Observation as a professional tool in Norwegian kindergartens and kindergarten teacher education
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBirkeland, J., Baste, V., Eriksen Ødegaard, E., & Kruk, R. (2020). Observation as a professional tool in Norwegian kindergartens and kindergarten teacher education. Cogent Education, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2020.1789381
Observation is one of the central elements of kindergarten teachers’ education and the profession. Through a survey in Norway, in which 1311 in-service teachers, kindergarten managers, and pedagogy teachers participated (response rate 39.9%), this study examines how the use of and rationale for observation in kindergarten practice and kindergarten teacher training are characterized, as well as which methods are deemed relevant. The results show that the respondents consider observation important, and participatory observation and narrative methodology appear to be the most used and profession-relevant. However, there is a gap between intention and practice in terms of observation, and systematic observation appears to be infrequent. This finding raises the issue of whether teachers in preschools truly execute observation as a method. Differences between the professions in terms of their focus area in observation were revealed, and, surprisingly, children’s learning, as a focus, was the least emphasized.