AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Early Childhood Teachers??? Use of Information to Reason About and Enact Moment-to-Moment Instruction.

by Rachel Erin Schachter

Institution: University of Michigan
Department: Educational Studies
Degree: PhD
Year: 2014
Keywords: early childhood; Education; Social Sciences
Record ID: 2041846
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/110370


Although many people in both K-12 and early childhood education have written about knowledge and teaching, little is known about what types of knowledge preschool teachers use to make moment-to-moment instructional decisions. This study responds to the gaps in the literature by exploring early childhood teachers??? pedagogical reasoning about practice in order uncover how teachers report using information to reason about practice. This dissertation study used a phenomenological approach in order to understand early childhood teachers??? pedagogical reasoning. It asked the guiding research question: How do prekindergarten teachers reason during their moment-to-moment instruction? The pedagogical reasoning of eight prekindergarten teachers from two preschools was examined. The teachers had a variety of background experiences. The schools served similar children but each had different learning goals for children and different center-wide structures for delivering content to children. Each teacher was observed and video-recorded four times, twice during circle time and twice during language and literacy instruction. A stimulated recall procedure was used to access teachers??? reasoning about their practice during those instructional times. Participants discussed using six main categories of information to inform their pedagogical reasoning during practice. Across these categories teachers seemed to think a great deal about their students, content (goals and curriculum), and sometimes themselves. They rarely reported using information from outside the instructional context such as information about how young children learn and develop skills. Broader contextual variables such as instructional activity and school setting also seemed to influence teachers??? use of information. Multiple sources of information worked together to inform teachers??? pedagogical reasoning in complex ways that were often not visible from an outside perspective. By focusing on teachers??? perspectives of their work in the classroom, this research complements and expands current early childhood education research and helps the field understand more about the information that teachers use to inform their pedagogical reasoning during practice. The implications of these findings as they relate to what is currently known about early childhood and K-12 teachers??? uses of knowledge, implications for designing professional learning for teachers of young children, as well as directions for future scholarship are discussed.