Skylta med kunskap. En studie av hur barn urskiljer grafiska symboler i hem och förskola.
The topic of this study is to generate knowledge about children’s understanding of graphical symbols. These forms of knowledge are prevalent in contemporary societies, for example, in the form of letters, numbers, road signs, maps, and computer icons. More specifically, in this thesis is scrutinized in detail how children develop symbolic skills and how this can be supported through educational activities. The theoretical basis of the study is variation theory (Marton & Tsui, 2004). This theory conceptualizes learning in terms of differentiation and integration. Two empirical studies are reported. The first is about two children, Olle and Lasse, who both are in the age span four to five years. How these children handle graphical symbols in the form of producing signs that they put up in their homes are followed over time. Hence, the children’s own make and use of symbols in their everyday life are studied. In the second empirical study, the findings from the first study and theoretical insight from variation theory are orchestrated in a preschool center with two teachers and twelve children, to see if these principles can be functional in supporting children’s development of symbolic understanding. Both studies are based on video data. The findings are that a particular pattern of variation entitled, ‘contrast’ is functional in developing such insight, while another pattern of variation entitled, ‘induction’ is not. In addition, meta-communication is argued to be important not only for the researcher to gain access to the child’s understanding but also to the child’s development as such. The theoretical distinction made by Vygotsky between ‘pseudo concepts’ and ‘concepts (proper)’ is used to discuss the findings.
Doctor of Philosophy
Göteborgs universitet. Utbildningsvetenskapliga fakulteten
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Education
Department of Education, Communication and Learning ; Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande
Fredag den 29 november, kl.13.00, sal BE015 Pedagogen Hus B
Date of defence
Illustrationer och grafiska symboler gjorda av barn i åldrarna 4-6 år.
Gothenburg studies in educational sciences