Category Archives: Didactics

Keeping Order in a Thinking and Learning Environment

Paper presented at the TA Teachers Conference ‘Thinking as a Key Competence: Implications for Learning, Teaching and Management’ in Riga 23-24 September 2016.
Read paper here: keeping-order-pihlgren

See slideshow here: pihlgren-keeping-order

Abstract
This paper is part of a larger study where more than two hundred teachers have been observed and interviewed. The questions guiding this part of the study focus on how the teacher’s way of keeping order is connected to the cognitive quality of what is taught.
A ‘thinking and learning environment’ presupposes that the teacher acts with strong focus on fostering students’ habits of mind, keeping order at the same time. However, there is no automatic relationship between orderliness and learning. Two factors are of importance: The teacher’s way of exercising control and if the system is perceptible for the students. Five types of learning environments were identified, three less successful in supporting cognitive development of students, and two more successful. The strongest learning outcomes are achieved when teachers use a clear and visible system during the lesson, so the students understand what is expected, a system that promotes their self-control.
Keywords: Cognition, order, praxis theory, teaching environments, thinking

Teaching Environments in Preschool Teaching

Paper presented at ECER, the European Conference on Educational Research, 23-26 August 2016, Dublin, Ireland.
Research Director, dr. Ann S. Pihlgren, Ignite Research Institute
Box 116, SE-761 22 Norrtälje, SWEDEN

See slideshow: Slideshow Teaching environments

Read the paper: Teaching Environments in Preschool, Pihlgren

Abstract
This paper analyzes how preschool teachers and caretakers meet the demands for cognitive and creative development of children. Observations of 40 sessions in preschools for 1-5-year-old children, and staff interviews were used. The questions guiding the analysis concern how preschool staff describe the considerations they make when planning, how this is represented in the observed activities, and how the results compare to the school and afterschool material analysis.
Teaching thinking and creativity presupposes that the teacher plans, assesses, chooses activities and tools, and arranges the setting carefully, with focus on fostering children’s habits of mind. The contextual and communicational interactions play a vital part of support. Evidence of the anticipated criteria was difficult to ascertain in the observed preschools as well as in the previously observed classrooms and afterschools. All previously found teaching environments were found in the preschool material, with a bulk of the child-investigative teaching environment. This environment is similar to Pramling’s description of ‘child centered pedagogy’. A few preschool teachers present successful planning models and interactional activities to improve children’s thinking and creativity, and was found similar to Pramling’s ‘development pedagogy’.