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Mrak, Lina
Publications (3 of 3) Show all publications
Lecusay, R., Mrak, L. & Aktaş, V. (2019). Rethinking the Relation between Pedagogy and Sustainability: The Views of Preschool Teachers in Sweden. In: : . Paper presented at Symposium: Barn, lek, lärande och hållbarhet i utomhusmiljöer, 28 augusti, 2019, Jönköping.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rethinking the Relation between Pedagogy and Sustainability: The Views of Preschool Teachers in Sweden
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A core value underpinning activities in early childhood education and care for sustainability (ECECfS) is that these activities be organized to support forms of democratic, intergenerational collaboration in which children can act as “agents of change.” From the perspective of mediational theories of mind, the possibilities for children to participate actively and agentively in ECECfS can be understood by studying the ECEC settings in which these activities unfold as systems of culturally-constituted and historically contingent conditions.

The present study applied this perspective in qualitative case studies of how teachers in three Swedish preschools understand and practice ECECfS, and the degree to which children in these preschools could act as agents of change in relation to ECECfS activities. This research is based on survey and interview data collected from teacher teams in preschools that participated in a series of regional government-sponsored workshops designed to support teachers’ efforts to develop the outdoor spaces in their preschools as sustainable, multifunctional environments. Drawing on concepts from cultural historical activity theory (systemic tensions as underpinning expansive learning), surveys and interview transcripts were analyzed to characterize: how the participating teachers engaged with concepts relevant for understanding their approach to ECECfS (sustainability, teaching, pretend and exploratory play); pedagogical and organizational tensions that teachers described in relation to these concepts; and cultural means that mediated teachers relations to the general object of implementing ECECfS.

Teachers conceptions and practices of ECECfS were in general consistent with findings of prior research of in-service and pre-service preschool staff in Sweden: While teachers understood ECECfS holistically as a project that integrates environmental, economic, and social dimensions, the majority of the activities organized by the teachers emphasized the environmental dimension, with none explicitly emphasizing the economic dimension. Furthermore, teachers in all three schools described their day-to-day preschool practices as inherently about and for sustainability, noting a kind of tension or contradiction with needing to make sustainability explicit in preschool activities.

With respect to opportunities for children to act as agents of change in day-to-day preschool activities, we found examples in all three cases in which children engaged in actions that changed their material environment and/or their participation in relevant community(ies) of practice. Critically, what varied across preschools was if and to what degree these actions were clearly motivated by children’s questions, interests, and/or intentions. We draw on the concepts of instrumental and ontological communities of learners (Matusov et al., 2013) to argue that pedagogical and organizational aspects of each preschool’s idioculture (Fine, 2012) enabled or constrained the possibilities for children to act as agents of change.

National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-45856 (URN)
Conference
Symposium: Barn, lek, lärande och hållbarhet i utomhusmiljöer, 28 augusti, 2019, Jönköping
Available from: 2019-09-09 Created: 2019-09-09 Last updated: 2019-09-09Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, M., Lecusay, R., Mrak, L., Ferholt, B. & Alnervik, K. (2015). Toddlers and Teachers in Aesthetic Communication. In: Innovation, Experimentation and Adventure in Early Childhood: 25th  EECERA annual conference. Paper presented at European Early Childhood Education Research Conference, Barcelona, Spain, September 7-10 2015 (pp. 99-99).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Toddlers and Teachers in Aesthetic Communication
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2015 (English)In: Innovation, Experimentation and Adventure in Early Childhood: 25th  EECERA annual conference, 2015, p. 99-99Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This presentation outlines a preschool didactic of exploration focused on designing aesthetically-oriented learning environments in which teachers and children dialogically explore themes based on children’s interests. The work expands on recent research on pre-K teaching practices that combine performance art and drama pedagogies, Nordbø (2012); Haugen et al (2006). In this project we apply a performance studies framework, Johansson (2012) to analysis of data from an ongoing qualitative study of one-year old preschoolers. Our claims are based on video and interview data collected in a preschool over a period of four months. Informed consent was obtained from teachers, parents and guardians. We describe how the teachers create “installations” that occasion children’s aesthetic exploration, and argue that the communication that subsequently unfolds between children and teachers promotes their development as culture and knowledge creators, Dahlberg & Lenz Taguchi (1994). These installations form a kind of metaphorical dance: The teacher and children mutually lead one another in remediating the installations in ways that leverage repetition. This enables the children to explore differences and similarities among different iterations of these installations over time. Critical to this process is the practice of pedagogical documentation which teachers use to longitudinally chronicle and narrativise children's experiences of the changing installations. We show how children use their bodies to explore the environment, and how teachers correspondingly adapt these environments in ways that challenge the form and content of prior installations. These observations provide a general framework for practitioners interested in designing and implementing aesthetically oriented preschool activities. 

Keywords
toddlers, exploration, performative event, aesthic communication, pedagogical documentation
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28173 (URN)
Conference
European Early Childhood Education Research Conference, Barcelona, Spain, September 7-10 2015
Available from: 2015-10-15 Created: 2015-10-15 Last updated: 2016-08-11Bibliographically approved
Alnervik, K., Nilsson, M. & Mrak, L. (2015). Utforskande didaktik: Som en meningsskapande dans. In: : . Paper presented at Praktiska och estetiska lärprocesser i skola och högre utbildning. Nationell konferens, 22-23 april 2015, Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, Jönköpings högskola.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Utforskande didaktik: Som en meningsskapande dans
2015 (Swedish)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Keywords
Förskola, estetik, utforskande lärprocesser
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28988 (URN)
Conference
Praktiska och estetiska lärprocesser i skola och högre utbildning. Nationell konferens, 22-23 april 2015, Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, Jönköpings högskola
Available from: 2016-01-11 Created: 2016-01-11 Last updated: 2016-08-11Bibliographically approved
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