06 SES 07, Trans-Disciplinary Exploration and Digital Materials
Recent educational steering documents have highlighted the mathematical ability of children and their way of learning mathematics and using mathematics in different contexts (Preschool Curriculum, Lpfö). Today, there is much evidence suggesting that children do not explore the world by subject, but rather, create meaning through different “languages” such as writing, reading, dance and movement – involving all senses (Dahlberg & Moss, 2005; Lenz-Taguchi, 2010). The focus of this study is the trans-disciplinary cooperation between children, in which mathematics constitutes one of these “languages”. Kress (1997) refers to the trans-disciplinary exploration of children as “multi-modality” and Deleuze & Guattari (1987) call it “rhizomatic thinking”, i.e. learning and thinking where different disciplinary and verbal phenomena cooperate in a complex and dynamic way.
The aim of this study is to contribute understanding of the trans-disciplinary exploration of children, in constructing the choreography of the “Dance of the dinosaurs” where mathematics is one of the disciplines used. The 26 participating children attend a preschool-class and are between 6 and 7 years old. The central question is: In what way does children´s trans-disciplinary exploration emerge? Other questions are: What could be learned about the mathematical understanding of children through their applications? What problems emerge during the process and how are the children acting?
The theoretical position of the study, which can be referred to as “dialogical research” (Alvesson & Deets, 2000) as applied to pedagogical investigation, was that the suppositions and theories of modernity, indicating a difference between humans and the environment, between subject and object, internal and external, theoretical and practical, are being avoided. It is my belief that “dialogical research” also enables us to incorporate different theories, including older ones. Hence, I see a possibility to comment on parts of the cultural historical theory of Vygotskij (1987; 1995), and concurrently turn to the post-modern and post-structural perspectives presented in Derrida (1998; 2005), Levinas (2005) and Deleuze & Guattari (1987). Common to these perspectives is that they question the dichotomies created between the individual and society, the internal and external, the aesthetic and the rational. Vygotskij (1987) chose to talk about dialectical relationships, while the post-modern theories talk about complexity and multiplicity.
As in the post-modern perspective, Vygotskij (1987) shows how created knowledge can never be a reflection of factual circumstances. The conscious is dynamic and changeable and the process is dialectic in constant movement between the internal and the external. In this study, I turn to Vygotskij’s theory of “making unfamiliar”, the role of the imagination in creating knowledge, the theory of activity. At the same time, I base my investigation on the post-modern and post-structural creation of theory according to Derrida’s theory of deconstructive conversation (Derrida, 1998; 2005) and Deleuze’s concept of knowledge, rhizomal knowledge (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987). In these perspectives, knowledge is not seen as something universal, unchanged and absolute. How the process will end, and what course it will take, is open. The theoretical framework is further based on Levinas (2005) concerning the understanding of deconstructive conversations, how children create something new in these and how they respect the otherness of Others, as discussed by Levinas. All pedagogy has an ethical starting point, based on how we regard the Other. The view that knowledge and learning are rhizomal, resembling the growths of a tangled root, as proposed by Deleuze and Guattari (1987), is also part of the framework. According to this, trans-disciplinary exploration can be regarded as the way children learn, where nobody knows where the exploration is heading or where it originates from.
Alvesson, M., & Deets, S. (2000). Kritisk samhällsvetenskaplig metod.( Critical methodology of social science. )Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur. Dahlberg, G., & Moss, P. (2005). Ethics and Politics in Early Childhood Education. London: Routledge/Falmer. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Masumi, B. (transl.) Minneapolis, MS: University of Minnesota Press. Derrida, J. (1998). Of Grammatology. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press. Derrida, J. (2005). Rouges: Two Essays on Reason. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Kress, G. (1997). Before Writing. Rethinking the Paths to Literacy. London: Routledge.Lenz-Taguchi ,H. (2010).Rethinking pedagogical practices in early childhood education: a multidimensionell approach to learning and inclusion. In Contemporary perspectives on early childhood education. Edited by Yelland, N. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Levinas, E. (2005). Totality and Infinity, an Essay on Exteriority. Pittsburg, PA: Duquesne University Press. Lenz-Taguchi,H. (2010).Rethinking pedagogical practices in early childhood education: a multidimensionell approach to learning and inclusion. In Contemporary perspectives on early childhood education. Edited by Yelland, N. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Malaguzzi, L. (1981).Interview with Loris Malaguzzi by Karin Wallin in I.K A child has got hundred languages. About the creative pedagogy in the daycare centers in Reggio Emilia. (In Swedish: Intervju med Loris Malaguzzi av Karin Wallin. I K. Wallin, mfl. Ett barn har hundra språk. Om den skapande pedagogiken på de kommunala daghemmen I Reggio Emilia Italien. Stockholm, Sweden: Sveriges utbildningsradio AB. Patton, M.Q. (1990). Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods. London: SAGE. Rinaldi, C., & Giuchi, C; Krechevsky, M. (Eds.). (2001). Project Zero. Making learning visible. Children as Individual and Group Learners. Reggio Emilia, Italy: Tipolografia La Reggiana. Swedish National Agency for Education. 1998. Läroplan för föskolan (Curriculum for preschool. Lpfö 98. Stockholm: Skolverket & CE Fritzes förlag Vygotskij, L.S. (1924/1971). The Psychology of Art. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Vygotskij, L.S. (1987). Thought and word. In: Rieberg, R., & Carton, A.S. (Eds.), The Collection of Works of L.S. Vygotskij. Vol. 1. Problems of General Psychology, including the Volume 1. Thinking and Speech. New York, NY: Plenum Press. Vygotskij, L.S. (1995). Imagination and creativity in childhood ( In Swedish :Fantasi och kreativitet I barndomen. ) Göteborg, Sweden: Daidalos.
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