Preschool Teachers’ Role in Establishing Joint Action During Children’s Free Inquiry in STEM
Keywords:preschool, STEM, joint action theory of didactics, programming
With science and digitalization emphasized further in the new Swedish preschool curriculum, there is a need to clarify teachers’ role in educating children in and about these areas. In the present study, the Joint Action Theory of Didactics has been used to analyze the didactic game taking place between teachers and children in two preschools during inquiry-based STEM activities, with and without the use of robots during programming. The results highlight different coaching strategies used by the teachers and how these strategies promote the joint actions during children’s STEM inquiry integrating programming and science. Interestingly, the joint action-strategies used by the teachers are similar and independent of whether the programming involves digital tools or not. Such strategies involve establishing a common ground of knowledge in the group and hands-on teaching. Both teachers start with teacher-scaffolded activities that develop into free inquiry and exploration through the children’s own ideas, coached by the teachers on both individual and collaborative levels. The findings add to the discussion about how teachers can coach preschool children’s learning and inquiry of programming and STEM – implications for preschool practice are discussed.