ERIC Number: ED376970
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr-6
Reference Count: N/A
The Construction of Literacy Environments in Early Childhood Classrooms: A Spectrum of Approaches.
Madison, Susan Gomez; Speaker, Richard B., Jr.
This study examined the role of public preschool teachers in the construction of classroom literacy environments. Using qualitative methods for data collection and analysis, the research was intended to generate knowledge of teacher thinking and decision making for social and cultural phenomena taking place in a classroom. The study included ten preschool certified teachers in the same suburban parish public school system. Data were collected over a period of several months by means of interviews with teachers and classroom observations. Data analysis indicated the existence of a spectrum of literacy environments across preschool classrooms, with characteristic clusters along portions of that spectrum: (1) skills-based; (2) eclectic; and (3) emergent. Although similarities exist across the spectrum, each of the three clusters exhibits specific characteristics related to teacher beliefs about literacy, teacher planning and organization, classroom ecology related to literacy, and outside factors that influence teacher thinking. Skill-based environments are characterized by a skills-driven approach to planning and organization; classrooms with fewer literacy materials, activities, and centers; a teacher-directed focus; and teachers with a personal orientation who are isolated from peer relationships. Eclectic classrooms represent a middle portion of the spectrum, and are characterized by an approach that incorporates both themes and skills, and classroom ecologies that range between the skill-based environment and emergent environment. Emergent literacy environments are characterized by a holistic and integrated approach to planning and organization; classroom ecologies richer in literacy materials, activities, and centers; a child-centered focus; and teachers who are more actively involved in peer and professional relationships. (AA)
Descriptors: Classroom Environment, Classroom Techniques, Emergent Literacy, Literacy Education, Preschool Children, Preschool Curriculum, Preschool Education, Preschool Teachers, Public Schools, School Readiness, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Expectations of Students, Teacher Student Relationship, Teaching Styles
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A