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Developing the Relational Competence of Early Childhood Education Teachers Through Playworlds: Contributions From a Swedish Preschool
(Brooklyn College, Department of Early Childhood and Arts Education)
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Preschool Education research.
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Preschool Education research. (Preschool Education Research)
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Biesta (2006) argues that within the past two decades there has been a rise in the concept of “learning” and a decline in the concept of “education”. He calls this the “learnification” of education: “the translation of all there is to say about education in terms of learning and learners” (Biesta, 2009, p. 5). He argues that this is problematic in part because learning is basically an individual concept referring to what people as individuals do, versus education, which implies a relationship.

The field of early childhood education and care is uniquely situated to respond to “learnification”. In this paper we challenge the view that teachers teach children in preschools, in an effort to replace it with the view that preschool children and their teachers are engaged in reciprocal learning and development. We do so by analyzing that ways that teacher participation in a pedagogical practice consisting of adult-child joint play, called playworld (Lindqvist, 1995), can support the development of teachers’ relational competence.

Relational competence is “the skill of entering into and building relationships” (Aspelin, 2015, p. 35). Aspelin (2015) writes that “Questions about what teachers’ relational competence means, how it promotes students’ learning and how it can be developed in teacher education, further education of teachers and in pedagogical practices is largely unexplored.” In playworlds (Lindqvist, 1995) adults actively enter into the fantasy play of young children as a means of promoting the development and quality of life of both adults and children. Thus, in this paper we begin from a relational pedagogical perspective (Aspelin & Persson, 2011) where the concepts of co-existence and co-operation, in addition to “attitude to relationships” and “attitude in relationships” are foci. This conceptual framework is applied in the analysis of transcripts and field notes from a case study of three preschool teachers implementing the playworld pedagogy for the first time in their classroom.

This case study consists of observations from a two-year ethnographic research project that took place in three preschools, all of which followed a pedagogy of listening and exploratory learning approach originated from the municipal preschools of Reggio Emilia. The research project was originally designed to examine if and how the teachers in these three preschools adopted and adapted into their own practices the Vygotskian-inspired playworld play pedagogy. The research study data was

In Event: Putting the Teacher in the Picture: Perspectives From Early Childhood Education in Japan, Sweden, Finland, and Brooklyn

gathered through participant observation using a variety of documentation methods, e. g.: interview, field notes, audio recorded reflection- and planning meetings and teachers pedagogical documentation.

Findings include the following: Relational competence developed through the fostering of trust and authentic/honest communication, but this communication was often difficult for teachers, pushing them to challenge each other in ways that made them uncomfortable; Relational Competence developed through co-existence, in which “attitude in relationships” had a potential to emerge; “attitude in relationships” occur in playworlds, in which teachers encounter each other and the children in ways that go beyond the “rational” and encourage ethical steps in the development of subjectivity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-39146OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-39146DiVA, id: diva2:1198205
Conference
American Educational Research Association
Available from: 2018-04-17 Created: 2018-04-17 Last updated: 2018-04-17

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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