Matematiserande i förskolan: Geometri i multimodal interaktion
- Location: sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala
- Doctoral student: Gejard, Gabriella
- About the dissertation
- Organiser: Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier
- Contact person: Gejard, Gabriella
The aim of the dissertation is to contribute with knowledge about mathematizing in preschools, by empirically and analytically examining mathematizing as accomplished in children’s multimodal interactions with each other and their pedagogues in everyday activities. Theoretically and analytically the dissertation is based on an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspective (EM/CA) (e.g. Goodwin, 2000; Heritage, 1984), which highlights multimodal interaction and communication in social contexts. Mathematizing is defined as participation in mathematical discourse (Sfard, 2008). A special interest is directed to how preschool children use talk, embodied actions and other semiotic resources as they orient to mathematics in play and other activities. The dissertation is based on ethnographic fieldwork combined with video recordings of everyday mathematizing in two Swedish preschools with children 3–5 years old.
The findings are presented in three studies. The first study examines how mathematical activities emerge in children’s interactions with each other and with their pedagogues. Whether it is the children or the pedagogues who initiate the activity, the children are shown to be actively involved in the construction of the emerging mathematical content. Geometric shapes as well as different aspects of number sense are a couple of the mathematical topics covered in the study. The second study explores children’s mathematizing in the block play area, with an interest in preschoolers’ displayed understandings of geometry (spatiality, shape, symmetry) (Seo, 2003). The study demonstrates how the participants orient to different spatial phenomena as they work with a construction toy. The children are shown to rely upon verbal and embodied resources such as deictics and pointing gestures as geometrical aspects are actualized in their interaction. The third study investigates mathematizing with an interest in how geometrical shapes are made relevant in interaction in two consecutive pedagogical activities: reading and painting. The results of the study demonstrate how naming (baptizing) (Sfard, 2008) of geometrical shapes are central in the two activities. In the painting activity an aesthetic dimension was actualized in the children’s discourse, that somewhat obscured the mathematical content in the activity. The study thus shows the complexity of the relations between the activities. Together the studies contribute with knowledge on preschool children’s everyday mathematizing, in particular children’s appropriation of a geometric discourse as it emerges in the unfolding flow of multimodal interaction. Through the use of an EM/CA perspective the dissertation contributes with new theoretical and methodological approaches to research on mathematics in preschools.