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How do children understand graphical symbols?
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2014 (English)In: Presented at N 3. Early Childhood Research, NERA 2014, 42nd Congress on "Education for Sustainable Development", Lillehammer, Norway, 5-7 March 2014, 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We live in a communication society where we are exposed daily to graphical symbols such as, road signs, text, icons on Internet, notes, letters, numbers, maps, logos and graphs.  The question is how do children understand graphical symbols and how could teachers in preschool promote children’s learning about the communicative functions of symbols?

Research aim

The topic of this study is to generate knowledge about children´s understanding of graphical symbols. This knowledge is an example of what we could call a “preschool-content” and that could contribute to a didactic knowledge of Swedish preschool.

Theoretical framework

The theoretical basis of the study is variation theory (Marton & Tsui, 2004). This theory conceptualizes learning in terms of differentiation and integration.

Research design

Two empirical studies are reported. The first is about two children in the age span of 4-5 years. How they spontaneous handle graphical symbols in their everyday life at home are followed over time. In the second empirical study, the findings from the first study and theoretical insight from variation theory are orchestrated in a preschool center with two teachers and twelve children, to see if these principles can be functional in supporting children’s development of symbolic understanding. Both studies are based on video data.

Expected findings

The study shows how the learning of symbols can be described in terms of continuous differentiation. An important result is that variation and meta-communication are two keys in the learning process. Through conducting this empirical study, three principles can easily be put to use in preschool in order to provide support for all children to develop an understanding of graphical symbols.

Relevance for Nordic Educational research

An important subject in the Nordic countries in relation to the changes in the curricula’s as well as in education of preschool teachers is how content like the communicative function of symbols can be handled in preschool education.

 

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Pedagogics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-43578OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-43578DiVA: diva2:816310
Conference
NERA 2014, 42nd Congress on "Education for Sustainable Development", Lillehammer, Norway, 5-7 March 2014
Available from: 2015-06-03 Created: 2015-06-03 Last updated: 2017-03-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf