Engineers and engineering through the eyes of preschoolers: a phenomenographic study of children's drawings


Ata-Akturk A., DEMİRCAN H. Ö.

EUROPEAN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION RESEARCH JOURNAL, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/1350293x.2021.1974067
  • Title of Journal : EUROPEAN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION RESEARCH JOURNAL
  • Keywords: Drawings, early engineering education, perception, phenomenography, STEM, STEM CURRICULUM, YOUNG-CHILDREN, PERCEPTIONS, CONCEPTIONS, TECHNOLOGY, CLASSROOM, AMERICAN, THINKING, SCIENCE, GENDER

Abstract

This study aimed to explore how preschoolers perceive engineers and engineering by using their drawings. For this aim, phenomenography was used as a research approach. The data were collected using the draw-and-tell technique and through the drawing and explanation related parts of the Draw an Engineer Test. Totally, 436 preschool children from 16 different cities in Turkey were asked to draw an engineer and narrate their drawings. The data were analyzed using inductive content analysis. Findings indicated that some children did not reveal an understanding of engineer or engineering via their drawings (n = 50). A limited number of children (n = 17) had a perception of engineer parallel to the definition of the engineer in the literature. Most children (n = 199) tended to perceive engineering as a male-specific and physical work and represented engineers while working outdoors (n = 147); building structures or constructing machinery (n = 156). This research implies that preschoolers should have a higher amount of opportunity to explore engineering in everyday life with the empowerment of teachers, parents, and community members.