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Mathematizing in preschool: Children's participation in geometrical discourse
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. (CLIP)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. (CLIP)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4769-4479
2018 (English)In: European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, ISSN 1350-293X, E-ISSN 1752-1807, Vol. 26, no 4, p. 495-511Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores preschool children's mathematizing in everyday block play activities. Building on an ethnomethodological and multimodal conversation analytic framework, we explore how geometry (i.e. spatiality, shape, and symmetry) is actualized in children's verbal and embodied interaction with their peers, pedagogues, and material environment. The selected data are drawn from a video ethnographic study in a Swedish preschool in which a boy and a girl play with a magnetic construction toy. The results of the study demonstrate how the participants orient to spatial locations, properties, dimensions, orientations, transformations, and shapes as they build a house. The children are shown to rely upon verbal and embodied resources such as deictics (e.g. here, there, these) and pointing gestures as geometrical aspects are actualized in their interaction. The study contributes with knowledge on preschool children'e everyday mathematizing, in particular, children's appropriation of geometric discourse as it emerges in the unfolding flow of interaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 26, no 4, p. 495-511
Keywords [en]
Ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, block play, geometry, mathematizing, preschooler's multimodal interaction
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-356118DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2018.1487143ISI: 000438637100004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-356118DiVA, id: diva2:1233049
Available from: 2018-07-14 Created: 2018-07-14 Last updated: 2018-09-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Matematiserande i förskolan: Geometri i multimodal interaktion
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Matematiserande i förskolan: Geometri i multimodal interaktion
2018 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the dissertation is to contribute with knowledge about mathematizing in preschools, by empirically and analytically examining mathematizing as accomplished in children’s multimodal interactions with each other and their pedagogues in everyday activities. Theoretically and analytically the dissertation is based on an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspective (EM/CA) (e.g. Goodwin, 2000; Heritage, 1984), which highlights multimodal interaction and communication in social contexts. Mathematizing is defined as participation in mathematical discourse (Sfard, 2008). A special interest is directed to how preschool children use talk, embodied actions and other semiotic resources as they orient to mathematics in play and other activities. The dissertation is based on ethnographic fieldwork combined with video recordings of everyday mathematizing in two Swedish preschools with children 3–5 years old.

The findings are presented in three studies. The first study examines how mathematical activities emerge in children’s interactions with each other and with their pedagogues. Whether it is the children or the pedagogues who initiate the activity, the children are shown to be actively involved in the construction of the emerging mathematical content. Geometric shapes as well as different aspects of number sense are a couple of the mathematical topics covered in the study. The second study explores children’s mathematizing in the block play area, with an interest in preschoolers’ displayed understandings of geometry (spatiality, shape, symmetry) (Seo, 2003). The study demonstrates how the participants orient to different spatial phenomena as they work with a construction toy. The children are shown to rely upon verbal and embodied resources such as deictics and pointing gestures as geometrical aspects are actualized in their interaction. The third study investigates mathematizing with an interest in how geometrical shapes are made relevant in interaction in two consecutive pedagogical activities: reading and painting. The results of the study demonstrate how naming (baptizing) (Sfard, 2008) of geometrical shapes are central in the two activities. In the painting activity an aesthetic dimension was actualized in the children’s discourse, that somewhat obscured the mathematical content in the activity. The study thus shows the complexity of the relations between the activities. Together the studies contribute with knowledge on preschool children’s everyday mathematizing, in particular children’s appropriation of a geometric discourse as it emerges in the unfolding flow of multimodal interaction. Through the use of an EM/CA perspective the dissertation contributes with new theoretical and methodological approaches to research on mathematics in preschools. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. p. 91
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Educational Sciences ; 14
Keywords
ethnomethodology/conversation analysis, geometry, multimodal interaction, mathematizing, mathematical discourse, preschool activities, preschool children
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-357519 (URN)978-91-513-0409-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-05, sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-09-11 Created: 2018-08-16 Last updated: 2018-10-02

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