About three percent of Taiwan’s natives are Taiwanese aboriginals, who have inhabited Taiwan at least 6,500 years before the arrival of other nationalities, primarily Chinese. The official number of tribes is 16. The indigenous peoples have suffered for centuries from economic and social discrimination. The segregation is still visible in today’s early childhood education in Taiwan. Dong Hwa University held a conference on 4.11.23 2023 Quality early childhood education conference: Embracing diversity, multidisciplinarity and compassion for the underprivileged. In the keynote presentation, Jyrki Reunamo described the results acquired by using Progressive Feedback observation. The data consisted of 2189 observations of the indigenous peoples of the Hualien region. The results clearly showed the difficulties in learning, rarer than usual experiences of happiness, few participating and less influential activities in the learning environment. Furthermore, teachers paid less personal attention to the aboriginal children. In addition, relationships with other children remained looser. The results describe the marginalized position of children with indigenous backgrounds and a looser shared interest. These children need more co-developing content in early childhood education.
The research team in Taiwan included Hui-Chun Lee (Tzu-Chi University), Li-Chen Wang (Chang Gung University), Hui-Hua Chen (Dong Hwa University) and Shu-Shuan Shih (Taitung University).
Taiwanese students from Taitung University did their practicum studies in Heikkilän päiväkoti, Kerava. The students showed remarkable sensitivity and consideration to support children and pedagogy. A big thank you to director Johanna Nevala for making it all possible. Special thank you to the staff introducing Finnish early education to the students!
Outi Arvola, Pia Liljeroth, and Jyrki Reunamo have been analyzing the Progressive feedback data of culturally and linguistically diverse children’s physical activity concerning their participation. It is well known that physical activity affects the well-being of children, the average physical activity of children of different language and cultural backgrounds is at a good level (click on the table). However, the problem with these children is their less active social role in early childhood education and more frequent interruptions in the involvement of the learning processes. The data of Progressive Feedback shows that increased movement is connected with increased social participation and increased commitment to sustainable learning processes. A third of the sustainable and developing activity took place during a time of plenty of movement. The observational results show that exercise has increased participation and building social processes with culturally and linguistically diverse children. Movement is not only a physical activity, but it is also important for finding a place in the construction of a common and sustainable social reality. People from different language and cultural backgrounds can brush up on this already in early childhood education with the help of exercise. The research result is significant when developing pedagogical measures. Check out the article via the link below:
Arvola, O., Liljeroth, P. & Reunamo, J. (2023). Is physical activity a pathway to culturally and linguistically diverse children’s participation in early childhood education and care? Journal of Early Childhood Education Research 12(1), 150-168. https://journal.fi/jecer/article/view/117865/76580
Professor Hui-Hua Chen from the Taiwanese Dong Hwa University Department of Early Childhood Education has been granted to join our team in Finland July-November 2023. The Taiwan ministry of science and technology has given professor Chen a grant to study children’s processes of learning to read. The pedagogical choices connected with learning to read will also be explored. Finnish and Taiwanese practices will be compared based on a large random sample conducted in Taiwan and Finland.
We have observed children’s reading sessions when the adult reads for the children and when children read books themselves. We have thousands of random observations of children’s reading processes. A comparison between two cultures gives perspective to understand the learning process not just as a personal learning task, but also as a culturally mediated production of shared understanding.
The Faculty of Education of the University of Turku has granted Outi Arvola a dissertation permit to defend her dissertation “Can you play with me? Culturally and linguistically diverse children’s participation and learning in the context of Finnish Early Childhood Education” in a public dissertation. Congratulations!
The material of the dissertation is the Progressive Feedback data. It highlights in a unique way how broad structural factors are clearly reflected in the close interaction of early childhood education as mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion. The future of the inclusion of children from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds is being built right now in early childhood education.
Indigenous peoples in Taiwan are widespread in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, although today they are a small minority, mainly in the mountainous areas of eastern Taiwan. Pictured is a children’s teacher with a map depicting areas where Taiwan’s indigenous genetic heritage still lives strong. The impact extends as far as Hawaii. The heritage and culture of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples are thus still strong in an area that covers more than 10% of the world’s surface! A wonderful teacher, aware of her and children’s roots, who guides children to face the challenges of the future.
Professor Elaine Shih and her team at Taitung University have just completed an observation on early childhood education for Indigenous peoples in Taiwan using Developing Feedback Observation. The material provides a unique picture of the current situation and upbringing of Indigenous children in Taiwan. Direct, random observations provide information about the daily life of these children and the factors that affect their well-being. This knowledge is important for these children, who are threatened in many ways and at risk of exclusion. The results include a wealth of clear development opportunities for children growing up in a vulnerable situation. A total of 1556 observations were made this time.
Children with non-Finnish cultural or linguistic background face challenges
to interact socially in the early childhood education context in
Finland. The new article with Progressive Feedback data clarifies what kind of social roles children typically have in ECE, and what sort of activities and play are
typical to children with Finnish and non-Finnish cultural or linguistic
background. The research data was systematically sampled large-scale
observation data (1147 children, 22,149 observations) of 5–6-year-old
children. According to our findings, non-social roles and less
participative actions were found to be more common among diverse
background children than with Finnish background children. Children
with diverse background were found to be more engaged especially in
rule play but they played less role play. The results suggest
that ECE educators could pay specific attention to play-based
interventions and to the shared cultural creation. In rule play the common context has the same rules for everybody, thus helping multicultural children to find a common ground more easily. However, in role play children create the play rules as the play progresses. In role play children create the play culture in a shared creation of the play world. In the Table, the observed roles of children with multicultural and Finnish background are presented.
Outi Arvola, Kaisa Pankakoski, Jyrki Reunamo & Minna Kyttälä (2020):
Culturally and linguistically diverse children’s participation and social roles in the Finnish Early Childhood Education – is play the common key?, Early Child Development and Care, DOI:10.1080/03004430.2020.1716744
To link to this articl e: https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2020.1716744
Anna-Leena Lastikka has studied in her licentiate thesis the experiences of multicultural children and families in Finland. The thesis name is Culturally and linguistically diverse children’s and families’ experiences of participation and inclusion in Finnish early childhood education and care. Currently, countries around the world are concerned with migration flows, which set challenges to the development of inclusive ECEC services. It is possible to build (see Figure) an empowering pedagogy that is based on the strengths, knowledge and active participation of children and families. The results of the study imply that to develop an inclusive and participatory ECEC pedagogy, more emphasis should be placed on building social cohesion and mutual understanding among all children, families and educators in the ECEC contexts. One of the thesis article is based on Progressive Feedback data. Read the thesis in here.
In Finland, we have been doing research on Early Education for long. Our comprehensive and deep results expose the hidden processes of inequality. The leading Finnish newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, had these research results as main news in 2 August 2019. Early Education can make headlines. This is important, because the processes of inequality are often unconscious and the best way for more equal future is to become aware of the small, but repeating obstacles of equality. The best way to enhance equality is to get a hold of the processes of inequality as early as possible. Read the article.
Professor James Ko from the Education University of Hong Kong is visiting Finland. We will test children’s self-management and pre-academic skills both in Finland and Hong Kong. Then we will observe children’s activities and teachers’ activities. in the follow-up study we will test the children again, seeking to find out what kind of learning environment and teaching style is best for children’s learning. This will help teachers, policymakers and parents understand how effective teaching in two contrastive contexts longitudinally affects children’s learning and their influences at multiple levels of surrounding contexts (classroom, school, education system). We will:
1. Examine the relationships between effective teaching and childhood development:
a) Whether children can learn more from teachers who show more positive teacher-student interactions;
b) Whether child-led, play-based teaching and teacher-led, academically-focused teaching approach have different impacts;
c) Whether a dominant type of teaching approach results in different learning outcomes;
2. To examine a) whether the above relationships change or strengthen over time (following up across three school years) and b) whether there are individual differences.
In the picture, you can see James presenting the pre-academic test. In our project we have already found several key indicators for a deep zone of proximal development. This is the first time we study the longitudinal effect of that zone!