Minding the gap. Dilemmas in a didactic and pragmatically informed teaching approach in preschool

Camilla Löf, Ann-Christine Vallberg Roth


Since the term “teaching” was apostrophized in the revised curriculum for Swedish preschool, preschool teachers seem to have been struggling with the concept in their day-to-day practices. The current article is based in a collaborative R&D programme aiming at further developing knowledge about what may characterize teaching in preschools. In this article a didactic and pragmatically informed teaching approach with focus on values is analysed. The aim is to understand preschool teachers’ interpretations of the didactic why question, which plays a central role in teaching from a pragmatic perspective. The material underlying the teaching approach consists of a total of 364 documents, including 64 video recordings. This was carried about in about 120 preschools and/or preschool departments in ten Swedish municipalities. The analysis takes a didactic approach and can be methodologically described as abductive analysis. The results indicate that the question “why?” in didactic and pragmatically informed teaching with focus on values is characterized by ethical dilemmas concerning rules and norms in preschool practice. Consequently, the ethical dilemmas are constituted as didactic dilemmas, in which preschool teachers, in co-actions with children, focus on values in teaching situations, and for which preschool teachers need to take actions without offending colleagues, children or parents.

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