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Pre-school childrens agency in learning for sustainable development
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2013 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in pre-school children’s meaning-making and learning in education for sustainability. Young children should be recognized as ‘agents for change’ and active participants in their own day-to-day practices. Such issues are thoroughly discussed in the early childhood education for sustainability field. However, only a few research reports are presented on the subject. In this paper, our purpose is to examine empirically how agency is constituted when pre-school children explore science-related issues in a context of education for sustainability. The empirical material consists of video-recording sequences of four- to five-year-olds. In the analysis, we use a methodological approach based on Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy. We describe what a small group of children are doing and their ‘course of action’ towards ‘fulfilment’. In view of this, agency is explained as something that children achieve together in transactions rather than something they possess. Furthermore, the findings show the significance of the aesthetic relations in the constitution of agency. At the end of the article, we also discuss agency in relation to the ongoing debate on participation in young children’s meaning-making for sustainability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
agency, pre-school children, sustainable development, experience, anticipation, course of action
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Subject Learning and Teaching
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-99772DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2013.812722ISI: 000340175500001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-99772DiVA: diva2:688688
Available from: 2014-01-17 Created: 2014-01-17 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Naturvetenskap i tillblivelse: Barns meningsskapande kring biologisk mångfald och en hållbar framtid
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Naturvetenskap i tillblivelse: Barns meningsskapande kring biologisk mångfald och en hållbar framtid
2015 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Science in Emergence : Children’s Meaning Making Concerning Biodiversity and a Sustainable Future
Abstract [en]

The objective of this thesis is to analyze children’s meaning making processes in science related to environment and sustainability at the pre-school level. This thesis examines an approach to early childhood education which is conceptualized by an explorative as well as a listening approach that specifically addresses children’s questions. The purpose is to create knowledge on how the processes develop and what specific science related content that emerges. All studies are based on a Deweyan pragmatic perspective. Study 1 “logs in” to the debate on children’s possibilities to become “agents for change” and contributing to positive changes for the environment. The results reveal that the children’s positive and negative aesthetic utterances have significance for how the process develops and is being fulfilled. The contextual aspects are imperative both for the content and for the choices the children make along the course of actions. Study 2 examines children exploring animals in a pre-school project concerning biodiversity.  Initially, the results reveal that the organisms’ appearances and movements received morphological and physiological explanations. Further on, knowledge was gained in a manner which has similarities to ecological and evolutionary ways of explaining biological phenomena. Study 3 takes departure from the discussion on the fact that sustainability related problems often are unstructured, multifaceted and conceptualized as “wicked”. The study examines how the process of imagination comes into play when children explore a sustainability related problem that is important to them. The results reveal that creative solutions come into existence when blending various experiences.  Study 4 investigates how children raise and answer science related questions by non-verbal actions. The results expose that non-verbal actions serve as inquiry, comparative systematics, visualization, question-generators as well as a public and self-reflective communication.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik, Stockholms universitet, 2015. 101 p.
Series
Doctoral thesis from the department of mathematics and science education, 10
Keyword
meaning making, science education, preschool children, education for sustainability
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113450 (URN)978-91-7649-079-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-06, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: In review. Paper 3: In press. Paper 4. Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-02-12 Created: 2015-02-01 Last updated: 2015-02-12Bibliographically approved

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