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ERIC Number: EJ1046701
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Re-Conceptualizing Early Childhood Teacher Education: Enacting a Paradigm Shift to Bring Developmentally Appropriate Practice to Higher Education
Cunningham, Denise D.
Critical Questions in Education, v5 n1 p52-63 Win 2014
In this article, Denise D. Cunningham presents a project that emerged from informal discussions with early childhood pre-service teachers during their content area methods courses at a large, Midwestern four-year university. Students stated that they needed personal experience with materials and practices that they will be expected to use in classrooms during field experiences, student teaching, and in their future classroom. This study involved addressing candidate concerns and the implementation of a more developmentally appropriate, constructivist approach by the instructor of the methods courses. Three main objectives were established for the teacher candidates: (1) Students will examine and analyze materials used to implement developmentally appropriate curriculum, (2) Students will develop lessons/activities that will incorporate a variety of materials introduced in the early childhood methods courses, and (3) Students will implement a developmentally appropriate lesson/activity during their field experience. Quantitative data were analyzed from pre-and post-intervention surveys that also contributed to the holistic picture an ethnographic study attempts to portray. The goal for this project was to involve pre-service teachers in the process of active experimentation so they might begin to see the endless possibilities of developmentally appropriate curriculum. Cunningham concludes that when pre-service teachers have personally experienced an engaging, participatory preparation program, they begin to know their own abilities and value them. They are then more likely to be motivated to find interesting ways to provide an atmosphere in their classrooms where children will discover their own potential through developmentally appropriate curriculum. The more developmentally prepared teachers are, the higher the probability that each child will learn and grow successfully.
Descriptors: Early Childhood Education, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Teacher Education Programs, Methods Courses, Constructivism (Learning), Preservice Teacher Education, Preservice Teachers, Qualitative Research, Ethnography, Observation
Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://academyforeducationalstudies.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A