Using the Integrative Research Project Approach to Facilitate Early Childhood Teacher Planning

Jan. 28, 2009

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 30, Issue 1, January 2009 , pages 79 - 88

One way to help preservice teachers to articulate and advocate their teaching stance is by developing their knowledge, skills, and confidence in their ability to carefully, didactically, and strategically plan for instruction. The Integrative Research Project (IRP) is a planning process that enables the preservice teacher to incorporate developmentally appropriate practices in an authentic inquiry-based planning process. It also enables the preservice teacher to incorporate goals, objectives, and standards for learning. The IRP begins with the development of a research question. Then brainstorming is done to generate a secondary list of questions but using different viewpoints such as those of scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, researchers, teachers, musicians, artists, athletes, or kindergarten children. Preservice teachers also use the Internet and library in order to access a broader range of content information. A visual display, such as a table, curriculum wheel, or topic web, is developed in order to visually understand the flow of the project. The IRP incorporates different content areas—reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, physical growth, and fieldwork. Learning goals, corresponding objectives, and standards are chosen that best express the learning that will occur during the teaching of the IRP. The preservice teachers then develop core activities that will enable the students to find answers to the questions. Motivational and culminating activities or events for the IRP are developed to enhance learning. A resource and reference are also generated and included in the final write-up that is turned in to the professor. The IRP provides the preservice teachers with the kind of long-term planning that is so necessary to become an effective teacher. This long-term planning allows the preservice teacher to understand the flow of the project. It also enables the preservice teacher to have the rationale and logic necessary to explain to others what is taking place in the classroom and more importantly why these experiences enable children to learn.

Updated: Apr. 06, 2009