Systems thinking skills of preschool children in early childhood education contexts of Turkey and Germany

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2018
Feriver Gezer, Şebnem
The goal of this thesis is two-fold. The first goal is to conceptualize nature of the systems thinking skills of 4- to 6-year-old preschool children. Accordingly, an individual story reading and interview session was realized with 52 Turkish and German children. Then the nature of the children’s systems thinking skills were conceptualized by making use of a developmental rubric which was created as part of this study. The second goal of this study is to explore potential educational contextual key variables that may have an impact on systems thinking skills of young children. Accordingly, interacti on patterns among aspects of systems thinking skills within the Turkish and German mainstream and alternative educational contexts were examined by utilizing a comparative multiple case study approach. The findings of this study indicated that young children do show some signs of complex understanding regarding systems thinking in terms of detecting obvious gradual changes, two-step domino and/or multiple one-way causalities, and describing behavior of a balancing loop. However, their capacity was found to be limited in detecting a reinforcing loop, hidden components and processes, understanding system mechanisms, demonstrating multi-dimensional perspective, solving problem through high-leverage interventions, and predicting the future behavior of the system. In addition to these, findings indicated that age and lingual background of the child, duration of attending a preschool, facilitating children’s conflict resolution, seeing and touching the systems explicitly, project-based learning, critical thinking, cognitively challenging questions, teachers and lack of systems thinking approach could be related to the systems thinking skills of children.

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Citation Formats
Ş. Feriver Gezer, “Systems thinking skills of preschool children in early childhood education contexts of Turkey and Germany,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2018.