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När förskolan möter neurovetenskap: Kunskapsteoretiska möten i teori och i praktik
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3688-4357
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
When preschool meets neuroscience : Epistemological encounters in theory and in practice (English)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis in Early Childhood Education reports on encounters between the theories and practices of Swedish preschool and research-based neuroscience knowledge. Thus, this thesis concerns epistemological encounters and didactic consequences. The scientific problem pertains to the relation between scientifically generated knowledge and educational practices in preschool, with specific attention to the requirement that preschool, as the first level in the Swedish education system, should be based on scientific knowledge and verified experience-based knowledge. The didactic problem emerging from this scientific problem concerns how this might affect the daily practices of responsible preschool teachers and educators at large.

The thesis adopts a relational ontology with a multi-epistemological and methodological approach, based primarily on Stengers’ (e.g., 2018) and Mols’ (e.g., 2002) respective scholarship. The aims of the thesis are to investigate, firstly; what is produced in epistemological encounters within and between the research fields of Early Childhood Education and neuroscience. Secondly; what is produced between these fields and preschool didactic practices. The focus for the latter is on the didactic practices relying on the extended language concept in the Swedish preschool curriculum.

To explore these aims in more detail, a series of so-called cartography mapping exercises have been conducted. On the one hand, in the analyses of the literature aimed at bringing the two fields together. On the other hand, cartography mapping has been conducted with educators in three preschools collaboratively analyzing their literacy practices. The Deleuze-inspired (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987) methodology of cartography mapping aspire to simultaneously critically deconstruct and productively experiment with underlying lines of thinking emerging from scientific or philosophical problems that concern development and learning, and especially language development and skills of literacy during the preschool years (Lenz Taguchi, 2016a, 2016b).

The knowledge that this thesis produces is summarized below. Cartography mapping can be used both as a research method and as a method in pedagogical practice. In addition, cartography mapping can accommodate issues in different epistemologies and in different practices, such as research practice and preschool didactic practice. That is, practices that are related and share an overarching aim, but which are nevertheless not the same. The method reveals the different epistemologies present and how they can operate simultaneously within preschool didactic practice. The results from the thesis support the Swedish preschool curriculum goals which encompasses a dual assignment of learning (group and individual), that require different epistemological and didactic methods to be fulfilled.

A preschool practice based on scientific evidence and verified experience-based knowledge thus requires the use of a wide range of theories and epistemologies to guide preschool staff. Hence, the results of this thesis show not just the presence, but also the possibility of developing a multi-epistemological didactic repertoire in preschool development and learning practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen, Stockholms universitet , 2019. , p. 156
Keywords [en]
neuroeducation, educational neuroscience, Swedish preschool, early childhood education, cartographic mapping
Keywords [sv]
neuropedagogik, pedagogisk neurovetenskap, svensk förskola, förskoledidaktik, kartografiskt spårande
National Category
Didactics Pedagogy
Research subject
Early Childhood Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-171252ISBN: 978-91-7797-745-2 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-746-9 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-171252DiVA, id: diva2:1340295
Public defence
2019-09-20, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-08-28 Created: 2019-08-04 Last updated: 2019-08-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Reconsidering the concept of difference: A proposal to connect education and neuroscience in new ways
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reconsidering the concept of difference: A proposal to connect education and neuroscience in new ways
2019 (English)In: Policy Futures in Education, ISSN 1478-2103, E-ISSN 1478-2103Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Connecting neuroscience and education is a desire in contemporary society, related to the recur- ring calls for education to become more evidence-based. Research in educational neuroscience strives towards such interdisciplinary knowledge production and to an enhanced interaction between neuroscience research and educational practice. However, various problems and difficul- ties in achieving these collaborations are often reported. Discrepancies, hierarchies, misconcep- tions and communication problems can be described as creating a ‘discourse of difficulty’. The aim of this paper is to trace the specific difficulties that have created this discourse, and to problematize these difficulties in ways that enable new conceptions of what might be entailed by interaction and mutual knowledge development between the fields of neuroscience and education, and between academic theory and educational practice. The most significant difficulty is caused by a binary understanding of the concept of difference in relation to understanding the fields. Instead of understanding the fields in opposition to each other, I will suggest an understanding that implies difference emerging in each of the collaborating fields as the self-differing effects of the encounter. In the concluding discussion, I will argue that an understanding of the concept of difference as a process of mutual transformation can be essential for reciprocity and bi-directionality in collabo- rations. Instead of producing contradictions and hierarchies between scientific fields and between theory and practice, such an understanding of difference might facilitate an investigation of the polarizations that always position something as of lesser value, and ultimately, creates the gaps that collaborations want to bridge.

Keywords
Educational neuroscience, reciprocal collaboration, interdisciplinary research, Deleuze and Guattari, difference, self-differentiation
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Early Childhood Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-171251 (URN)10.1177/1478210319850437 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-08-03 Created: 2019-08-03 Last updated: 2019-08-14
2. Mapping a Collaborative Cartography of the Encounters between the Neurosciences and Early Childhood Education Practices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mapping a Collaborative Cartography of the Encounters between the Neurosciences and Early Childhood Education Practices
2018 (English)In: Discourse. Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, ISSN 0159-6306, E-ISSN 1469-3739, Vol. 39, no 2, p. 242-257Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper takes its starting point in a shared problem of concern, formulated in terms of what might be produced – or not – as effects of encounters between neuroscientific research and preschool practices. The aim is to show what emerged in collaborative encounters, in what is theorized and practised as Deleuzo–Guattarian-inspired cartography mapping exercises. During regularly scheduled staff ‘reflection meetings’, an invited doctoral student enacted, participated, and documented these encounters with preschool staff at three preschools in the same area outside Stockholm, Sweden. Two major lines of articulation, converging around a core problem, were collaboratively constructed and put on this ‘map’. These were then actively put to play to be disrupted and deterritorialized, making ways for new diverging lines and potential reconfigured forms of literacy practices.

Keywords
Educational neuroscience, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, cartography, deterritorialization, collaboration, matter of concern, praxiographical fieldwork, early childhood education
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Early Childhood Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153144 (URN)10.1080/01596306.2017.1396732 (DOI)000423488700006 ()
Available from: 2018-02-20 Created: 2018-02-20 Last updated: 2019-08-19Bibliographically approved
3. The Concept of Language in the Swedish Preschool Curriculum: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination of its Productions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Concept of Language in the Swedish Preschool Curriculum: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination of its Productions
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Children's language development is a core task in Swedish preschool and central to how the educators organize teaching and everyday activities. The curriculum's definition of language is described as extended, with language both as a prerequisite for learning and as a learning effect, that is, both internal processes and communication. This means that working methods and didactic strategies rely on many different epistemologies and thus different theoretical perspectives. Nevertheless, the research literature as well as assessments of the Swedish preschool services, show that educators’ interpretation of the curriculum is primarily sociocultural oriented. This is not entirely converging with how language is conceptualized in the Swedish preschool curriculum. Against this background, the aim of this paper is to perform a theoretical and empirical investigation of the extended language concept in the curriculum with the intention to understand what the consequences of this extended meaning of language produces in terms of teaching and learning practices. I have performed a tracing of the various epistemologies in language didactic preschool research and related this tracing analysis to empirical examples from preschool practices. The results of my analysis show that the practices are predominantly interpersonally framed, which corresponds to the emphasis in research. In a further analysis, where the empirical examples are read from other possible epistemologies, the practices can be perceived to be multi-epistemological in a fashion which corresponds to the curriculum conceptualization of language. This is discussed as opportunities for a didactic strengthening of presently neglected perspectives.

Keywords
Swedish preschool, Didactics, Language theories, Literacy practices, Multiple epistemologies, Teaching
National Category
Didactics Pedagogy
Research subject
Early Childhood Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-171256 (URN)
Available from: 2019-08-04 Created: 2019-08-04 Last updated: 2019-08-19Bibliographically approved

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