Children's questions during a science activity in preschool

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragSammanfattning


In this study children’s questions during a science activity concerning what soil is, are analysed. The empirical study has its background in research on children’s learning (Pramling Samuelsson & Asplund Carlsson, 2003, 2008) and a new view of the Swedish preschool’s commissions (Ministry of Education and science, 1998; memorandum U2008). Children are seen as active in their own learning and as developing on the basis of their own experiences in communication with the surrounding world (Pramling Samuelsson & Asplund Carlsson, 2003). In preschool, children shall develop knowledge about different contents, areas of knowledge. One such content is science (Ministry of Education and Science, 1998).  Through the history of preschool, the object of learning has seldom been in focus of the activity. Instead, methods and attitudes have been given precedence (Pramling Samuelsson & Asplund Carlsson, 2008).  The ideal of preschool education has over time been characterized as a tradition where children’s development of personality has been given priority over children’s knowledge development (Thulin, 2006). On the basis of Fritzell’s (2004) interpretation of the education concept, it can be expressed as preschool has had its focus on “who you will become” rather than “what you will know”. With the curriculum of preschool and the government’s claim about an emphasised pedagogically task for the preschool (memorandum U2008/6144/S) the concern on children’s learning of different contents in preschool has increased. For these reasons, there is a need of a discussion about what a changed commission can mean and what pedagogical consequences it may have for activities in preschools and teachers actions. Questions about what may constitute a relevant content and didactic are on the agenda (Persson, 2008; Pramling Samuelsson et al., 2008; Thulin, 2006). In teaching contexts, the importance of the teacher’s questions is often pointed out. Several researchers call attention to the importance of so-called open questions where the child generates a reply, in contrast to so-called closed questions where there is a correct and expected answer on behalf of the teacher (Doverborg & Pramling Samuelsson, 2003). In an investigation into what happens with the object of learning in preschool (Thulin, 2006), the analysis of the teacher-child conversation showed a discussing climate. However, when the communication was studied more in detail, a traditional pedagogy of an asking teacher and a replying child was visible. Questions by a child were often met by another (new) question from the teacher and the child’s question remained unanswered. The result of the study (Thulin, 2006) also showed that when the teacher’s questions seemed to get precedence in a learning situation, children risked to be left to their one own search after sense and meaning. The results imply the importance of a more close analysis of what children ask questions about during work with a specific content. In this study, children’s questions during a work with a scientific phenomenon (what soil is) in preschool are studied. Children’s questions are here seen as an expression of their experiences and search for sense and understanding (cf. Marton & Booth, 2000; Siraj-Blachford & Mac Leod-Brudenell, 2003). The empirical data of the study has been generated through video observations of scientific activities in preschool. Twelve children (3-5 years) and three teachers participate in the study. The results are presented on the basis of the focus of the children’s questions and discussed in relation to children’s perspectives, learning and the theme work over time. The results show that children to large extent have the actual (intended) content in focus and that children’s questions constitute an important didactic starting point when interacting about a specific content.


Antal sidor1
StatusPublicerad - 2010
EvenemangNordisk förening för Pedagogisk Forskning (NFPF), NERA's 38 Congress Malmö, 11-13 March 2010 -
Varaktighet: 1980-jan-01 → …


KonferensNordisk förening för Pedagogisk Forskning (NFPF), NERA's 38 Congress Malmö, 11-13 March 2010
Period80-01-01 → …

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  • Pedagogik (50301)


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