Adapting Strategies of Effective Instruction for Culturally Diverse Preschoolers

Published: 
Jan. 07, 2012

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 33(1), p. 54–72, 2012
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this article is to describe the results of a teacher–teacher educator collaboration focused on adapting the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) standards for Effective Pedagogy for use in early childhood (EC) settings.

The CREDE standards are instructional strategies that developed from research on K–12 diverse learners.
EC educators in this study worked with university researchers to adapt the CREDE standards in ways that would take into account the developmental levels of 2- to 5-year-old children.
The group also developed an instrument to measure their use in EC settings.
Teachers and teacher educators worked together to adapt the CREDE standards for use with young children.

Method
This research was conducted at the University of Hawai‘i M¯anoa Children’s Center, an early learning preschool that served children of students, faculty, and staff at a large, state-funded university.

Participants included 13 preschool teachers and 2 administrators serving 2- to 5-years-olds at a university-based EC center.
Data sources included participant observations and video-recordings of the teachers’ instruction.


Discussion

The findings reveal that the teachers felt that the CREDE standards were compatible with their goals as EC educators.
They also felt that the two standards developed for indigenous groups, Modeling and Student Directed Activity, were consistent with EC education.

The authors made changes to criteria for the standards so as to make them more developmentally appropriate, with considerations of language development, a focus on goals that included self management and social skills, and children’s tendencies to be more egocentric and less self-aware.

Implications for Research and Practice

The results of this study suggest that the CREDE model is appropriate for preschool classrooms.
Although the authors needed to modify some of the criteria for particular standards to better reflect the development of young children, educators generally felt that the CREDE strategies were appropriate for EC instruction.
The educators agreed that they could assist children’s language development through forms of assistance such as questioning, rephrasing, and modeling, as long as nonverbal and verbal forms of communication were emphasized.

The educators felt strongly that Modeling and Child Directed Activity, the two standards that were developed for indigenous groups, should be included in the list of good practices for all young children.
Using the CREDE standards to guide the practice has made the authors more aware of the need to provide language-rich experiences to help EC teacher candidates become more comfortable with the vocabulary of the field.

Finally, in their work to align our preschool and K–3 teacher education program goals, strategies, and outcomes better, the authors have found the use of the CREDE ECE-7 and standards to be helpful.
The CREDE model gives them a common language and set of strategies that are equally as useful in K–3 classrooms as they are in preschools.
For preschool teacher candidates it provides a reminder that academic skills can be an outcome of a play-based curriculum and gives them a set of strategies for achieving that outcome.

For K–3 teacher candidates, it provides a framework for including important elements of an EC program: center-based learning, a focus on a language-rich environment, and the use of contextualized lessons and activities.

Updated: Jun. 25, 2014
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