For many years, learning the competences to teach mathematics in early education at university has been associated with the ability to reproductively apply methodological guidelines. Currently, however, the need to not only understand the mathematical meanings given by teachers, but also students of the specialty, are seen to be important. This article attempts to engage in an interpretive line of thinking with regard to mathematics education, coming from the perspective of students learning to be early education teachers. Their understanding of the contexts for learning mathematical concepts, as well as their sensitivity to the processes of constructing mathematical knowledge by very young pupils, being a way of predicting what educational activities will be undertaken in the classroom in the future. This text is the result of qualitative analyses of written essays of early education students, where respondents had to make conceptualizations of their beliefs by justifying the selection of particular declarative statements. Students’ mathematical meanings were also uncovered in their strategies for solving mathematical problems for very young pupils. Moreover, the results of this analyses provides a context for reading the students’ understanding of mathematics learning processes.
In the text, a polemic is undertaken against the model of the child expected in Polish institutions of early childhood education, and which appropriates the rationalities producing social practices. The source of this model is in the logic of standardization whose cognitive and effects on identity are criticized by the author. Identifying the sources of validation of the practices normalizing some children and stigmatizing others, who do not meet the requirements of the cognitively rigid and morally trivialized standards, the text points to developmental psychology as a discipline which potentially triggers this form of oppression. In conclusion, the author describes briefly a number of examples of educational solutions in which an attempt has been made to move beyond the discourse of standardized quality in child education.
The term “metalearning”, which was introduced into scientific literature by J. Biggs (1985) is, broadly speaking, an awareness of one’s own learning process and exercising control over it. Metalearning, whose roots lie in the personal, early experiences of the child related to learning, and which is expressed in her or his current concepts – is considered in this article as a basic condition for the acquisition of one of the key competences of 21st century man, namely, the learning competence. Recognizing the importance of colloquial concepts of learning, as well as their uniqueness and contextuality – in the article I will present the main problems associated with learning about the vision and understanding of the personal worlds of the learning of pupils, coming at the end of early education. On the basis of analysis of the scientific literature and previous studies conducted abroad, as well as a number of my own research projects (resulting from the application of quantitative or qualitative approach), I will present questions, doubts and selected emerging difficulties in the application of both the presented research approaches.
The goal of this paper is to discuss changes implemented in Danish early childhood education influenced by neoliberal ideology, and views concerning the new requirements for teachers (pedagogues) at private and self-owned kindergartens. The paper describes the historical tradition of Danish kindergartens based on children’s free play and democracy, allowing children to develop social skills and cognition through exploration and discovery, and giving practitioners a great deal of autonomy. The new trend in Danish early childhood education is towards detailed planning of work and accountability-based-assessment, which contradicts the traditional philosophy. It pushes teachers to create programs that develop children’s readiness for school and to implement teaching methods based on educational standards mandated by the government. The results of this research project, based on interviews conducted with teachers and educational experts, demonstrates the educators’ criticism of this new approach and their attempts to save democracy as a central value in education
In this text the author poses a question about the direction of the evolution of early childhood education, considering its specificity in the context of the academic nature of pedagogy itself and its historical development, and especially the modern trend for interdisciplinarity. The author associates sources of diversity of this sub-discipline with a focus on the child, emphasizing, on the one hand, the setting of the sub-discipline in the tradition, especially pedological and, on the other hand, a growing and critical phenomenological perspective of research in this area. In conclusion he emphasizes that a reorientation of the multi paradigmatic research conducted in early childhood pedagogy, its openness to differences, but also the use of the methodology of the humanities and social studies recognized by the international community of scholars, make this sub-discipline of learning begin to regain the appellation of an integral discipline.
In this text, a critical reflection is presented on assessment practices in early childhood education, which are discussed in the context of the creation by those practices of the students’ sense of agency which, according to J. Bruner, is treated as a category of school culture. The discussion is based on the results of the recent research conducted in Poland on students’ agency and an analysis of the data collected as part of the author’s own research. The picture obtained by using the triangulation of methods and sources confirms that assessment in early childhood education strips children of the opportunity to build a sense of agency, even in terms of independent control of a task situation. The surveyed students, admittedly, are capable of a relatively independent reflection on the context of school assessment, but the world of their educational experience is limited to the incapacitating culture of the school grade. It is a culture that becomes one of the sources of children’s self-restraint in the perception of themselves as agents, perpetuating their external steerability and passivity. To change this situation, external regulations will not suffice, but only the organizing of the learning environment based on the relationship between the teacher and the student, which is free from the daily pressures of assessment and the worship of formal correctness.
The article analyses the issue of the potential development of theoretical thinking in young children. The context for this discussion is found in the cultural and historical development theory of L.S. Vygotsky which constitutes the basis for assumptions regarding the thinking about development and education of children. It highlights the elementary education stage as a very important area of designing „developmental teaching” as understood by Vygotsky. The article emphasizes the role of an adult who builds the scaffolding for the child’s thinking and acting, and establishes the conditions and teaching environment necessary for the performance of a cognitive process directed at the development of theoretical thinking. In the author’s opinion building the foundation for theoretical thinking will be possible when teachers set „the right developmental and educational tasks” for a child who is constructing knowledge.