adopted in children's drawings. We analysed observation data from 11 science lessons in early childhood classrooms (children aged 3 to 8 years), including the drawings that children made during those lessons (129 drawings in total). Our findings suggest that the semiotic resources that teachers provide have a large impact on how children represent science content in their drawings. Moreover, we interpret that teachers strive to support children's 'emergent disciplinary drawing' in science, since they predominantly provided semiotic resources where the science content was generalised and decontextualised. Finally, we propose that 'emergent disciplinary drawing' is incorporated as an element of science pedagogy in ECE practice and ECE teacher education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2022
Keywords
Social semiotic theory, Disciplinary literacy, Visual representations, Science education, Early childhood education
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30397 (URN)10.1007/s11165-021-10036-4 (DOI)000729005700001 ()2-s2.0-85122140904 (Scopus ID)
Note

Funding agency:

Umeå University

Available from: 2021-12-21 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-09-14Bibliographically approved
Andersson, M. & Sundberg, B. (2021). Language scaffolding and experience based learning as didactical tools in science for newly-arrived students - something for all students?. In: : . Paper presented at The Nordic Research Symposium on Science Education (NFSUN 2021), Aarhus, Danmark (Virtual conference), June 1-2, 2021.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Language scaffolding and experience based learning as didactical tools in science for newly-arrived students - something for all students?
2021 (Swedish)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this presentation is to contribute to the ongoing discussion of how to make secondary science education more inclusive, drawing on examples from a pilot study. The project was based on formative interventions where lower secondary science teachers and pedagogues from a local nature school together developed and tested science units based on language scaffolding and experience-based learning in introductory and regular classes. Data was collected through individual interviews of teachers and students, and questionnaires distributed after the science unit was completed. The results indicate that the collective activity where teachers and trained nature pedagogues together developed new forms of science teaching resulted in both the development of new innovative ways of inclusive teaching and a transformation of the teacher’s views of collaborative learning. The results also indicate that science teaching based on language scaffolding and experience based-learning may have a positive effect on outcomes for newly-arrived students as well as for student with the language of instruction as mother tongue. The results give implications for the possibilities for inclusive science teaching for newly-arrived students as well as contributing to the discussion about a more inclusive science education in general.

National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30393 (URN)
Conference
The Nordic Research Symposium on Science Education (NFSUN 2021), Aarhus, Danmark (Virtual conference), June 1-2, 2021
Available from: 2023-08-31 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-08-31
Sundberg, B., Ottander, C., Areljung, S., Due, K. & Skoog, M. (2021). TEACHING ABOUT WATER IN PRESCHOOL, PRESCHOOL-CLASS, AND PRIMARY SCHOOL: STEPPING STONES TOWARDS SCIENCE LITERACY OR MORE OF THE SAME?. In: : . Paper presented at 13th Nordic Research Symposium on Science Education (NFSUN 2021), (Online symposium), June 1-2, 2021.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>TEACHING ABOUT WATER IN PRESCHOOL, PRESCHOOL-CLASS, AND PRIMARY SCHOOL: STEPPING STONES TOWARDS SCIENCE LITERACY OR MORE OF THE SAME?
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2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Water is a substance commonly used in early childhood (EC) science education, both as a content to learn about, and as a medium for exploring chemical and physical processes. In this presentation, we will compare how educators across different EC school forms shape science activities focusing on water. The aim is to contribute knowledge about science teaching continuity across EC school forms. Activity Theory was used to describe and analyse how science teaching was shaped, and to compare what was afforded to the children in the different  school forms. Data was collected through individual interviews with teachers and observations of classroom activities focusing on water. Many similarities were found in how science was dealt with across the EC school forms, but gradual shifts in how the subject was communicated and from exploring and ‘doing’ towards an emphasis on facts, processes and inquiry resulted in an overall picture of science teaching continuity, rather than ‘more of the same’. Our results also revealed a rather sharp shift between preschool and school in how teachers make way for children’s own questions and agency during science activities, demonstrating how different curricula may give different possibilities for science based on children’s interests. 

Keywords
Science teaching continuity
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30416 (URN)
Conference
13th Nordic Research Symposium on Science Education (NFSUN 2021), (Online symposium), June 1-2, 2021
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016--03868
Available from: 2023-08-31 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-08-31
Areljung, S., Due, K., Ottander, C., Skoog, M. & Sundberg, B. (2021). Why and how teachers make use of drawing activities in early childhood science education. International Journal of Science Education, 43(13), 2127-2147
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Why and how teachers make use of drawing activities in early childhood science education
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2021 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 43, no 13, p. 2127-2147Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Researchers have provided many arguments for why drawing may contribute to science learning. However, little is known about how teachers in early childhood education (ECE) make use of drawing for science learning purposes. This article examines how teachers' views and framing of drawing activities influence the science learning opportunities afforded to children in the activities. We use activity theory to analyse teacher interviews and observation data from ten science classrooms (children aged 3-8 years) where drawing activities occurred. The interviews reveal that few of the teachers relate drawing to science learning specifically. Rather, they portray drawing as a component of variation in teaching and learning in general. Looking at what happens in the classrooms, we conclude that drawing has a relatively weak position as means of communicating and learning science. Instead, the teaching emphasis is on writing or on 'making a product'. However, there are examples where teachers explicitly use drawing for science learning purposes. These teachers are the same few who, in interviews, relate drawing to science learning specifically. Based on these findings, we encourage school teachers, teacher educators, and researchers to identify, and overcome,obstacles to realising the pedagogical potentials of drawing in ECE science classrooms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2021
Keywords
Activity theory, teacher views, visual representations
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30396 (URN)10.1080/09500693.2021.1953186 (DOI)000675777700001 ()2-s2.0-85111591355 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-03868
Available from: 2021-08-16 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-09-14Bibliographically approved
Sundberg, B., Areljung, S., Due, K., Ottander, C. & Skoog, M. (2019). Exploring science teaching continuity across ECE sectors: How do the teachers in different school forms deal with the same content?. In: : . Paper presented at 13th Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA 2019), Bologna, Italy, August 26-30, 2019.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring science teaching continuity across ECE sectors: How do the teachers in different school forms deal with the same content?
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2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In our project we seek to contribute with new knowledge about pedagogical (dis-)continuities in early childhood science. In this presentation we explore how the same science content is carried out in different ECE school forms, and how different local early childhood educational cultures may give opportunities or become obstacles for science teaching continuities. Our data was collected in three Swedish school units, each comprising at least one preschool, one preschool class and one class from the first three grades of primary school. Classroom observations of science activities were performed at 44 occasions. Activity Theory was used to describe how the teachers in different school forms deal with the same content and how their teaching is affected by local educational cultures.

Across the school forms there was a gradual shift from science learning through nature encounters and ‘doing’ towards an emphasis on concepts, facts, processes and inquiry. Tools for communicating about the subject also gradually shifted, from verbal communication and creative activities towards subject-focused drawing, writing, and reading. Subject continuity was above all ensured by the teacher’s sensitivity to the children’s former experiences, taking it into account when planning the science activities. The overall picture is one of gradual changes of science teaching across early year’s school forms. The bridge for continuity in a specific subject area is however fragile, since it is the children, rather than the teachers or the organization, who become the primary carriers of continuity. This calls for considering how to construct meeting opportunities for teachers, in order to better communicate and adapt their science teaching to what children have or will experience.

INTRODUCTION

Internationally, the growing attention towards the benefits of an early start for children has resulted in an increased public spending on early childhood education (ECE) (OECD 2017). The growing attention is also reflected in a rapid expansion of the research field of early year’s science (defined as science activities for children between 0 and 8 years of age). To our knowledge there are however no studies of pedagogical continuities in early childhood science. In our project we seek to contribute with new knowledge within this particular field.

Pedagogical (dis) -continuities across educational cultures

A growing number of ECE research suggests that the benefits of increasing public spending on ECE may disappear during the first years of primary school due to pedagogical discontinuities (OECD 2017). One potential reason for pedagogical discontinuity are the substantial historically and culturally formed differences between prior-to-school and compulsory school settings, differences that shape discrete educational cultures. For example, the school forms are governed by separate curricula that harbor divergent views of the child, learning, teaching and knowledge (Huser, Dockett & Perry, 2016). Many researchers have described this as a gap that somehow needs to be bridged. Others have emphasized the importance of distinguishable borders between different school forms (Ackesjö 2014).

In Sweden, where this project is conducted, 83 percent of all children in ages between 1-5 years are enrolled in preschool. The year children turn six they will transfer to the compulsory preschool class and the succeeding year they will start year 1 at primary school. The preschool class was specifically introduced into the educational system to enable a smooth transition between prior-to-school education and school by intertwining their divergent pedagogies. However, in accordance with the international studies compiled by the OECD, pedagogical discontinuities are still reported, describing missed opportunities to use children's subject learning experiences from preschool and preschool class in the first year of primary school (Skoog 2012, Ackesjö 2014).

Objectives and research questions

The results presented here are part of a larger project where the main objective is to explore if, and how, educational cultures may affect continuity in science teaching across early childhood school forms. In educational settings the concept continuity may be described as in Dewey's "principles of continuity" thus, that experiences in the present always are colored by previous experiences, and that the challenge for teachers is to provide learners with quality experiences that both rely on their previous experiences and will result in growth and creativity in subsequent experiences (Dewey 1938/1997). Continuity across school forms are often put forward as desirable, but the concept is seldom further elaborated as to what it is, how it can be accomplished, and for whom it is desirable (Ackesjö 2016). Ackesjö (2016) mentions several different aspects of continuity advocated in research, such as communicative (referring to communication between teachers in different school forms), social, curricular, organizational, cultural, and teaching continuity.

In this presentation, we focus on a subsample of our empirical data: science activities that deal with the same content occurring in at least two different school forms. Our aim is to explore how the same science content is carried out in three different ECE school forms. We seek to answer the following questions: 1) What characterizes science teaching of a given content, in the different school forms? 2) What opportunities for, and obstacles to, teaching continuity, in relation to a given science content, can be identified across school forms?

METHOD

Our data was collected in three Swedish school units, each comprising at least one preschool, one preschool class and one class from the first three grades of primary school. Together the three units comprise 4 preschools, 4 preschool classes and 4 grade 1-3 classes. Classroom observations of science activities were performed at 44 occasions (preschools (18), preschool classes (8), primary school (18)).

To characterize and compare the science teaching across the school forms, we draw on Activity Theory (Engeström 1987) and thus constructed triangle models for all the activities. These models include a description of seven elements; the subject (the teacher), object (the purpose), tools, rules, community/educational culture, division of labour and outcome of the activities. The descriptions of the elements of activities with recurring content across school forms were compared to a) identify how teachers in different school forms deal with the same content and b) how culturally formed differences (rules, community/educational culture, division of labour and outcome) may affect their teaching.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

We identified seven recurring contents across the school forms. These were: Water, Plant growth, Fungi, Friction, Insulation, Seasons and Animal tracks. Among these, ‘water’ was the only content that occurred across all three school forms.

Four aspects of shifts in how science teaching is carried out across the school forms were identified. Firstly, in all school forms the children’s former experiences, interests and curiosity were integral aspects of the science teaching. We however identified a shift from using children’s interests as a starting point for science education in preschool towards integrating children's views into teaching of mandatory science curriculum in primary school (subject and educational culture). Second, the teaching approaches shift from focus on verbal communication and creative activities towards subject-focused drawing, writing, and reading (tools). Third, there is a shift from nature encounters and ‘doing’ towards an emphasis on concepts, facts, processes and inquiry (objects). These three shifts are all gradual across the school forms. There is also an example of a more abrupt shift in teaching across school forms; from voluntariness (in preschool) towards mandatory participation (in school) (rules). In the presentation we will describe these trends in more details exemplifying it by how teachers handle the content ‘water’ and ‘fungi’ across school forms.

CONCLUSION

We see a potential for science teaching continuity across early childhood school forms. The subject specific continuity however, is grounded in a sensitivity among the teachers for what the children have experienced in previous school forms. This teaching continuity thus relies altogether on the information that the children choose to share. Hence, this bridge for science teaching between school forms is fragile, since it is the children, rather than the teachers or the organization, who become the primary carriers of continuity. This calls for considering how to strengthen the communicative continuity, that is to construct meeting opportunities for teachers across ECE school forms, in order to better adapt their teaching to what children have or will experience.

REFERENCES

Ackesjö, H. (2014) Barns övergångar till och från förskoleklass: Gränser, identiteter och (dis) kontinuiteter. Doctoral Thesis Växjö, Linnaeus University Press 148.

Ackesjö, H. (2016). Övergångar mellan skolformer – kontinuitet och progression från förskola till skola. Stockholm: Liber AB

Dewey, J. (1938/1997). Experience and Education. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: an activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-konsultit.

Huser, C. Dockett, S. & Perry, B. (2016) Transition to school: revisiting the bridge metaphor. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 24 (3) 439-449

OECD (2017) Starting Strong 2017: Key OECD Indicators on Early Childhood Education and Care, Starting Strong, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264276116-en

Skoog, M. (2012) Skriftspråkande i förskoleklass och årskurs 1. Örebro Studies in Education 33.

Keywords
Early childhood education, community of practice, learning progression
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30406 (URN)
Conference
13th Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA 2019), Bologna, Italy, August 26-30, 2019
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2020-02-03 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-09-14Bibliographically approved
Sundberg, B., Areljung, S., Due, K., Ottander, C. & Skoog, M. (2019). Handling frame factors, educational cultures and teacher experience when using third generation activity theory: Analyzing transition challenges across preschool, preschool class and primary school for early years science teaching. In: : . Paper presented at 8th Nordic Conference on Cultural and Activity Research 2019 (ISCAR 19), Trondheim, Norway, June 18-20, 2019.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Handling frame factors, educational cultures and teacher experience when using third generation activity theory: Analyzing transition challenges across preschool, preschool class and primary school for early years science teaching
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2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Topic/idea and arguments for the topic’s importance

In our project, we seek to understand transition challenges for early years science teaching. We have combined third generation models of Activity Theory (Engeström, 2001) and formative interventions (Penuel 2014) to describe obstacles and opportunities that surface when teachers from different school forms strive to construct a shared object: pedagogical continuity in science education.

In our analytical work, we have first constructed triangle models to describe activities and activity systems for preschools, preschool classes and primary school classes. The activity systems have then been compared across school forms. When comparing activity systems across school forms, we realised that some of the critical factors for continuity are not included in conventional triangle models. Consequently, we would like to share and discuss three methodological issues:

  1. There is no room for frame factors such as policy agendas, class sizes, time schedules, and access to premises/personnel in conventional triangle models. Yet, in our analyses we discovered that teachers drew on frame factors in their boundary work (cf. Gieryn 1983) towards other school forms.
  2. In many AT studies, the community node consists of a description of various stakeholders within the activity system. In our previous work, we have instead used the community node to describe the educational culture of the community (e.g., Sundberg et al. 2018). There, the educational culture includes overarching views of how children learn, what counts as good or desirable learning and the role of the teacher for children’s learning (cf. Biesta 2011). Since our studies show that the educational culture is crucial to how and whether science is afforded the children (Sundberg et al. 2018), we would like to discuss the place for educational cultures within AT models.
  3. When comparing the activity systems, the role of each teacher’s professional experience and science confidence has emerged as a critical factor for pedagogical continuity in science education. For example, teachers with strong science competence as well as confidence or teachers with work experience from both preschool and primary school seem less occupied with boundary work towards other school forms. In our current work, we have tentatively described teacher experience and competence within the subject node. This, in turn, has lead to our grappling with the relation between the subject node and the community node, with regards to the educational culture.

All or some of these issues may be discussed depending on the interest of the participants in the reflection space.

Information about empirical data in our current project

Our data was collected in three Swedish school units, each comprising at least one preschool, one preschool class and one class from the first three grades of primary school. Together the three units comprise 4 preschools, 4 preschool classes and 4 grade 1-3 classes. We conducted focus group discussions (10) with teachers across the school forms within each unit, classroom observations of implementations (49) and individual interviews with 21 teachers, before and after the project (35 in total).

 

National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-30407 (URN)
Conference
8th Nordic Conference on Cultural and Activity Research 2019 (ISCAR 19), Trondheim, Norway, June 18-20, 2019
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2020-02-03 Created: 2023-08-31 Last updated: 2023-09-14Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-7747-0647

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