Learning to teach mathematics in preschool through theory-driven interventions.

Björklund, C., Ekdahl, A. L.


The study investigates how kindergarten teachers' ways of perceiving mathematics teaching for kindergarten children are reflected in their own way of teaching. The study takes a closer look at how this perception is changed by a professional development project over the course of one year. The research question is: How does kindergarten teachers' way of perceiving the task of teaching numbers to kindergarten children change when they participate in a professional development project based on variation theory principles?


The study shows that kindergarten teachers changed the way they viewed mathematics teaching after participating in a professional development project based on variation theory principles. They became more aware of specific teaching situations. These teaching situations can be divided into three categories: 1. To teach what is already known, 2. Teaching according to a manuscript, 3. Use of theoretical principles. The researchers conclude that variation theory principles made it possible to reflect more on one's own mathematics teaching, and on how the teaching falls into the three categories. The researchers behind the study believe this opens up the possibilities for teaching characterised by greater variation, which is more adapted to the different categories.


The researchers observed and interviewed a total of nine kindergarten teachers in the project. They used observations from authentic teaching situations over the course of a year and also had one-to-one interviews with the kindergarten teachers. The interviews were conducted at the end of the project period.


Björklund, C. & Ekdahl, A. L. (2021) “Learning to teach mathematics in preschool through theory-driven interventions”. Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, 26 (3-4):11–28.

Financed by

The Swedish Research Council, Sweden