The Power and Possibilities of Performative Critical Early Childhood Teacher Education

Sep. 25, 2008

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 29, Issue 4, October 2008 , pages 309 - 325

While early childhood education programs seek to provide the tools to work with children and explore content, many fail to address the social and emotional contexts in which early childhood education occurs. This is evident in the seldom addressed topic of collaboration between lead teachers and assistant teachers in the early childhood classroom. In this study, the authors found that as new early childhood teachers enter schools, they interact with teacher aides and parents daily. However, the new teachers do not feel prepared for negotiating these professional adult relationships. These underlying tensions then affect children's development and learning. To address such situations, the authors propose the use of Boal's forum theatre (Boal, 1979) as a performative critical model for early childhood teacher education and support the advantages it offers for exploring issues facing early childhood teachers that may not be commonly addressed in teacher education classrooms. To illustrate the process, the authors present a case study of an early childhood teacher who participated in such a model of in-service teacher education and show how the process of reflection central to this performative process helped her address areas of conflict in her classroom and in her problem-solving strategies, especially those concerning lead teacher-assistant teacher relations.

Boal, Augusto. Theatre of the Oppressed. London: Pluto (1979)

Updated: Feb. 11, 2009