University of Oulu

Melasalmi A, Siklander S, Kangas M and Hurme T-R (2023) Agentic playful pre-service teachers: positionings from teacher-initiated playful teacher to community-shared playful teacher. Front. Educ. 8:1102901. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2023.1102901

Agentic playful pre-service teachers : positionings from teacher-initiated playful teacher to community-shared playful teacher

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Author: Melasalmi, Anitta1; Siklander, Signe2; Kangas, Marjaana3;
Organizations: 1Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
2Faculty of Education and Psychology, Teachers, Teaching and Educational Communities (TTEC), University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-04


Play and playfulness are understood as basic and vital elements of early childhood education (ECE), and together with playful pedagogies, they perform a central role in Finnish ECE. In multidisciplinary research, children’s learning is generally understood through the inquiring process of play. However, playfulness, as opposed to play, has received relatively little scholarly attention, and educators’ use of playfulness has received even less. Playfulness is a vital part of life for both adults and children. At the same time, teachers’ behavior can influence the playfulness of a child; moreover, teachers’ own playfulness is critical for establishing warm and secure relationships with children. As such, the aim of this research was to explore pre-service teachers’ (PsTs’) understanding of agentic playfulness, particularly in the ECE context. Study participants included 159 PsTs; study data were gathered from PsTs’ written reflections regarding the use of playfulness in their future work. The results of qualitative analyses showed that the PsTs’ agentic playfulness mirrored a relational and tensious space consisting of three domains: teacher-initiated agentic playfulness, child-centered agentic playfulness, and community-shared agentic playfulness. Each domain revealed dimensions of the nature of PsTs’ orientation of their agentic playfulness. The results are discussed in relation to pedagogization of play, relational pedagogy community of learners, and teacher education supporting and developing future ECE teachers’ agentic playfulness.

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Series: Frontiers in education
ISSN: 2504-284X
ISSN-E: 2504-284X
ISSN-L: 2504-284X
Volume: 8
Article number: 1102901
DOI: 10.3389/feduc.2023.1102901
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Dataset Reference: The datasets presented in this article are not readily available because the data has been gathered anonymously but the participants are not requested to give permission to use the data outside the research group. Requests to access the datasets should be directed to
Copyright information: © 2023 Melasalmi, Siklander, Kangas and Hurme. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.