Diverse Field Experiences as a Catalyst for Preparing High Quality Early Childhood Teachers

Apr. 25, 2009

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 30, Issue 2, pages 105 - 122 (April 2009).

This article explores the process through which a group of preservice early childhood/early childhood special education students examined their own beliefs about quality teaching and learning. They examined their beliefs within the context of multiple practicum experiences in diverse settings. Students' reflections and actions are illuminated through a careful individual and cross-case analysis of field-based journals.

For these students, different instructional contexts provoked distinct questions. With increased experiences in early childhood settings, participants became more comfortable with the uncomfortable. The students considered that there are multiple ways to teach and learn, and realized that their own understandings of quality teaching must be informed by the children they teach. They also learned the process of using critical reflection to refine and adapt teaching practices to meet the needs of young learners continuously.

Findings from this study provide a window into the complex and individualized nature of new early childhood teachers' learning processes. By analyzing their journals, the authors were able to examine how these experiences move new teachers toward understanding concepts that are central to quality performance.

Updated: Jun. 11, 2009