In earlier work she showed that the structural theory of Piaget as well as functional theories of general psychology gives a narrow understanding of children’s concept formation both as competence and as content learning. These traditions divorce children’s cognitive development from competence appropriation and do not relate learning and development to values motives and communication as central parts in an understanding of children cognitive development. These critical considerations have resulted in several projects about children’s learning within cultural traditions in school and family, where cultural traditions are seen as important for children cognitive and motive development.
Working with developmental research projects in school practice the Cultural-Historical Theory from Vygotsky she has formulated a conception of developmental learning and teaching as a double move between subject matter concepts and children’s everyday concepts. Through interventive research she has in cooperation with Seth Chaiklin around a teaching project with Puerto Rican Children in New York City extended the concepts of the double move in teaching and learning into a theory of teaching and learning as radical local teaching and learning. In Denmark a teaching project with refugee children supported these ideas.
The studies of immigrant and refugee children had led to a focus on the relation between home and school for children developmental learning that resulted in several projects. The last project is a project in cooperation with her colleagues Pernille Hviid and Jytte Bang and Professor Marilyn Fleer of children’s learning and development through everyday activities and how these activities influence each other across the different institutional settings where children live their everyday life.