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Anthropomorphically speaking: on communication between teachers and children in early childhood biology education
Kristianstad University, School of Teacher Education. (Barndom, Lärande och Ämnesdidaktik (BALU), Learning In Science and Mathematics (LISMA), Avdelningen för Pedagogik)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7276-5422
The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS), University of Gothenburg.
2009 (English)In: International Journal of Early Years Education, ISSN 0966-9760, E-ISSN 1469-8463, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 137-150Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study a particular kind of figurative language, so-called anthropomorphic speech, is analysed in the context of science activities in a preschool setting. Anthropomorphism means speaking about something non-human in human terms. Can any systematic pattern be seen with regard to when such speech is used? Do children and/or teachers introduce this kind of talking and how is it responded to by the interlocutor(s)? Of 128 instances of anthropomorphism found, 24 were made by the children and 104 by the teachers. Children sometimes respond in line with the introduction of such speech but they also at times reject this way of speaking. Anthropomorphic speech is discussed as a strategy for the teachers in handling the dilemma of how to connect with children's experiences and terms, on the one hand, and developing children's understanding, on the other hand.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 17, no 2, p. 137-150
Keywords [en]
anthropomorphism, early childhood education, figurative language, preschool, science
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-5722DOI: 10.1080/09669760902982331ISBN: 0966-9760 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-5722DiVA, id: diva2:286787
Available from: 2010-01-15 Created: 2010-01-15 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Lärares tal och barns nyfikenhet: kommunikation om naturvetenskapliga innehåll i förskolan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lärares tal och barns nyfikenhet: kommunikation om naturvetenskapliga innehåll i förskolan
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to generate new knowledge about how children and teachers communicate scientific contents in preschool. The general research question is formulated as: How do the object of learning and the act of learning appear in communication about scientific contents in preschool? This thesis is a collection of three (previously published) empirical studies and takes shape in the encounter between a projected knowledge acquisition task for preschool and the educational tradition of preschool.

The research approach is based primarily on phenomenography focussing on developmental pedagogy. The results are discussed in relation to situated learning and the assumptions about the task of preschool characterising the social practice that is brought to light. The thesis is based on the assumption that teachers are bearers of taken-for-granted ideas about what the ‘good preschool’ is, and that these ideas affect the way they interpret new tasks.

The empirical basis consists of video observations from two preschools working with different thematic projects: Life in the tree stump and How soil is formed. The analysis is delimited to the verbal communication occurring between children and teachers about the scientific content. The children are aged between three and six years. All observations have been transcribed to text and analysed according to the following research questions: Study I: (i) What is communicated as the object of learning in the theme work about natural scientific phenomena in the preschool studied? (ii) What acts of learning appear in the communication of the object of learning? Study II is a re-analysis of the linguistic usage in the empirical data from Study I. Research questions of Study II are: is there any systematic pattern in the use of anthropomorphic speech regarding (i) who uses this language, (ii) when it is used and (iii) what it is used for? Study III is delimited to children’s perspective, and the research questions are: (i) What do children ask about during theme work with a natural scientific process in preschool? (ii) Can any tendency towards change be discerned with regard to what kind of questions children ask in the course of the theme work?

The results have thrown light on what natural science is in these preschools, a questioning teacher, an education ideal as an interpretative framework and children’s meeting with the object of learning. The results are discussed in relation to a feasible didactic perspective based on the educational ideal of preschool and in relation to a critical didactic perspective concerning teachers’ will, courage and competence to make the content visible. Finally, with the implementation of the raised knowledge task for preschool in mind, prominence is given to the need of critical reflection over the role of language as maintaining a discourse and the concepts established.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2011. p. 137
Series
Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. Gothenburg Studies In Educational Sciences ., ISSN 0436-1121 ; 309
Keywords
Early childhood education, Science, Learning, Curriculum, Content
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-9808 (URN)978-91-7346-706-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-10, Aulan, Högskolan Kristianstad, Kristianstad, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Finansierad av vetenskapsrådet/utbildningsvetenskapliga kommittén: Nationell forskaskola i Barndom, lärande, ämnesdidaktik (FoBa), Dnr 721 - 2005 - 2717
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2012-12-06 Created: 2012-10-27 Last updated: 2016-04-01Bibliographically approved

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Thulin, Susanne

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