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EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Volume 12, Issue 9 (September 2016), pp. 2399-2417

DOI: 10.12973/eurasia.2016.1275a

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Research Article

Published online on Jun 29, 2016

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Science Learning and Graphic Symbols: An Exploration of Early Years Teachers’ Views And Use of Graphic Symbols When Teaching Science

Maria Kambouri, Eliada Salowm Pampoulou, Myria Pieridou & Michael Allen


The study investigated early years teachers’ understanding and use of graphic symbols, defined as the visual representation(s) used to communicate one or more “linguistic” concepts, which can be used to facilitate science learning.  The study was conducted in Cyprus where six early years teachers were observed and interviewed. The results indicate that the teachers had a good understanding of the role of symbols, but demonstrated a lack of understanding in regards to graphic symbols specifically. None of the teachers employed them in their observed science lesson, although some of them claimed that they did so. Findings suggest a gap in participants’ acquaintance with the terminology regarding different types of symbols and a lack of awareness about the use and availability of graphic symbols for the support of learning. There is a need to inform and train early years teachers about graphic symbols and their potential applications in supporting children’s learning. 

Keywords: early years education, graphic symbols, inclusive practice, science education, teaching.

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