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ERIC Number: ED543247
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 68
By Default or by Design? Variations in Higher Education Programs for Early Care and Education Teachers and Their Implications for Research Methodology, Policy, and Practice. Report
Whitebook, Marcy; Austin, Lea J.E.; Ryan, Sharon; Kipnis, Fran; Almaraz, Mirella; Sakai, Laura
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California at Berkeley
Calls to reform teacher education figure prominently in the growing national conversation about teacher performance and children's learning outcomes (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2010a, 2010b; Sparks, 2011). Thus far, however, most proposals have focused on teachers working in kindergarten through Grade 12, with scant attention to the quality of education for teachers in child care or preschool settings (Carey & Mead, 2011). Recently, however, the debate has begun to shift, in response to increased expectations placed on teachers in publicly-funded preschool and Head Start programs. But understanding how higher education contributes to teacher performance is a complex undertaking, requiring researchers to determine differences among teacher education programs along a variety of dimensions, and then to identify which variations are most relevant to student learning and teacher practice with young children. It also requires determining appropriate research methodologies that can illuminate important variations in program content and delivery, and provide solid evidence to inform policy and practice. While such methodological challenges also face researchers of K-12 teacher education (Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005), they are particularly pertinent to the early care and education (ECE) field, in which, historically, any course of study within one of several disciplines focused on children of any age has been considered an acceptable form of teacher preparation (Maxwell, Lim, & Early, 2006). As indicated by the ubiquitous "early childhood-related" label widely used to describe the educational backgrounds of teachers of young children, there is no accepted and agreed-upon standard for what constitutes a high-quality program of study for ECE practitioners. Too often, highly diverse higher education programs are assumed to produce equivalent results. This report draws upon a case study (Yin, 2009) of two early childhood B.A. completion cohort programs in order to illuminate the limitations of current ways of conceptualizing and studying early childhood teacher education. Focusing on four dimensions--program content, clinical experiences, faculty characteristics, and institutional context--the authors examine challenges encountered and lessons learned in seeking to understand differences in educational experiences among students attending these two programs. They then offer a series of recommendations for more nuanced ways of describing and evaluating the quality of higher education programs for early care and education practitioners. Appendix includes: Required Courses for Students in Programs A and B, as of March 2011. (Contains 10 tables and 9 footnotes.) [For "By Default or by Design? Variations in Higher Education Programs for Early Care and Education Teachers and Their Implications for Research Methodology, Policy, and Practice. Executive Summary," see ED543257.]
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California at Berkeley, 2521 Channing Way #5555, Berkeley, CA 94720. Tel: 510-643-7091; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation
Authoring Institution: University of California, Berkeley. Center for the Study of Child Care Employment