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Social competence – preschool teachers perspectives

Conference paper
Authors Sonja Sheridan
Pia Williams
Published in OMEP XXVI World Congress
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Subject categories Pedagogy

Abstract

Despite a long tradition, focusing on children’s social competence in preschool, we have limited knowledge of the constitution of social competence and the meaning given to this concept by the teachers. The aim of the present study is to analyze and interpret social competence from the perspective of Swedish preschool teachers’ verbal expressions, both in relation to preschool children and as part of their own profession. Questions asked are: what meaning do teachers give to social competence in relation to preschool children and as part of their own profession? The theoretical and conceptual framework is based on interactionistic perspectives in which individuals and environment influence and is influenced by each other in a continuous interaction (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, 1997; Sommer, 2003). From these perspectives social competences develops in a complex interplay between teacher and child, between the teachers and the children in preschool. The study is conducted in 30 Swedish preschools in three geographical regions. Interviews are used to capture the teachers expressions about social competence related to themselves and to the children. The study follows the ethical codex by the Swedish ethical review board. Results show that the meaning given to social competence is both similar and differ depending on if it is related to their own profession or the development of the child. The results will lead to knowledge, which can be used by teachers and educators to develop their own competence and to create better conditions for children’s learning of social competence in preschool.

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