Case study on teachers’ contribution to children’s participation in Finnish preschool classrooms during structured learning sessions

Main Article Content

Jenni Elina Salminen

Abstract

The main aim of this study was to identify different teaching practices and explore the types of opportunities that they provide for children’s participation in four different Finnish preschool classrooms for 6-year olds during structured learning sessions. Observational data of four preschool teachers were analyzed according to the principles of qualitative content analysis. Three themes of teachers’ practices were identified, which described the key practices through which teachers influence children’s participation, namely, through discussion and conversations; by referring to shared rules and managing the classroom; and through demonstrating pedagogical sensitivity and understanding towards children’s active participation. Further, each teacher was observed implementing these practices in a unique combination in their classrooms, thus, creating different opportunities for participation. The four teachers showed a constructive, enabling, reserved or restrictive/unbalanced stance towards children’s participation. The results of this study highlight the importance of teachers’ pedagogically sensitive attitude as the key to children’s participation. Given that the advantages of participation to learning and development are well established, the results also point to a need to evaluate the prevailing pedagogy and practices more closely from the perspective of participation.

Article Details

How to Cite
Salminen, J. E. (2013). Case study on teachers’ contribution to children’s participation in Finnish preschool classrooms during structured learning sessions. Frontline Learning Research, 1(1), 72-80. https://doi.org/10.14786/flr.v1i1.31
Section
Articles

References

Bohn, C. M., Roehrig, A. D., & Pressley, M. (2004). The first days of school in the classrooms of two more effective and four less effective primary-grades teachers. The Elementary School Journal, 104, 269–287.

Cockburn, T. (2005). Children’s participation in social policy: inclusion, chimera or authenticity? Social Policy and Society, 4, 109–119.

Core Curriculum for Preschool Education in Finland. (2000). Esiopetuksen opetussuunnitelman perusteet [The core curriculum for preschool education 2000]. Helsinki, Finland: National Board of Education. Retrieved from http://www.oph.fi/download/123162_core_curriculum_for_pre_school_education_2000.pdf

Einarsdottir, J. (2010).Children’s experiences of the first year of primary school. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 18(2), 163–180.

Emilson, A., & Folkesson, A.-M. (2006). Children’s participation and teacher control. Early Child Development and Care, 176, 219–238.

Graneheim, U. H., & Lundman, B. (2004). Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Education Today, 24, 105–112.

Hujala, E., Backlund-Smulter, T., Koivisto, P., Parkkinen, H., Sarakorpi, H., Suortti, O., … Korkeakoski, E. (2012). Esiopetuksen laatu 2012. [The quality of pre-primary education]. Publications by the Finnish Education Evaluation Council 61. Jyväskylä, Finland. Retrieved from http://www.edev.fi/img/portal/1354/julkaisu_61.pdf

Hännikäinen, M. (2005). Rules and agreements and becoming a preschool community of learners. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 13, 97–110.

Hännikäinen, M., de Jong, M., & Rubinstein Reich, L. (1997). Our heads are the same size! A study of quality of the child’s life in Nordic day care centres. Educational information and debate 107. Malmö, Sweden: Malmö University School of Education.

Hännikäinen, M., & Rasku-Puttonen, H. (2010). Promoting children’s participation: the role of teachers in preschool and primary school learning sessions. Early Years: An international Journal of Research and Development, 30, 147–160.

Johansson, I., & Sandeberg, A. (2010). Learning and participation: two interrelated key-concepts in the preschool. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 18, 229–242.

Laevers, F. (2005). The curriculum as a means to raise the quality of early childhood education. Implications for policy. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 13(1), 17–29.

Lerkkanen, M.-K., Niemi, P., Poikkeus, A.-M., Poskiparta, E., Siekkinen, M., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2006). The First Steps Study (Alkuportaat). Unpublished data. University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Mercer, N., & Littleton, K. (2007). Dialogue and the development of children’s thinking: a sociocultural approach. New York, NY: Routledge.

Patton (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Pianta, R. C. 1999. Enhancing relationships between children and teachers. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Pianta, R. C., LaParo, K. M., & Hamre, B. K. (2008). The classroom assessment scoring system. Manual, pre-K. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Pramling-Samuelsson, I., & Sheridan, S. (2003). Delaktighet som värdering och pedagogic [Participation as valuation and pedagogy]. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige 8, no. 1/2,70–84.

Salminen, J., Lerkkanen, M.-K., Poikkeus, A.-M., Siekkinen, M., Pakarinen, E., Hännikäinen, M., Poikonen, P.-L., & Rasku-Puttonen, H. (2012). Observed classroom quality profiles of kindergarten classrooms in Finland. Early Education and Development, 23, 654–677.

Salminen, J., Hännikäinen, M., Poikonen, P.-L., & Rasku-Puttonen, H. (2013a). A descriptive case analysis of instructional teaching practices in Finnish preschool classrooms. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 27, 127–152.

Salminen, J., Hännikäinen, M., Poikonen, P.-L., & Rasku-Puttonen, H. (2013b). Teachers’ contribution to the social life in Finnish preschool classrooms during structured learning sessions. Early Child Development and Care, DOI:10.1080/03004430.2013.793182.

Sandberg, A., & Eriksson, A. (2010). Children’s participation in preschool – on the conditions of the adults? Preschool staff’s concepts of children’s participation in preschool everyday life. Early Child Development and Care, 180, 619–631.

Statistics Finland. (2012). Suomen virallinen tilasto (SVT): Esi- ja peruskouluopetus. [Official Finnish statistics: Preschool and primary education]. Helsinki: Tilastokeskus. Retrieved from http://www.tilastokeskus.fi/til/pop/index.html

Taguma, M., Litjens, I., & Makowiecki, K. (2012). Quality Matters in Early Childhood Education and Care: Finland. Organisation for Economic Co-operation, & Development (OECD). Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/preschoolandschool/49985030.pdf

Vygotksy, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.