Åsta Birkeland

Åsta Birkeland

When I saw the announcement for the ISCAR Summer School I was very excited and saw immediately that this could be useful for my PhD work.

At the moment I am in my second year working with my PhD in Education. In my PhD I will use CHAT as a theoretical framing for my analysis. It will therefore be useful for me to study Leontjev and  Vygotsky`s theory  more closely and also other Russian theories. I assume that a summer school like this will give me a deeper understanding of my theoretical framework and important concepts. It will also give me a possibility to try out my analysis. This is my main motivation for applying for the ISCAR Summer School.

Secondly, I am  sure that presenting my work at the Iscar Summer School will give me the opportunity to be challenged by others, both in my analysis and use of concepts.

Thirdly , I think that attending a Summer School like ISCAR will also give me a possibility to develop a network with other researchers with the same theoretical  interest.

My research project is a comparative case study of preschool teachers from both China and Norway. Chinese Early Childhood Education is also influenced by Russian thinkers. When doing comparative research it is of great importance to understand ideological and theoretical similarities. I think the Summer School will give me this opportunity.

I am older than most PhD students (57). This may be a disadvantage for me since you probably have to favor young people becoming researchers. On the other hand, I have many years of experience within preschool teacher education which may be a contribution to the Summer School.

One of my mentors, Professor Inger Eriksson, is familiar with CHAT. She introduced me to this theoretical and methodological approach. I have been asked to write an article for a special issue of the Cultural Historical Journal with guest editor Elin Eriksen Ødegaard. She is the head of the project Kindergarten as an arena for cultural formation where I take part.

In my Master thesis I was working with Bakhtin`s concept of dialogue, so it seems that I lean towards Russian theories in my academic work.

Presentation “Individualization as educational idea(l)s – a cross-cultural study of kindergarten teachers` educational practice”
Download presentation of the speech (PDF, 341KB)