Despite contrasting views on the overlap of early childhood education and teacher education, opportunities abound for expanding the role of early childhood educators in broader teacher education discourse. University-based early childhood education and kindergarten-through-grade-12 teacher education share purposes, philosophies, and resources that should be explored to more effectively address the needs of diverse young children and their families. Community partnerships and a shift toward community-based teacher preparation present a context and opportunity for exploring the overlap of these two historically separate fields. In this article, we present a framework for collaborative, field-based early childhood teacher preparation, situating birth-though-grade-12 teacher education in diverse community contexts and involving school and community personnel to achieve universal 21st-century goals for the teaching and learning of young children.
As experts on the nature and needs of young children, early childhood educators are in prime positions to advocate for the health and well-being of young children. Advocacy can take the form of personal, public, or private-sector endeavors. Personal advocacy is usually informal and involves educating others on an issue about early childhood education. Similarly, public advocacy involves educating policy makers, and private-sector advocacy is directed toward businesses. The project described here is a course assignment for undergraduate teacher candidates in which they learn about advocacy strategies and design and implement authentic advocacy projects. Sample projects are discussed. Engaging in this project has raised awareness for teacher candidates about the importance of and strategies for being advocates. The response from early childhood teacher candidates has been positive.
The eight early childhood educators who participated in this study were admitted into a 60-credit statewide distance-delivered Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program at the University of Alaska. All eight educators were women of Alaska Native ancestry who lived and worked in remote and rural Native communities. Seven of these teachers were employed by Head Start programs and one taught preschool for a rural school district. A major goal of the statewide distance-delivered AAS program is that participants will become skilled observers of children and learn to use observation to make decisions that foster developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive services. All the course work in our AAS degree program involves actively doing and using observations of children. This study is based on a principle that intrinsic changes can occur in program management, curriculum development, and teacher practice when teachers learn how to use observation of children rather than external evaluation to make decisions about their programs. (Contains 9 tables.)
The extent to which teachers understand the concept of self-regulation skills and how best to implement practices that enhance self-regulation in children in the early childhood education classroom remains unexamined. The purpose of this study is to examine the psychometric properties of the self-reporting Early Childhood Educators Knowledge of Self-Regulation Questionnaire (ECESRQ) instrument designed to identify teachers’ knowledge and instruction of self-regulation skills in the classroom. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to determine three latent factors: teacher attitudes and beliefs, classroom management techniques, and child behavior. The findings identified parallel the literature in the preservice teacher-training arena, suggesting a theoretical basis for the underlying constructs. EFA contributed to establishing good estimates of construct validity in the ECESRQ; in addition Cronbach’s alpha results demonstrated moderate levels of internal reliability. Pearson correlation was used to additionally determine the extent to which teachers understand self-regulatory skills and their ability to implement effective tools in the classroom to enhance these skills. Results and implications for practice in the early childhood classroom are discussed.
Mathematics anxiety is a condition that exists in many children and adults. Studies (Bulmahn & Young, 1982, Kelly & Tomhave, 1985) have indicated that about 10% of all preservice elementary school teachers have mathematics anxiety. The author verified this statistic in a research study conducted by Basta & Unglaub (1994). In fact, with the particular sample used in the 1994 study (79 preservice elementary school teachers) the number of high mathematics anxious rose to 11.4% based on the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale (Suinn, 1972).
The purpose of the current study was to examine if preservice teachers’ (PSTs) mathematics anxiety decreased and if their beliefs and stereotypes changed after they completed their early childhood mathematics methods course. It was hypothesized that by using and modeling concrete materials or manipulatives (Thompson, 1992; Vinson, 2001) and placing a greater emphasis on conceptual understanding (Bursal & Paznokas, 2006), two strategies identified as reducing PSTs’ mathematics anxiety, negative beliefs, and stereotypes that are associated with math anxiety, would diminish. Thirty preservice teachers, all female, participated in this study. Using a qualitative research approach, measures included midcourse evaluations, a draw-a-mathematician task (Mewborn & Cross 2007), the Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale (Hopko, Mahadevan, Bare, & Hunt, 2003), and anecdotal notes. Although we were encouraged that the math anxiety experienced by our preservice teachers slightly decreased by the end of the semester, it was discouraging to find minimal change of beliefs and stereotypes of mathematicians. This confirms that many preservice teachers enter teacher education programs with well-established images of how to do school, along with entrenched beliefs about mathematics and their ability to do math (Vacc & Bright 1999) and these beliefs are very difficult to change.
Assessment plays an integral role in teaching and learning in Higher Education and teachers have a strong interest in debates and commentaries on assessment as and for learning. In a one-year graduate entry teacher preparation program, the temptation is to emphasize assessment in an attempt to ensure students “cover” everything as part of a robust preparation for the profession. The risk is that, for students, assessment drives curriculum, and time spent in the completion of assignments is no guarantee of either effective learning or authentic preparation for teaching. Interviews as assessment provide an opportunity for a learning experience as well as an authentic task, since students will shortly be interviewing for employment in a “real world” situation. This paper reports on a project experimenting with interview panels as authentic assessment with pre-service early childhood teachers. At the end of their first semester of study, students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Education program at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia were required to participate in a panel interview where they were graded by a panel made up of three faculty staff and one undergraduate student enrolled in the four-year Bachelor of Education program. Students and panel members completed a questionnaire on their experience after the interview. Results indicated that both students and staff valued the experience and felt it was authentic. Results are discussed in terms of how the assessment interview and portfolio presentation supports graduating students in their preparation for employment interviews, and how this authentic assessment task has benefits for both students and teaching staff.
Early childhood teachers may express positive views about inclusive practices but are the practices implemented in their classrooms? This study examined preservice and inservice teachers’ attitudes toward inclusive practices as reflected in the teachers’ behaviors. This qualitative study utilized open-ended initial interviews, observations with follow-up interviews, and observer field notes that were analyzed using content analysis with emergent themes from the different data sources. The results suggest that teachers’ attitudes toward inclusion appear to be influenced by their previous experiences in inclusive classrooms, and that the teachers implemented inclusive practices by involving all children in classroom activities, including those with disabilities. While the teachers did implement inclusive practices, they indicated that appropriate preservice training, support from administrators, and support from resource personnel are important to provide a successful inclusive environment. Implications are discussed for teacher education programs in training preservice professionals to work with children with disabilities and providing appropriate practica experiences in inclusive environments.
This qualitative study was conducted in the context of a preservice teacher education program with a focus on early literacy. The study focused on the insights preservice teachers gained from working closely beside one emergent writer. The authors report on six focus cases and identify five cross-case themes—describing preservice teachers who (a) approached young children’s efforts to compose texts with deep appreciation regardless of the child’s level of development; (b) deeply valued the time spent near a young writer and described their own learning as emanating both from the writer and the writing; (c) gained an understanding of how literacy emerges/develops, and made efforts to take up the discourse of literacy teachers; (d) talked sensitively about the importance of their teaching moves—the “just right” invitations or steps that enabled children to take risks; and (e) valued the purposeful writing that emanated from children’s interests and lives and motivated them to write. The findings are interpreted within Grossman’s (2011) framework for reenvisioning teacher education as “practice” supported by representations, deconstructions, and approximations.
Technology has been shown to foster children’s motivation and interest in instructional materials. In addition, researchers have found that technology results in higher levels of student engagement and greater levels of comprehension. Researchers have also found that educators must have the knowledge and skills in technology necessary to effectively support their students. Much of the research examining educator knowledge and skills has centered at the K–12 level. The current study examines the technological knowledge, beliefs, and practices of educators in early childhood settings. Findings indicate that educators believe that it is important to integrate technology into daily lessons. However, findings also indicate that many teachers do not feel adequately prepared to use technology in early childhood settings; that there is a lack of technology currently available in early childhood settings; and that early childhood educators want more professional development on using technology that also reflects their varying levels of knowledge and experience. An analysis of study results is provided through a discussion of implications, limitations, and next steps.
The current study evaluated the peer-to-peer interactions of at-risk children enrolled in Head Start who participated in a social pragmatic intervention targeting skills such as initiations, responses, name use, proximity, and turn-taking skills. Eight Head Start classroom teams received two workshops and two coaching sessions and were taught to use an antecedent-behavior-consequence problem-solving process to develop and implement action plans addressing prevent-teach-respond strategies to improve targeted routines. Nine out of 10 children showed increases in average percentage of interactive play behavior from baseline to intervention. Nine of the 10 children targeted for participation in the social pragmatic intervention showed decreases in average noninteractive play from baseline. Social validity ratings obtained from participants indicated that training materials and procedures were feasible for use in Head Start classrooms and intervention had positive effects on study participants.
Preparing students in the early childhood field to work with children both with and without disabilities and to collaborate with different professionals is an important endeavor for colleges and universities. The purpose of this paper is to articulate a unique model of program collaboration between early childhood special education and early childhood regular education that demonstrates a cohesive preservice teacher education program across two departments within one university. This unique 10-year history of interdisciplinary collaboration and team teaching provides insights into many of the benefits and challenges of this type of program. This paper presents an historical overview of the development of this collaborative program and describes the logistics of operating an interdisciplinary program at the administrative level. Information collected from faculty and students illustrates the benefits and challenges of team teaching. Finally, strategies for developing a successful program are discussed. (Contains 1 table.)
Explores constructivist teaching assumptions of early childhood teacher preparation programs: (1) active adult learning is valued; (2) educational reform begins in university classrooms; (3) translating best practices and research into teaching contributes to classrooms and student teacher supervision; (4) maintaining links to K-12 education informs instruction; and (5) ongoing student contact with children and schools enriches university education. (KDFB)
Despite a rapidly growing trend in universities to offer flexible learning options, limited attention has been given to hearing students’ voices and learning from their perceptions of their learning experiences. This study sought to learn about students who enrol in external study (off campus learning) in the School of Early Childhood at the Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane). An online survey was used to determine students’ perceived access to support services and their satisfaction with off campus learning. Students were generally satisfied with their off campus experiences; however, some issues were raised. These included the need for consistency and improved usability of online learning and teaching Web sites, concerns about feeling isolated as an external student, and, in some cases, poor communication from subject coordinators. "Transactional distance" appeared to impact on their external study experience. Implications for further action are discussed.
This article is part of a larger exploratory study that followed preservice early childhood teachers through their program and into their first year of practice, giving voice to their understandings of quality teaching and learning, and insight into the ways their preservice program prepared them for the challenges of teaching in diverse settings. Analyses of our graduates’ first-year interviews revealed participants’ perceptions on those elements of the program which best guided their decisions in practice, such as reflective thinking about their daily work and child observation and inquiry. Findings support the importance of engaging in differentiated instruction, reflective practice, and collaboration through a variety of experiences in the field, and illuminate everyday practices that bring richness to teaching and learning in early childhood education. Emergent questions about the best ways to provide quality early childhood teacher preparation are discussed in relation to the dilemmas early childhood teachers face in the current educational landscape.
As online environments gain an increasing presence in higher education for both on-campus students and distance learners, there is a need to examine how effective these environments are for student learning. Online environments require essentially different teaching and learning strategies from those used in the traditional face-to-face contexts (for on-campus students) or with print-based material (for distance learners). This paper identifies early childhood teacher education students' perceptions of their learning experiences with the advent of an online learning environment. Perceptions of on-campus and distance learners are compared, and implications for teacher education staff interested in providing high quality learning environments within an online space are discussed.
In the last two decades, a myriad of political and social factors have converged and had a dramatic impact on Early Childhood Education (EC) and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). There have been sweeping changes in policy and shifts in society that have resulted in greater numbers of programs serving young children of all abilities and their families. Great strides in research related to early childhood development and early intervention have provided a growing knowledge of how children learn. The combination of these factors has created a call for increasingly higher quality services for young children. Professionals in both EC and ECSE have been responding to the demands and taken steps to prepare more and better-qualified teachers for children enrolled in early childhood programs. The most immediate avenue for effecting change in the profession is through the programs that prepare our teachers for the classrooms and the child care centers. This article reviews the research and the rationale regarding the implementation of integrated EC/ECSE programs. (Contains 1 table.)
The purpose of this study was to better understand the learning opportunities within a university writing methods course centering on a unit of study experience. Specifically, we wanted to investigate what early childhood education preservice teachers (PSTs) learn about poetry and the writing process when engaged in a poetry unit of study. Our findings revealed that a unit of study format: (a) served as a vehicle to deconstruct and develop new genre awareness; (b) helped PSTs live process aspects of writing instruction; and (c) supported PSTs in developing genre-specific knowledge through the use of mentor texts.
Describes early childhood teacher preparation in South Korea, including types of available child care facilities; teacher training programs at two- and four-year colleges; three types of inservice education available (certificate renewal, supervisory, and general knowledge updates); and emerging issues in teacher education (problems with certification, salary and benefits, and directors). (KDFB)
Classroom-based experiences, alternatively known as practica, are an integral component of undergraduate teacher preparation programs, which provide students essential opportunities to apply knowledge in practice. Though much is known about student teaching, much less is known about students’ earlier classroom-based experiences. This qualitative study explores how early childhood care and education students describe their early classroom-based experience. Thirty-four students enrolled in a teacher preparation program participated in interviews, submitted journals, and responded to survey questions about their early classroom-based experience. Results are presented in terms of how students talk about their experiences—belonging or not belonging in the classroom—and what students talk about when discussing their experiences, including communication, support, freedom, new learning, and “the children.” These themes are discussed in terms of students’ experiences in the classroom and implications for undergraduate teacher preparation in early childhood education.
Recent calls for change in teacher preparation programs stress the importance of field experience and the need for preservice teachers to have ample opportunities for peer collaboration and feedback. The paired placement model, with two preservice teachers working with one cooperating teacher, has shown to provide many benefits. However, the strategies for developing successful partnerships in the context of a required course are not fully understood. This article presents a study of early childhood and elementary preservice teachers’ perspectives on the peer and faculty related factors that contribute to the success (and lack of success) of their partnerships. The article concludes with effective strategies for teacher educators to consider in creating and supporting field-based peer partnerships.
Five essential ideas or understandings that should underlie early childhood teacher education programs are discussed conceptually. Inquiry and reflection into practice are critical for continued teacher learning and development; learning and development are cultural and constructivist processes; the teacher's image of the child should be as a strong and capable participant in the culture; the education of young children is a community privilege and responsibility; and while the child's future is of concern in education, it is just as vital to think of the child in the here and now. These ideas are essential for incorporating a social justice orientation in teacher education. An exemplary early childhood teacher education program is described as a model of the way in which these underlying ideas might be incorporated in preparing early childhood teachers in the pursuit of social justice aims for all of their students and families.
Professional development, which results in sustained transformative change, requires that teachers engage in critical reflection regarding teaching practices. In this study, a group of five bilingual and generalist early childhood teachers engaged in a journey in which they elected to try to reconstruct their beliefs and practices about teaching and learning. In response to a school district's needs, these teachers were enrolled as a cohort in an early childhood graduate program that served as part of their professional development endeavor. The teachers used reflection and ongoing dialogue that bridged theory and practice as they raised questions about their daily practices in relation to theoretical perspectives. We provide a glimpse of these teachers' ongoing transformative journeys and provide suggestions for early childhood teachers to engage in sustained professional development.
Assessment plays a critical role in the planning and delivery of quality services for young children and their families. The purpose of this study was to identify the current assessment practices and training needs of early childhood professionals. A large sample of early childhood professionals responded to a comprehensive survey. The most frequently used standardized tools and nonstandardized procedures, the functions of assessment, the training needs of professionals, challenges related to assessment, and recommendations for professional preparation programs are reported.
The literature on infant care and education indicates that infant fieldwork has distinct learning opportunities that could work as an important supplement to more traditional field placements. The following study supports these assertions by providing an in-depth look at the experiences of three preservice early childhood teachers while engaging in fieldwork with infants over the course of one semester. The preservice teachers' perspectives and descriptions, as generated through individual interviews, reflective journals, and a focus group interview, were used to illuminate the unique aspects of working with infants and the impact of the fieldwork on their development as teachers. The findings suggest that structured experiences in the infant classroom pushed the preservice teachers to construct new ideas about development, curriculum, the role of the teacher, working with parents and families, and building relationships with children. The infant fieldwork also provided the preservice teachers with valuable opportunities to practice critical teaching skills—such as observation, collaborating with parents and families, and individualizing care and to make new connections between theory and practice.
Set in a yearlong, school-based tutoring program, designed as a community of practice, we use qualitative methodology to examine how 14 preservice teachers learned to become responsive teachers. We focus on one question: In what ways does participating in a yearlong, supervised tutoring program mediate preservice teachers' learning about responsive teaching? The preservice teachers described the ways they came to learn about their buddies and build caring relationships with them. They reported the importance of collaboration with their tutoring buddies, peers, families, and classroom teachers, and that through the yearlong tutoring experience, the preservice teachers gained confidence as teachers and a sense of efficacy as caring educators. This study is important because it uncovers how school-based tutoring programs, modeled as a community of practice, can provide opportunities for preservice teachers to grow professionally to become responsive educators.
This study examines preservice teachers' beliefs about childhood in an attempt to see how they may support an active, participatory role for children in early childhood education (ECE). Three hundred sixteen early childhood preservice teachers described childhood characteristics and children's ability for decision-making in a written text. These texts were content analyzed and then quantified. Preservice teachers' beliefs about childhood were found to vary and some of their beliefs corresponded to existing scientific theories and typologies. Despite this variation, preservice teachers' beliefs had dominant ontological and epistemological presuppositions that highlighted childhood as a homogeneous period of human life, as a state of being, rather than as a dynamic and developing period of life. The majority of preservice teachers assigned children with an ability to make decisions but only under specific preconditions. We argue that these beliefs may act as obstacles for the enhancement of participatory processes in ECE due to their ontological and epistemological underpinnings. Implications of current findings in relation to teacher education are discussed.
Preparing early childhood educators to support effective instruction of English language learners (ELLs) is an important dimension of teacher preparation programs, yet often difficult to enact. This article reports on a collaboration between early childhood education (ECE) faculty and teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) faculty at an urban teacher preparation program in an effort to better understand and enhance ECE and TESOL candidates’ beliefs and understandings of ELL pedagogy. Over the course of a semester, one section of practicum teacher candidates from these two programs met in person and online, as did their instructors, to identify common concerns and approaches from their respective discipline areas. Video records of teaching from early childhood classrooms with ELLs played a critical role in fostering collaborative inquiry. Implications for infusing the ECE curriculum to strengthen instruction for ELLs are discussed.
There has been a great deal of discourse in the field of early care and education concerning the experiences, skills, competencies, and education level needed by early childhood teachers to ensure that quality teaching and learning take place in the early years. The purpose of this article is to describe an early childhood teacher preparation program developed by a Child and Family Development Department at a large, urban, state-funded university in the hopes that we can further the discourse on how the field can ensure quality teaching and learning in both ECE and university classrooms. We propose a conceptual model that is built around three key constructs: knowledge, reflection, and practice and describe our approach to preparing early childhood educators. Using qualitative data from student reflections and course syllabi and quantitative data on the experiences and perceptions of graduating seniors, we hope to present promising practices in early childhood teacher education and provide support for our contention that the quality of early childhood teacher education matters.
The preservice and in-service predictors of 1,668 Part C early intervention and Part B(619) preschool special practitioners' perceived self-efficacy beliefs are reported. The preservice variables were type of degree (discipline), years of formal postsecondary education, licensure, and participants' judgment of how well their preservice training prepared the practitioners to work with young children and their families. The in-service variables were type of state training/technical assistance available to the participants, whether participants were required to have continuing education, and the amount of in-service training the participants received. Self-efficacy was measured in terms of the participants' perceived confidence and competence to successfully enact three procedural practices (family-centered practices, teaming practices, and assessment in education practices), and three intervention practices (IFSPs/IEPs, instructional practices, and natural environment/inclusion practices). Results suggest that participants' judgments of their preservice preparedness to work with young children and their families, and the number of different kinds of in-service training for which they availed themselves, were the best predictors of all four types of self-efficacy beliefs. Implications for preservice and in-service professional preparation and training are discussed.
The purpose of this descriptive study was to show the extent to which early childhood teacher educators are informed about, engage in, teach about, value, and collaborate with others in teacher research. Teacher research was defined as research (systematic data collection and analysis) teacher educators do on their own, primarily to better understand their own teaching and/or for the purpose of improving teaching and learning in the teacher education program. Three data sources informed the study: survey responses (97 respondents from the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators membership); in depth interview responses (seven participants recruited from the survey); and content analysis of Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education issues from 1990–2010, focusing on the frequency of teacher research articles appearing in the journal. Findings indicate that early childhood teacher educators are knowledgeable about teacher research, teach about it primarily at the graduate level, engage in teacher research alone and with others, share and publish teacher research results, participate in teacher research communities, and view teacher research as a high priority in their own professional development, their teaching, their students' learning, and in the field, despite the difficulties of doing it. Implications are drawn for early childhood teacher education.
In order to help children gain a more robust understanding of place value, teachers must understand the connections and relationships among the related concepts as well as possess knowledge of how children learn early number concepts. Unfortunately, teachers’ familiarity with the base-ten number system and/or lack of an understanding of multidigit whole numbers leads to instruction that encourages a superficial understanding of the concepts of our base-ten system rather than instruction that pushes students to go beyond recitation of the value of the digit in the ten's place. This study highlights the attempts of three mathematics educators in reconceptualizing and impacting teachers’ understanding of place value concepts.
This article compares history chapters in recent introductory early childhood education textbooks with those from an earlier study, reviewing history chapters on four dimensions: the rationale for the study of history, the dominant story of the history, the facts of the history, and the image of the history. Ten textbooks are reviewed, including six from the original study that are still in publication. Foundation textbooks are described as important sources of knowledge for beginning students. In the earlier study, the dominant story was derived mainly from the contributions of “giant thinkers” in psychology, education, and philosophy. A notable current trend is identified, that textbooks have improved their attention to international and non-Western developments. Nevertheless, while there is some evidence of a change in the presentation of history in the textbooks in the current survey, the article concludes by identifying some missing pieces, as in the original survey.
This reflection on practice describes a case study integrating 3D printing into a creativity course for preservice teachers. The theoretical rationale is discussed, and the steps for integration are outlined. Student responses and reflections on the experience provide the basis for our analysis. Examples and resources are provided, as well as a discussion of lessons learned.
While the early childhood student population has become increasingly diverse in the U.S., its teaching force remains primarily European American. The diverse student population demands that early childhood educators possess intercultural sensitivity in order to teach their culturally diverse learners effectively. This study examined the implementation of the ABCs of Cultural Understanding (the ABCs), a multicomponent instructional activity to promote intercultural sensitivity, in a preservice early childhood education course. Twenty-two early childhood preservice teachers participated in the study. The findings suggest the ABCs helped the participants develop intercultural sensitivity and strengthened their awareness and appreciation of other cultures. Despite the positive impact, the findings show most participants were in the early stages of intercultural sensitivity development. It is recommended that consistent exposure to and experiences with assignments like the ABCs are necessary to further promote intercultural sensitivity among preservice teachers.
Children’s early numeracy knowledge predicts later academic performance, yet many children do not experience optimal math instruction. This study investigated the impact of academic service-learning (ASL) in an early childhood teacher preparation math course and answered the following research question: Was the ASL experience effective in improving students’ dispositions and self-efficacy for teaching early math? Participants included nine undergraduates in an early childhood teacher preparation course and thirteen 2- to 5-year-old children from ten culturally and linguistically diverse families. Results of this mixed-methods study indicated the university students expressed considerable math anxiety near the beginning of the course, yet they believed in the importance of math and aspired to support children’s math. Students articulated challenges and assumptions related to supporting early math. A key finding was that, across the ASL experience, students experienced a shift away from anxiety and toward self-efficacy for teaching math and a disposition to advocate for early math. Children’s math knowledge was also assessed and was significantly higher post-ASL than pre-ASL. The article concludes with a discussion of the obligation of early childhood teacher preparation programs to address possible math anxiety among preservice teachers and provide experiences that help students build self-efficacy for teaching math.
This study examined how preschool teachers’ perception of technology usability and associated beliefs about technology integration influence the way they integrate a technology-based, early language and literacy curriculum, RIA-Mobile. Through multiple regression and path analysis, results showed that technology usability was a key variable that contextualizes how teachers view RIA-Mobile, and is a more proximal predictor of teachers’ perceptions of the technology’s usefulness and ease of use compared to teachers’ general technology preference. Perceptions of RIA-Mobile’s usefulness and ease of use in turn influence the way teachers integrate the tool in the classroom and their intention to use it in the future. Results from this study suggest that effective teacher technology learning programs should focus on improving teachers’ perceptions and involvement with specific technology tools they can use in their context-specific classrooms.
While early childhood practitioners have long been asked to have complex understandings of child development and provide rich, meaningful educational experiences for children, focusing on mathematics marks new terrain. Consequently, teacher educators are now tasked with figuring out how to communicate new ideas about early mathematics education to early childhood practitioners, yet we know little about their work. This paper examines what early childhood teacher educators have to say about their work. We found that there were only small differences in how they described: (1) what they teach, (2) how to teach it, (3) resources they draw from, and (4) what informs their work. When there were differences in their approaches, these often were reflective of whether the teacher educators had more of an early childhood or mathematics background. The teacher educators' descriptions show there is a need to have clear understandings of what early childhood math looks like in action and for increased collaboration between early childhood and mathematics experts.
Prior inquiry into teachers’ beliefs demonstrates that a top priority of early childhood teachers’ is developing children’s social-emotional skills (e.g., Hollingsworth & Winter, 2013; Kowalski, Pretti-Frontczak, & Johnson, 2001). This study builds upon and advances the knowledge base by providing evidence that the pervasiveness of these beliefs extends to Head Start teachers who work with the growing population of dual language learning (DLL) children. In this qualitative study, interviews that included practice-based vignettes for participants to analyze and respond to were conducted with 20 Head Start teachers serving classrooms with large proportions of DLL Latino children. Teachers reported they believed developing social-emotional skills among DLL children is of primary importance, noting that these skills are foundational for supporting DLL children’s English language acquisition. In turn, participating teachers also reported they believed using Spanish in the classroom is a strategy to support social-emotional skill development among DLL children and thus ultimately facilitate their English language acquisition. Finally, the interviews revealed that participating teachers believed English language acquisition occurs naturally and easily within the preschool setting. The implications of these beliefs for the design of preservice early childhood teacher education to meet the needs of today’s linguistically diverse childhood population are discussed.