Early childhood teachers’ interaction in the classroom: An analysis from the Mediated Learning Experience

Year: 2018

Author: Guerra, Paula, Figueroa, Ignacio

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

High-quality early childhood education may have long-term and positive effects on children’s development while teachers’ role in the classroom becomes a fundamental aspect in this process. Specific demands emerge at this level, especially in the improvement of practices that, in the Chilean context, present important deficiencies in the type of activities and the quality of pedagogical interactions. Consequently, early childhood teachers must improve their practices and professional learning in order to develop adequate interaction with children.
A theoretical perspective that addresses teacher’s interaction is the Structural Cognitive Modifiability Theory. In this approach, mediation is a central concept that refers to a process by which a person, typically a teacher or a parent, intervenes and fosters learners’ skills to understand, learn from, and shape their environment. Mediated Learning Experience (MLE) refers to the way in which human interaction transforms the environment and the stimuli to enable the learner’s development and learning process. MLE is described by the presence of three universal parameters that should be part of any interaction: intentionally and reciprocity, transcendence, and meaning. Besides, other nine situational parameters could be present if the culture and task require them.
In this context, an exploratory study was carried out with a focus on teaching practices. For this purpose, 15 minute daily routine of four teachers were videorecorded, with teachers’ and parents’ ethical approval by an informed consent. Videos were analysed by using a guideline with several indicators that described the mediational parameters, both universal and situational. The analysis was performed by an expert in this theoretical approach who used the aforementioned guideline.
Results, obtained from the observation of data, show universal criteria in teachers’ interaction in multiple occasions. Specifically, the mediation of intentionality and reciprocity were observed by stimulus adaptation and the verbalization of the experience aims. Besides, mediation of transcendence was present in the establishment of relations with previous experiences and transference strategies. Finally, mediation of meaning was identified in teachers’ explicit personal meaning regarding the aims of the activity.
Situational parameters were also observed in several times during teachers’ interactions. In four teachers’ practice, self-regulation strategies were identified in actions, such as impulsivity regulation by the teachers and the collective elaboration of self-regulation strategies. Mediation of sharing behavior, feeling of competence and individuation were observed by the promotion of a group identity, encouragement of diversity in children’s opinions and explicit recognition of children’s participation during the activities carried out.