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Prerequisites and constraints for children’s activities in preschool setting
Mittuniversitetet, Lärarutbildning, Institutionen för utbildningsvetenskap.
2008 (engelsk)Konferansepaper, Publicerat paper (Fagfellevurdert)
Abstract [en]

Prerequisites and Constraints for Children's Activities in Preschool Setting

Description of paper “People often seem to think of the environment as something to be acted upon, not something to be interacted with” (Resnick, 1994, s.239). Wertsch (1998) argues that one task for socio cultural analysis is to avoid analytic efforts that seek to account for human action by focusing on the individual agent. One way to avoid this is by taking mediated action as a unit of analysis. Socio-cultural theory and its close relative “activity theory” are linked to the work of Vygotsky and attempt to provide an account of learning and development as mediated processes (Daniels & Cole & Wertsch, 2007). The theoretical framework in this paper consists of two main concepts; activity theory and the theory of affordance. The main purpose of this study is to analyse how prerequisites for learning are created and an underlying intention is therefore to study how children’s activities are expressed in the practice of preschool. The study is based on video recordings made during one year in five preschools. This paper discusses one of five cases from this study. Central questions are: - What affordances exist in the particular preschool? - In what way are these affordances used by the children? - In what way does the preschool as an institution affect these activities? Theoretical framework The study is based on two theoretical perspectives: a social-cultural framework where the activity theory is prominent and the theory of affordances. As early as the beginning of last century Vygotsky (1978) developed the fundamental idea about mediating tools in the learning process as a criticism of the predominant reflexology. The mediating tools, which can consist both of verbal tools and physical artefacts, result in a possibility to understand the world around and how to face it in different ways. One of the fundamental claims of socio-cultural research as outlined herein is that its proper focus is human action (Wertsch & del Rio& Alvarez, 2002). Human action is also the primarily focus of the action theory. Engeström (1987) developed an activity system which consists of six elements. Subject, object, mediated tools, rules, society and division of labour. This model for an activity system is to be used as a screen to analyze different activities in the recordings. The second theoretical perspective is the theory of affordance. Gibson, the founder of the theory of affordances, was of the opinion that we missed a concept, which referred both to the environment and the individual (Gibson, 1986). Gibson claims on the one hand that an affordance only can be specified in relation to a specific agent/individual and on the other he means that an affordance offers what it does irrespective of the individual. In my study the strength in using the theory of affordance is that it is built from a relation between the individual and the physical environment. Affordances cut through the dichotomy subjective – objective and are equally dependent on environment and the individual. (Gibson, 1986)

Method

Five groups of children were recorded at five occasions during autumn 2006 to spring 2007. A single occasion consisted of two half days and were about 6 hours recording. In the end every group was recorded about 30 hours. The movies are now being processed and categorized through the program Inqscribe (www.inqscribe.com).

Expected Outcomes

Expected findings The fact that children do use tools is nothing unconventional, but the fact that their learning consists of activities and that these activities contains mediations through tools is something I want to understand and will discuss and take into consideration in this paper.

References

Daniels, H. & Cole, M. & Wertsch, J.(Eds.). (2007). The companion to Vygotsky. New York: Cambridge University Press. Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: ORIENTA-Konsultit Oy. Gibson, J. (1986). The ecological approach to visual perception. London: LEA Resnick, M.(1994). Learning about life. Artificial life, 1, pp. 229-241 Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge: Harvard university press. Wertsch, J & del Rio, P & Alvarez, A. (Eds.). (1995). Sociocultural studies of mind. Australia: Cambridge University Press. Wertsch, J. (1998) Mind as action. New York: Oxford university press. WWW document. URL http://www.inqscribe.com

This proposal is part of a master or doctoral thesis.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2008.
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-8186OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-8186DiVA, id: diva2:133539
Konferanse
ECER 2008, From Teaching to Learning
Tilgjengelig fra: 2009-01-22 Laget: 2009-01-12 Sist oppdatert: 2014-07-07bibliografisk kontrollert

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