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Peer-Review Record

Reimagining “Collaborative Exploration”—A Signature Pedagogy for Sustainability in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5139; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095139
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Giambattista Bufalino
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5139; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095139
Received: 22 February 2021 / Revised: 24 April 2021 / Accepted: 28 April 2021 / Published: 4 May 2021

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The author attempts to write a conceptual paper that “uses an exemplary empirical narrative, an analysis of documents from educational history and knowledge of exploration as a mode of action to illustrate and support a line of reasoning” of signature pedagogy for sustainability in early childhood education. To do that, the author identify the key components and features of a signature pedagogy, i.e. collaborative exploration, dialogism and invisible third.

The reader has difficulties to follow the storyline of the paper since many theories, concepts and viewpoints are presented in the manuscript. The text is descriptive, and it strongly reflects the personal assumptions of the author (see e.g. first paragraph of Introduction). In total 34 references are used which is comparable small amount in a conceptual paper. The choice of the references is not articulated which shows a lack of criticism in choosing references. The author could argue why s/he has chosen exactly those theories and why neglected the others with similar contribution to educational history. The references should also be presented more in a dialogue with each other, i.e. how do they differ from each other, what is similar and why.

Abstract presents the key concepts of the manuscript. However, the text has repetition and is overwhelming for the reader to follow at some points. Also, keywords (8) point out the conceptual manifold. After reading the manuscript the reader is wondering why Friedrich Froebel is listed as a keyword and the other significant authors not (Hutt, Bakhtin, Shulman). Also, Early Childhood Education and Care is mentioned as a keyword. However, the concept is replaced with Early Childhood Education in the manuscript (written as early-childhood education). The author is recommended to use the same concepts throughout the manuscript and using an abbreviation (ECE or ECEC) if needed.

Signature pedagogy is shortly presented in Introduction. It would be beneficial to explain and clarify the pedagogy more in detail since the concept comes outside from ECEC discipline. A more elaborated description would also provide the reader with necessary understanding to reflect the following text more in detail.

A manuscript includes a vignette to illustrate a collaborative exploration. Even though the vignette is appropriate, its interpretation is superficial and methodological choices are not articulated, e.g. no references to methodological literature on using participatory observation. Also, some ethical concerns arose, e.g. whether children (not only parents) gave their informed consent to participate in the study. The author does not discuss trustworthiness of the vignette that is rewritten on the basis of observation conducted by the research assistant/teacher-artist. The manuscript does not also provide information about e.g. the age and quantity of children in the vignette.

Results section includes conceptual outline of the manuscript. The author has cited Friedrich Froebel for 2,5 pages. This text is not linked to newer, updated ECEC literature. Unlike a scientific article, the text seems to be unfortunately more of an essay or an extract content of Froebel´s pedagogy and not an analysis of the documents as the author claims. The idea of an essay-type of writing stays strong when the author e.g. writes “The first aspect coming to my mind…”. Scientific thinking does not stay in the first aspects but reflects critically the phenomena from different perspectives.

In chapter 3.3 the author introduces Figure 1. The figure introduces (again) more new concepts in the manuscript without (or with narrow) clarifications. The same mishmash continues in Table 1. The reader is left with many questions; most of all, what new does this manuscript provide if the figure and table are already published? Author´s choice to refer strongly to his/her own publications (20 % of the references) was excessive.

Finally, combining the signature pedagogy for sustainability in early-childhood education was weak. Social sustainability is mentioned in the manuscript but not well linked conceptually and theoretically to the research topic. Therefore, I suggest the author to do major revisions to the manuscript.

 

Author Response

Dear reviewer, I will thank you for a sharp reading and for providing so many details in your critique. This helped me to understand the lacks in my earlier version. I hope my revision will be a better read and satisfy your standards. See attachment for a detailed response to your critique.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and review this work. This fresh and original outlook is relevant and adds new ways of thinking collaborative exploration to the current scholarship on early childhood education literature.  While I appreciate the new insights that the author offers-which are well supported by relevant and up-to-date sources-I would like to highlight some of the points that the author can consider in order to improve the quality of the work.  My suggestions are not primarily content-related but relate to the logical organization and the clarity of the presentation of the paper.

  • The organization and structure of the paper. The paper presents well-developed pieces of work, but they are not organized in a coherent and logical way. This makes it difficult for the reader to follow the flow. The whole piece of the conceptual model should be more clearly presented. For example, the section (from line 53 to line 79) contains a number of "I" statements about what the author is going to do... By reading this, I had the impression that I was losing the logical structure of the paper. I would suggest that this part be presented in a more organized manner. It can be written more clearly, "The article is organized as follows. Sections 1... and Sections 2 and 3. This will make it easy to read in order to follow the structure of the paper. These parts should be linked to a logical connection in order to show the author's line of thinking.
  • In order to create a conceptual model, the author should describe the methodological approach that he/she follows. What are the criteria he/she has been following? How are those choices to be judged?
  • Also, I would suggest that a figure or a table be included to visualize the conceptual model in a straightforward manner, as a number of heterogeneous parts (historical, theoretical, empirical...) run the risk of misleading readers.
  • It is not clear to me whether the author's aim was to see applications of Shulman's model-based signature pedagogy. This undertaking appears clearly at the end of section 3.1 ( line 247-261), but it does not appear to be pursued in other parts. I would suggest that, if the aim is to identify certain components, the author be consistent in presenting the results. Hence, this should be extended to other sources and sections of the paper. This should be justified if this is not the case.
  • Overall, the paper should clearly show the author's line of thinking, and the presentation of the model should be presented in a logical manner. Some limitations/obstacles in the application of the model should be indicated in the last part.

Author Response

Thank you for a sharp reading of my previous version of my article. It was helpful. I understood the critique and have done major revisions to the paper. You can read my details response in the attachment. 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 3 Report

El trabajo se inicia con unos propósitos que no se verifican a lo largo del análisis que fundamenta todo el ensayo. Todo el esfuerzo se basa en unas descripciones de las que no se ofrecen resultados que sostengan los propósitos u objetivos. Las conclusiones son francamente de bajo nivel.

Para mejorar este trabajo hay que remodelar todo el contenido con el objeto de que emerjan las estructuras planteadas y demostrar que así se sustenta el concepto defendido argumentalmente.

 

The work begins with some purposes that are not verified throughout the analysis that underpins the entire essay. All effort is based on descriptions of which no results are offered to support the purposes or objectives. The conclusions are frankly low-level.

To improve this work, all the content must be remodeled in order for the proposed structures to emerge and demonstrate that this is how the concept defended by argument is sustained.

Author Response

Thank you for there reading of my previous paper. I understood the critique. Attached you can read in more detail the changes I have done in order to fix the text. I hope my major revision is a better and more coherent read. 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

Thank you for the re-written, elaborated manuscript. It has developed greatly based on the reviewers´ comments. There are still issues that need clarification. I have listed comments and suggestions for changes below.

  • Key words: I would suggest limiting the number of the keywords to approximately five that could better reflect the main points of this article. Therefore, I would suggest deleting sustainable development goal (It is an important theme but not as a key word; social sustainability is enough), kindergarten teachers (trivial, and signature pedagogy refers to teachers´ activities) and dialogism (one concept among others, not a key work in my opinion)
  • The first paragraph is without references. I could understand that if it is a book chapter or non-scientific text but in scientific journal article I strongly support the author to add references to up-to-date studies to present the links to other researchers´ viewpoints/current knowledge (compare to second paragraph where the author successfully refers to earlier studies).
  • The author´s choice to use the abbreviation ECEC works out. However, the concept ´early childhood education´ is still used unsystemically in the text. Please use the abbreviation or the written form (early childhood education and care) systematically, including the title, abstract and the text (see the lines 106, 126, 161 etc.)
  • Remove ´&´ sign and replace it with the word ´and´ in text (not in references in brackets)
  • Line 60: the verb is missing from the first sentence (e.g. it is urgent)
  • What does N-6410 mean (line 167)? Please explain
  • Referring to teacher students´ motivations is sound. International readers are interested in knowing what motivations are found in other countries so please add other references to verify this claim/viewpoint.
  • “The first aspect that comes to mind” – please rephrase this (line 302)
  • Chapter 3: The first paragraph leads the reader nicely to the topic. After that there are 2,5 pages text from Froebel. Despite of the importance of Froebel in this article, I suggest summarizing the beginning of text referring to Froebel. The author should strongly keep in mind the focus of the paper and mention only those relevant viewpoints in the text. Also, should Froebel be mentioned in the title (Chapter 3, e.g. Froebel as a philosophical underpinning…) since it is the main topic in Chapter 3?
  • Paragraph from the line 313: The quotation can be removed since his viewpoints are articulated in the following text or the analytic text should go deeper analyzing the meaning of the quotation, not just to repeat it.
  • Check the use of the concepts `educator` and `teacher` and unify the concepts if necessary
  • Chapter 6.1 The title refers to analysis, but I don´t find it in the text. I classify the components and features of teachers´ pedagogy (Table 1) as result of qualitative content analysis. If so, please explain the analysis process with methodological references.
  • Chapter 6.2 The reader could be guided to read the illustration/excerpt/narrative/story (the concept should be unified) with a leading paragraph pointing out the meaning of the narrative in this conceptual article.
  • Chapter 6.3 The reader should be guided to read the Table 1 by providing text before the table.
  • If qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the narrative, the main classes should be labeled also in the text (culture for open–ended curriculum, validating children’s play and imagination as well as searching for coherent scientific truth regarding the world in which they live). Also, features of the pedagogical style needs clarification: In Table 1 they are listed as quotations from the narrative and in the text as a) to d). The link between these features is not clear. One solution would be to code the features to the table (an own column with codes) or to group the features based on the 4 (a to d) characteristics (and losing/overlapping the classification of components and conditions).
  • Chapter 7 Summary I suggest that instead of summary, the author would provide a final chapter Conclusions where the text briefly emphasizes the main points of the text. Furthermore, conclusions should provide implications to social sustainability (combine the text from chapter 7 that is too short in itself), ECEC (summarize the current text) as well as to include further topics to study.

If possible, the changes made in the manuscript should be marked in the manuscript (Track changes, a font colour, etc.) to ease the reviewers´ work to notice which parts have been modified.  

I wish you good luck in finalizing the text.

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Thank you for taking the time to read my manuscript so carefully and with such constructive critique. I truly appreciate your review and I have done a new effort to reach the standard you set. In the attachment, you can see the details of what I have done. I also attached the second revision in the track changes modus.  

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

From the first page to the last, I was fully immersed in the paper. It's very enlightening for me. The author made a concerted effort to achieve his or her goal. He/she thoroughly reviewed major literature on the subject and addressed all previously raised concerns. The various sections are now linked, and the narrative flows smoothly.

Now I'd like to make one last request. I would suggest including a critical analysis from line 606 617 to strengthen the quality of the paper. The description following the table requires a more critical approach and should be less fragmented (a...b...c) in accordance with the adopted style. If the table has a descriptive role, I recommend that the author use this section to include your critical analysis.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to review this paper.

Author Response

Thank you for the encouragement in your review. I have uploaded the newly revised article in the track changes modus, so you can easily see the changes I have done. I hope these additional changes is up to your standard. 

Reviewer 3 Report

Sugerencias al artículo.

 

            Los aspectos formales no han sido mejorados suficientemente.

 

  1. Resumen:
    1. El resumen no presenta claramente cuál es el problema.

 

  1. En la introducción:
    1. Falta claridad sobre el método de aprendizaje adoptado, qué autores lo defienden y por qué se opta por ellos.
    2. Las citas de autoridad no distinguen bien entre las experiencias descritas y el soporte fundamentado al trabajo.
    3. No hay definición aceptable de las variables en la introducción teórica.

 

  1. La metodología:

 

No sigue un orden lógico, tal y como precisa un documento científico. Cada elemento de la metodología no está bien expresado, además se mezclan entre si, lo que da lugar a confusión. Se observan:

  1. Falta el tipo de metodología empleada y su justificación.
  2. Se alude a objetivos ambiguos.
  3. La muestra no tiene población de origen, ni tampoco el método de muestreo.
  4. El diseño se confunde con el procedimiento.
  5. El procedimiento no se entiende bien porque no está expuesto con claridad.
  6. No hay alusión clara a cómo se decidieron los materiales y utilizaron los materiales.
  7. Los resultados no están ordenados en torno a las hipótesis que se quieren verificar.

 

  1. Las conclusiones no son determinantes del proceso expuesto.

 

  1. No hay discusión, puesto que están obviadas las fuentes de autoridad que contrasten con las conclusiones del trabajo.

Prácticamente no se ha modificado mucho con respecto al anterior trabajo.

 

Suggestions to the article.

 

            The formal aspects have not been sufficiently improved.

 

  1. Resume:
    1. The summary does not clearly present what the problem is.

 

  1. In the introduction:
    1. There is a lack of clarity about the learning method adopted, which authors defend it and why they are chosen.
    2. The authority quotes do not distinguish well between the experiences described and the substantiated support for the work.
    3. There is no acceptable definition of the variables in the theoretical introduction.

 

  1. The methodology:

 

It does not follow a logical order, as required by a scientific document. Each element of the methodology is not well expressed, in addition they are mixed with each other, which gives rise to confusion. They look themselves:

  1. The type of methodology used and its justification are missing.
  2. It alludes to ambiguous objectives.
  3. The sample does not have a population of origin, nor does the sampling method.
  4. Design is confused with procedure.
  5. The procedure is not well understood because it is not clearly stated.
  6. There is no clear allusion to how the materials were decided and the materials used.
  7. The results are not ordered around the hypotheses to be verified.

 

  1. The conclusions are not determinative of the exposed process.

 

  1. There is no discussion, since the sources of authority that contrast with the conclusions of the work are ignored.

 

 

Practically not much has been modified with respect to the previous work.

 

Author Response

Thank you for taking the time to review my article and my revision. I have attached a new version in the modus of track changes to easily see the changes I have made. 

Round 3

Reviewer 1 Report

Dear author,

thank you for the revised manuscript. I suggest accepting the manuscript to Sustainability. For finalizing the manuscript, please proofread once again the newest text. There are some notions to consider in Results section (6.3): 

Availability to a variety of components… (add a dot in the end of the sentence).

Consider using a comma instead of the word ´and´ in: Consequently, walking alongside children, and paying attention to their movements and utterances and material and artefacts …

Refer to all tables either (Table 1) or (table 1).

Check the grammatical tense of the text (past, present)

Smell the tree (instead of three)

Good luck with your further research. 

Author Response

Thank you for reading my manuscript for the third time. I am forever grateful. I want to send you flowers, but these need to just imaginary since you are anonymous.  

Reviewer 3 Report

Sugerencias al artículo.

            Los aspectos formales siguen sin ser mejorados suficientemente.

  1. Resumen:
    1. El resumen ha sido mejorado, pero puede ser más explícito.
  1. En la introducción se han mejorado algunas cosas, sin embargo
    1. Puede expresar más explícitamente el método de aprendizaje adoptado, qué autores lo defienden y por qué se opta por ellos.
    2. Las citas de autoridad deben fundamentar bien los argumentos separándose de las experiencias o describir bien qué aspectos se eligen como soporte del trabajo.
    3. ¿Cuáles son las variables que se manejan en el trabajo?

 

  1. La metodología sigue presentando los defectos aludidos en las anteriores sugerencias.

No sigue un orden lógico, tal y como precisa un documento científico. Cada elemento de la metodología no está bien expresado, además se mezclan entre si, lo que da lugar a confusión. Se observan:

  1. Falta el tipo de metodología empleada y su justificación.
  2. Se alude a objetivos ambiguos.
  3. La muestra no tiene población de origen, ni tampoco el método de muestreo.
  4. El diseño se confunde con el procedimiento.
  5. El procedimiento no se entiende bien porque no está expuesto con claridad.
  6. No hay alusión clara a cómo se decidieron los materiales y utilizaron los materiales.
  7. Los resultados no están ordenados en torno a las hipótesis que se quieren verificar.

 

  1. Las conclusiones no son determinantes del proceso expuesto.

 

  1. No hay discusión, puesto que están obviadas las fuentes de autoridad que contrasten con las conclusiones del trabajo.

Prácticamente las modificaciones realizadas no dan valor al trabajo para ser publicado como trabajo científico.

 

 

 

Suggestions to the article.

 

            The formal aspects they are still not sufficiently improved.

 

  1. Resume:
    1. The summary has been improved, but can be more explicit.

 

  1. In the introduction some things have been improved, however
    1. It can express more explicitly the learning method adopted, which authors defend it and why they are chosen.
    2. The authority citations should support the arguments well, separating them from the experiences or describe well what aspects are chosen as support of the work.
    3. What are the variables that are handled at work?

 

  1. The methodology continues to present the defects mentioned in the previous suggestions.

 

It does not follow a logical order, as required by a scientific document. Each element of the methodology is not well expressed, in addition they are mixed with each other, which gives rise to confusion. They look themselves:

 

  1. The type of methodology used and its justification are missing.
  2. It alludes to ambiguous objectives.
  3. The sample does not have a population of origin, nor does the sampling method.
  4. Design is confused with procedure.
  5. The procedure is not well understood because it is not clearly stated.
  6. There is no clear allusion to how the materials were decided and the materials used.
  7. The results are not ordered around the hypotheses to be verified.

 

  1. The conclusions are not determinative of the exposed process.

 

  1. There is no discussion, since the sources of authority that contrast with the conclusions of the work are ignored.

 

Practically the modifications made do not give value to the work to be published as scientific work.

Author Response

Dear reviewer, 

Thank you for taking the time to review my paper. Following a narrative analysis tradition of research, I can not fully understand the critique you raise. I have followed methodological procedures in the narrative analysis tradition and described these, and should I have followed your advice, I couldn't have written this paper. In other research work, I also follow more stringent ways of reporting research in ways you demand from this piece, but I try to build an argument through a case study in this piece. The paper has been reviewed by additional two reviewers that have excepted the paper during the revision process. Their reviews give me the confidence I need to stand up for narrative methodology and my paper.  

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