ERG SES H 08, Education and Teachers' Practice
Shared knowledge construction and implementation in early childhood teaching
Professional practice of early childhood education largely consists of interactive education, care giving, teaching and guiding in various educational environments. The essential point in early childhood education is the shared interpretations of community of educators. Therefore it is important to find out, how community of practice of early childhood educators constructs and shares it`s pedagogical knowledge and educational practices. Thus, the aim of this study is to present
- What is the content of early childhood teacher`s shared professional knowledge, and
- How professional knowledge is represented in early childhood practice
Early childhood education communities differs how conscious they are about the dominant culture of their own. Research shows that a great variety exists among preschool and daycare centers in these respects (e.g. Brotherus 2004, 3; Karila & Nummenmaa 2006; Karila & Kupila 2010.) Culture is still strongly present and effects working community`s members cognitive structures and processes. One influences community`s culture and the way to share knowledge, ideas and innovations by investing collective way of work, reflection and dialogue. The study is related to teacher knowledge research and early childhood educational research with context of multi professionalism, community of practice.
The theoretical orientation of this study is based on socio-cultural view, coming originally from Vygotsky`s cultural-historical theory. According this view, in addition to inner mental processes, learning and professionalism also develops in a social interaction and this development is always influenced by other persons, environment and culture. (Wertsch & Toma 1995, 56.) Socio-cultural theory are considered meaningful framework especially when the focus is on trying to understand learning in communities.
As Vygotsky (1982) states human made products, artefacts, are functioning as transmitters, and with help of those artefacts we can perceive the world and the way we learn and think. Most significant transmitter in Vygotsky`s theory is language, which he describes as a psychological tool, because individual analyzes and shares experiences and builds common understanding with language. Language is a construction, within one states personality and awareness. According Gergen (1994, 72) social reality builds again in every interaction and verbal interaction takes place in social environment, in dialogue.
The intent of multiprofessional work is to achieve something, that one man can`t achieve alone. Successful multiprofessional collaboration demands mutual understanding of various occupational group`s cultural values and axioms. Several researchers believe that to observe and contemplate expertise from individual`s perspective isn`t enough to respond the changing needs of work life. Nowadays expertise is being contemplated as knowledge between people and as a process during group members join knowledge and create new knowledge. Expertise is widely contemplated to consist of formal, practical and metacognitive knowledge. (Bereiter & Scardamalia 1993; Vosniadou 1996.) Theoretical background is well accepted as a proof of expertise, but practical work experience is also acknowledged as an essential part of expertise. Quality of experience is seen to be more eminent part of growing expertise than quantity. The concept tacit knowledge means wordless form of knowledge in individual`s and common knowing (Toom 2006). To make this tacit knowledge to explicit, one requires reflection and with this reflection process develops metacognitive knowledge. According to Wenger (1998) to recognize and share this tacit knowledge, it requires participation interaction with other people, for example with dialogue, reflection, stories or by metaphors. The latest expression is epistemic work, which means especially process of explicit and tacit knowledge between individual and group (Cook & Brown 1999).
Allard-Poesi, F. 1998. Representations and influence processes in groups: Toward a socio-cognitive perspective on cognition in organization. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 14 (4), pp. 395-420. Akgun, A., Lynn, G. & Byrne, B. 2003. Organizational learning: A socio-cognitive framework. Human relations, Vol. 53 (7), pp. 839-868. Bereiter, C. & Scardamalia, M. 1993. Surpassing Ourselves. An inquiry into the nature and implications of expertise. Chicago & La Salle: Open Court. Brotherus, A. 2004. Esiopetuksen toimintakulttuuri lapsen näkökulmasta. Helsingin yliopisto. Soveltavan kasvatustieteen laitos. Tutkimuksia 251. Helsinki; Yliopistopaino. Cook, S. & Brown, J. 1999. Bridging Epistemologies: The Generative Dance Between Organizational Knowledge and Organizational Knowing. Organization Science. Vol. 10, No. 4, 381-400. Elbaz, F. 1981. The teacher’s “practical knowledge”: Report of a case study. Curriculum Inquiry, 11(1), 43–71. Gass, S. M., & Mackey, A. 2000. Stimulated recall methodology in second language research. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Gergen, K. J. 1994. Realities and Relationship. Soundins in Social Construction. London: Sage. Hakkarainen, K., Lallimo, J. & Toikka, S. 2012. Kollektiivinen asiantuntijuus ja jaetut tietokäytännöt. Aikuiskasvatustiede 32 (4), 246-256. Karila, K. & Kupila, P. 2010. Varhaiskasvatuksen työidentiteettien muotoutuminen eri ammattilaissukupolvien ja ammattiryhmien kohtaamisissa. Työsuojelurahaston hanke 108267. Loppuraportti. Tampereen yliopisto, opettajankoulutuslaitos. Varhaiskasvatuksen yksikkö. Karila, K. & Nummenmaa, A. R. 2006. Kasvatusvuorovaikutus ja yhteisöllinen työkulttuuri. Teoksessa K. Karila, M. Alasuutari, M. Hännikäinen, A. R. Nummenmaa & H. Rasku-Puttonen (toim.) Kasvatusvuorovaikutus. Tampere: Vastapaino, 34-47. Newhouse, P., Cowan, E., Lane, J. & Brown, C. 2007. Reflecting on Teaching Practices using Digital Video Representation in Teacher Education. Vol. 32(3), 1-12. Polanyi, M. 1973. Personal Knowledge. Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Toom, A. 2006. Tacit Pedagogical Knowing. At the Core of Teacher’s Professionality. University of Helsinki. Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Research Report 276. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino. Tynjälä, P. Nuutinen, A., Eteläpelto, A., Kirjonen, J. & Remes, P. 1997. The Acquisition of Professional Expertise – a challenge for educational research. Scandinavain Journal of Educational Research 41 (3-4), 475-494. Vosniadou, S. 1996. Towards a revised cognitive psychology for new advances in learning and instruction. Learning and Instruction 6, 95-109. Vygotski, L. S. 1982. Ajattelu ja kieli. Espoo: Weilin + Göös. Wenger, E. 1998. Communities of Practice. Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wertsch, J., C. & Toma, C. 1995. Discourse and Learning in Glassroom: A Sociocultural Approach. Teoksessa L. Steffe & J. Gale Constructivism in Education. Hove, Uk: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate, Inc. Publishers, 159-174.
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