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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
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’.
Paper presented at ECER, the European Conference on Educational Research, 8-11 September 2015, Budapest, Hungary.
By: PhD Ann S. Pihlgren, Ignite Research Institute, Master of Theology Malin Pihlgren Nylander, Church of Sweden.
See slide show: Presentation Discussing religion ECER
This paper analyzes discourses in method materials for thoughtful dialogues in the classroom. It focuses on materials presenting religious and moral subjects. ‘Thoughtful dialogues’ refers to a family of interrelated methods for philosophizing with students, e.g. philosophy for/with children, and Socratic seminars, using open-ended questions, and an investigating and collaborative interlocution. The questions guiding the study were:
- What discourses can be found in methodological materials for thoughtful dialogue addressing the subject religion?
- Are questions in the materials used to address faith, morality, and teaching? If so, how?
- How are the discourses found in the methodological materials related to the discourses in religious education in a highly secularized country (Sweden)?
In this study a social constructionist/poststructuralist approach is taken, where knowledge is considered contextual and social, and where an action or stance therefore can be considered as impossible or natural depending on how the world is perceived within the dominating discourse. Our analysis was carried out by using a revised version of Fairclough’s (2013) three-dimensional conception of discourse, presenting an analytical frame for empirical discourse research: Analysis of texts, of discursive practice, and of discursive events as instances of social practice.
The results show three discourses in the material. The discourse of critical thinking in school is the most frequent, and aims at transforming teaching. Faith is normally not a part of the agenda. The teaching philosophy in school discourse does not address faith, and moral questions and the egalitarian dialogue are elements used to justify the teaching of philosophy in school. The third discourse addresses faith and suggests a critical thinking in religion discourse, challenging the present hegemonic discourse in western societies. Religious education in secular countries tends to focus on teaching about the world religions from an outsider’s perspective whereas the methodological materials for thoughtful dialogues tend to focus on moral questions when exploring religious texts.
Religious education in school could be considered from two factors: 1.) The attitude toward questions of faith and 2.) The approach to knowledge. Questions of religious faith might be addressed in education, or not. Knowledge might be seen from a fundamentalist point of view, where a set of true facts are presented to the students, or, as in the opposite position, attaining knowledge includes critically examination of facts and values. This will give four different approaches to religious education in school: Dogmatic religion, dogmatic atheism, examining theology, or examining philosophy excluding theology.
Questions of faith and religion need to be discussed with others: Thoughtful dialogues could be used in classrooms and other contexts for dialogues about faith, and religious and theological questions, and thus helping the individual to form a relationship or grounded base on which he or she can reflect on matters of faith and belief or disbelief, both on her or his own and with others. This approach is in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Paper presented at the International Conference on Thinking 2013 in Wellington, New Zeeland:
There are several systematic ways of collegial learning directed towards teachers. However, there are few assessed methods concerning the principal’s classroom observations, and even fever of principal’s cooperating to develop methods. This paper relates the results from an ongoing study, focusing on principals working together to enhance pedagogical development by assessing teachers’ classroom practice through systematic observation and feedback. The research focuses on finding methods for the intended cooperation. A group of principals met in ten sessions over a year to develop and try out methods for classroom observations and feedback to observed teachers. The group of principals and the researcher gradually worked their way towards integration of practical experience, theoretical ideas, and goal orientation, resembling the methods of learning studies. The switching between the analytical, creative and producing group sessions with peers and supported by a researcher, and the practical testing by observing and giving feedback to teachers, proved to be an effective system to produce working tools that the principals found meaningful. The project altered the way the participating principals perceived observation and feedback as tools for pedagogical development, from being skeptical to seeing it as a vital development tool. The cooperative dialogue seems to have supported the integration of a deeper understanding of what are essential pedagogical qualities. There also seems to have been a fruitful parallel process when the principals met their teachers in feedback. READ THE PAPER: Principals Cooperating to Assess Classroom Practice SEE SLIDE SHOW: Principals cooperating to Assess, A. S. Pihlgren
Paper presented at the 5th International Conference of Cognitive Science ICCS 2013 in Tehran, Iran. Read full paper: Planning for Thinking and Cognitive Development of Students
Workshop slides: Thoughtful Dialogue workshop ICCS 2013