University of Helsinki
Department of Teacher education

Reunamo, Jyrki
Olemassaoleva ja muotoutuva vuorovaikutuksen hahmottaminen:
Toimintatutkimus Helsingin lastentarhanopettajaopistossa.

Existing and changeable perception of interaction: Action research at the Helsinki Kindergarten College.

This study investigates action research, where the utility of the theory of changeable perception is tested in the training of kindergarten teachers. The theoretical part of the study makes a contrast between existing and changeable perceptions. Existing perception is seen as a way to relate systems to structures. With existing perception, action is seen to move from past to future. The perception of change paradigm concentrates on relationships which are influencing the present state of a system. If a system is to be accurately described, the perceptions of those who intend to describe the system, need to change with the system.

Object oriented planning, the educational process, and the evaluation of education are the main concerns of this study. Perceptions of existing systems can be criticized if they are effect orientation, as they would then find it difficult to relate to changes in the systems. A changing system needs to be viewed with changeable perception in order to adequately explain any participative action in the system.

In this action research, both teachers and students were involved in developing the methods used. The experiment was executed in the academic year of 1991-1992. The participants were 32 first-year students. The preparation, execution and evaluation of the experiment was documented in several ways. The empirical part of the research is based on this documented material.

To be an effective agent of change, those responsible for change must be aware of their own participation in the development of a process. This can only be done by actively engaging the changing systems. In order to achieve this end, three kinds of working practices were developed, these were; didactic practices in the kindergarten, ways to integrate theory to practice, and the students' efforts to participate in the development of their own kindergarten teacher practices.

The experiment is reported by evaluating the documented actions. The students attitudes towards the experiment and themselves is also evaluated. It appears that the students really participated in the experiment to the same extent as the others. The students had to deal with a working method which required their contribution for the enrichment of a common reality. This mode of investigation, and the perspective with which it viewed the problems, gave us a new vantage point to view participative and changing early childhood education. The experiment also highlighted the problems of effect and change in education.

Keywords: Interaction, action theory, action research, early childhood education, adult education