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Play, Culture and Learning: Studies of Second-Language and Conceptual Development in Swedish Preschools
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Swedish Language. Södertörn University, Teacher Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8110-6506
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation studies how second-language and conceptual development emerge through interactions in Swedish preschool environments. It studies how types of interaction, such as play, can scaffold children toward such developments.

The studies view interaction as multimodal and embodied and it is examined how children come to use and develop their second language or understanding of abstract concepts, through a range of communicative means other than language.

The data collection has been carried out in two separate periods. The first field-work followed two newcomer children developing a second language and the second field-work was conducted with a group of children during a project about spinning.

The results concerning second-language development show how children can engage in play activity even before they share a common language, and that this can be afforded by the character of play activity as based on rules and tacit understanding of relevant cultural patterns. Teachers also engage in so called guided play, that affords scaffolding for children. Play activities in the preschool function as an arena for children to interact, imitate the cultural rules and patterns around them and emergingly use their second language. Moreover, the preschools are structured for children’s participation through their cultural pattern and imitable structures, and that these affordances can be used by children in their play.

The results concerning conceptual development builds on the notion that children develop in relation with cultural tools and artefacts and that this is a highly perceptual and embodied process. It is exemplified how preschool’s provide environment and activities that can afford conceptual development, not least through use of digital tools, which also allows teachers to appropriate children’s play worlds to a pedagogical project. The teacher’s scaffolding interactions and use of the affordances of tools and the environment enable children to reason about the concepts in more conceptually conscious ways.

The overall conclusions of the thesis point to the importance of non-verbal and environmental resources in children’s development of a second language and abstract concepts. On these grounds, the thesis suggests a novel way to view scaffolding, by including the environmental affordances to this otherwise social process.

Abstract [sv]

Den här avhandlingen undersöker hur andraspråks- och begreppsutveckling kan uppstå genom interaktion i förskolans miljöer, specifikt studerar avhandlingen hur olika typer av interaktion, som leken, kan stötta barn.

Studierna bygger på en syn där interaktion ses som multimodal och kroppsligt förankrad och ett analytiskt fokus riktas mot hur andraspråks- och begreppsutveckling kan ske med hjälp av andra kommunikativa resurser än talspråket.

Datainsamlingen har skett under två separata perioder. Det första fältarbetet följde två nyanlända barn som börjat utveckla andraspråket svenska och under den andra perioden följdes en förskolegrupp under ett naturprojekt om snurrande.

Resultaten rörande andraspråksutveckling visar hur barn kan delta i lek redan innan de delar ett gemensamt språk. Detta möjliggörs genom lekens regelbundna karaktär och att barn taktilt kan förstå kulturella regler genom interaktion. Lärarna deltar även i så kallad guidad lek, som möjliggör stöttning av barnen. Lekaktiviteterna fungerar som en mötesplats där barn kan interagera, imitera kulturella regler och mönster, något som understödjer ett framväxande användande av andraspråket. Förskolans stukturerade dagar och mijöer visar sig vara möjliggörande för barns deltagande. Dessutom återanvänds dessa kulturella strukturer av barnen i lek.

Resultaten rörande begreppsutveckling bygger på att barn kan utvecklas i relation till andra, men även kulturella redskap och artefakter och det visas att detta sker på kroppsliga sätt. Förskolans miljöer erbjuder upplevelser av begreppen för barnen, genom att fysiska och digitala artefakter. När lärare använder dessa redskap i aktiviteter kan även barnen stöttas mot att förstå sina upplevelser på ett mer begreppsbaserat sätt.

Avhandlingens slutsatser pekar mot betydelsen av icke-verbala resurser då barn lär sig andraspråk och om abstrakta begrepp. Ur detta läggs ett nytt sätt att se på stöttning fram, som inkluderar miljön och kroppsliga resursers betydelse för denna sociala process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2019. , p. 198
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 163
Keywords [en]
early childhood education, ECEC, preschool, play, affordances, embodiment, multimodal, interaction, second-language development, conceptual development, culture, cultural affordances, digital tools, artefacts, perception
Keywords [sv]
förskola, förskolepedagogik, didaktik, förskola, lek, affordanser, kroppslighet, multimodalitet, interaktion, andraspråksutveckling, begreppsutveckling, kultur, kulturella affordanser, digitala redskap, artefakter, perception
National Category
Didactics Learning Applied Psychology Communication Studies Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Studies in the Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38083ISBN: 978-91-88663-65-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88663-66-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-38083DiVA, id: diva2:1307799
Public defence
2019-06-05, MB503, Alfred Nobels Allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-05-14 Created: 2019-04-29 Last updated: 2019-05-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Play and imitation: Multimodal interaction and second language development in preschool
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Play and imitation: Multimodal interaction and second language development in preschool
2017 (English)In: Mind, culture and activity, ISSN 1074-9039, E-ISSN 1532-7884, Vol. 24, no 1, p. 18-31Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper targets the multimodal character of children’s play and its potential for scaffolding second language development. We follow children who are newcomers to a Swedish preschool, and analyze their interactions. Play is, we argue, based on rules or tacit agreements between children, originating in the human capacity of imitation, and creates an opportunity to test out cultural patterns. Despite their limited language abilities, the children naturally engage in bodily play interactions where different objects are deployed. This can potentially underpin second language development, not least when a child or teacher with better Swedish language proficiency participates.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017
Keywords
multimodality, embodiment, preschool play, second language development, interaction, affordances
National Category
Specific Languages Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology) Educational Sciences Didactics Learning Pedagogy
Research subject
Other research area
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-31171 (URN)10.1080/10749039.2016.1247868 (DOI)000395201900003 ()2-s2.0-84995379858 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-11-16 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2019-04-29Bibliographically approved
2. Children's explorations of the concept of spinning in preschool: Science learning in mediated activity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Children's explorations of the concept of spinning in preschool: Science learning in mediated activity
2018 (English)In: Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, ISSN 2210-6561, E-ISSN 2210-657X, Vol. 17, p. 90-102Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines how children explore the concept of spinning during a preschool project. It takes a cultural-historical approach, and analyzes how artifacts can be used in development of abstract concepts. In line with the pedagogical goals teachers employ these in learning activities during the project in line with their pedagogical goals. Children encounter the activities with different linguistic and perceptual means; there is, however, across the project a shift towards learning activities that promote verbal explanations. The interrelation of verbal and perceptual means, suggest ways in how children dynamically develop abstract concepts out of perceptual knowledge in activities with appropriate artifacts and teacher scaffolding.

Keywords
Conceptual learning, Preschool, Perception, Artifact, Mediation
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-34825 (URN)10.1016/j.lcsi.2018.01.002 (DOI)000435621100007 ()2-s2.0-85044357526 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-04-04 Created: 2018-04-04 Last updated: 2019-04-29Bibliographically approved
3. Multimodal interaction for science learning in preschool: Conceptual development with external tools across a science project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multimodal interaction for science learning in preschool: Conceptual development with external tools across a science project
2019 (English)In: International Journal of Early Years Education, ISSN 0966-9760, E-ISSN 1469-8463, Vol. 27, no 3, p. 254-270Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper studies the scaffolding of conceptual development for children aged 4–5 years old during a science project at a Swedish preschool. It specifically examines how bodily knowledge and language are used in interaction, and how conceptual knowledge can be scaffolded with the use of external tools and artefacts. The science project was tracked for seven weeks and the analytical focus is on situations where a computer and a projected screen are used. The study shows how interactions afforded by the set-up provide a virtual-physical setting where teachers and children can interact using both language and bodily modes. As such, it provided an interactional space where teachers can scaffold children’s tactile understandings towards conceptual knowledge by building on the children’s prior experiences, and knowledge is cumulated over time during the project. This is accomplished by focusing attention on the topic and through the use of tools in interaction. Possible implications and uses for early childhood education are discussed in the light of these results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Conceptual development, early childhood education, affordances, digital tools
National Category
Educational Sciences Languages and Literature
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38076 (URN)10.1080/09669760.2019.1605888 (DOI)2-s2.0-85064516041 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-04-26 Created: 2019-04-26 Last updated: 2019-11-05Bibliographically approved
4. Environments for Imitation: Second-Language Use and Development through Embodied Participation in Preschool Routine Activities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environments for Imitation: Second-Language Use and Development through Embodied Participation in Preschool Routine Activities
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Didactics Applied Psychology Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38082 (URN)
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Available from: 2019-04-29 Created: 2019-04-29 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved

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