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 Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
 Degree Discipline: Early Childhood Education
The (Mis)representation of the Middle East and Its People in K-8 Social Studies Textbooks: A Postcolonial Analysis

The (Mis)representation of the Middle East and Its People in K-8 Social Studies Textbooks: A Postcolonial Analysis

Date: May 2014
Creator: Salman, Rania Camille
Description: Critical examinations of cultural groups and the ways in which they are presented in schools are missing from current elementary and middle school curricula. Issues of this nature often fall under the umbrella of “multicultural education” or “cultural pedagogy,” but this rhetoric is dismissive in nature. Constructing the non-Western child as “culturally deprived,” “culturally disadvantaged,” or “at-risk” perpetuates an “us/colonizer” versus “them/colonized” mentality. The purpose of this study was to examine critically how the Middle East and its people are represented in U.S. social studies textbooks. Through the use of qualitative content analysis, 10 elementary and middle school social studies books from Florida, Texas, and Virginia were analyzed. Drawing largely from the postcolonial Orientalist work of Edward Said (1978/2003), this study unveiled the ways in which American public schools other children, specifically children of Middle Eastern or Arab descent. Othering occurs anytime an institution in power constructs a certain reality for a marginalized group of people.
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Uncovering Gendered Teaching Practices in the Early Childhood Classroom

Uncovering Gendered Teaching Practices in the Early Childhood Classroom

Date: August 2014
Creator: Larremore, April
Description: For many early childhood teachers, interacting with children about issues concerning gender and sexuality is fraught with feelings of uneasiness and anxiety. For others, familiarity with research on these topics has resulted in rethinking their approaches to sex, gender, and sexuality in their early childhood classrooms. This inquiry examined the tensions associated with the researcher’s attempts to rethink gendered narratives and childhood sexuality in her own classroom. The study took place over the course of 4 months and involved a traditional public kindergarten classroom. Queer theory and feminist poststructuralism, along with a multi-voiced poststructural autoethnography were used to demonstrate the researcher’s shifting identities and the cultural context that shaped the researcher’s behaviors and perspective. Multivocal autoethnographic narratives were written to illustrate the researcher’s journey between trying on, being in, and becoming a feminist poststructural educator who uncovers and troubles gendered teaching practices in her own early childhood classroom. The following insights resulted from this study: young children actively and knowingly talk about gender and sexuality and do have a considerable amount of sexual knowledge; heterosexuality plays an integral part in children’s everyday experiences; and a lack of equity and inclusion associated with family diversity or queer identities exists in the ...
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Preschool Teachers’ Constructions of Early Reading

Preschool Teachers’ Constructions of Early Reading

Date: May 2014
Creator: Walker, Karen Elledge
Description: Much of the current discourse surrounding the practice of early reading has emerged from policies that dictate the definition and means by which reading is taught and by which reading success is measured. Although this discourse directly influences the work of preschool teachers, little is known about what preschool teachers think about early reading and how they develop these understandings or constructions. Research concerning preschool teachers’ constructions is useful because of the potential influence on teachers' decisions and classroom behaviors. The purpose of this study is to better understand preschool teachers’ constructions concerning early reading and the process of learning to read. Six preschool teachers, with a variety of personal, educational, and professional experiences, from four diverse early childhood programs in the North Texas area were interviewed over a nine-month period during which each participant was interviewed for approximately three hours. Through systematic, inductive analysis, three themes were identified under an overarching theme of the interdependent and relational nature of early reading influences: out-of-school interactions, in-school interactions, and interactions with text. Without exception, these teachers referred to their life experiences as influencing their approach to teaching in general and to teaching reading in particular. The goals these preschool teachers had ...
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The Efficacy of the Chickasaw Nation Early Care and Education Programs

The Efficacy of the Chickasaw Nation Early Care and Education Programs

Date: May 2014
Creator: Blackmon, Lisa
Description: The purposes of this research were to explore the effectiveness of the Chickasaw Nation early care and education program in promoting school readiness while infusing tribally relevant values in children from birth through age five; engaging parents in all aspects of their children’s learning; and supporting children and families through the transitioning to kindergarten. The study used qualitative methods to examine the experiences and perceptions of ten parents, ten teachers, and five administrators within Chickasaw Nation’s early care and education system regarding the four basic areas of school readiness, parent engagement, transition, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Four primary themes emerged from the semi-structured interviews: 1) socialization, school readiness, and transition, 2) learning, curriculum, and assessment, 3) the role of parents, and 4) cultural integrity. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, transcribed, and analyzed based on four research questions. Findings indicated parents, teachers, and administrators were satisfied that the program was successful with assisting children in making progress toward achieving developmental and school readiness goals and that the children were physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively prepared to enter kindergarten. The program provided activities to encourage and promote parental involvement; however, parents did not indicate active involvement or participation in the activities. ...
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Preschool Teachers’ Knowledge of Children’s Mathematical Development and Beliefs About Teaching Mathematics

Preschool Teachers’ Knowledge of Children’s Mathematical Development and Beliefs About Teaching Mathematics

Date: December 2013
Creator: Kim, In Hong
Description: Early childhood education emphasizes the need of providing high quality early childhood mathematics programs for preschool children. However, there is little research that examines the importance of preschool children’s mathematical knowledge development and teachers’ beliefs about how to teach mathematics to young children. The purposes of this study were to investigate pre-service and in-service preschool teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development and their beliefs about teaching mathematics in the preschool classroom and also to determine how experience differentiates the two groups. This research employed a non-experimental research design with convenient sampling. Ninety-eight pre-service teachers and seventy-seven in-service preschool teachers participated in the research. The Knowledge of Mathematical Development survey (KMD) and the Beliefs survey were used to investigate possible differences between pre-service and in-service preschool teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development and between their beliefs about teaching mathematics. The findings of this study indicate a statistically significant difference between pre-service teachers and in-service preschool teachers in relation to their knowledge of mathematical development. This finding shows that pre-service teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development is somewhat limited; most pre-service teachers have difficulty identifying the process of preschool children’s development of mathematics skills. A second finding reveals a statistically significant difference ...
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A Study of the Relationship between Field-Independent and Field-Dependent Cognitive Styles and Social Behaviors during Free-Play of Preschool Children

A Study of the Relationship between Field-Independent and Field-Dependent Cognitive Styles and Social Behaviors during Free-Play of Preschool Children

Date: August 1989
Creator: Jun, Ye-Hwa
Description: The problem of this study was to discover the relationship between field-independent and field-dependent cognitive styles and social behaviors during free-play of preschool children in a school setting. This study also compared the field-independent and field-dependent cognitive styles and social behaviors during free-play between age-groups and sex-groups. Thirty-six children from a university child development laboratory were subjects. They were selected from a 3-year-old classroom and a 4-year-old classroom. The research instrument, the Preschool Embedded Figures Test, was utilized to measure field-independent and field-dependent cognitive styles. The children's social behaviors were observed during free-play for four consecutive weeks. The nine categories of social behavior were solitary, parallel, and group play; .unoccupied, onlooker, transitional, and aggressive behaviors; and conversations with teachers and conversations with peers. Correlations between field-independent and field-dependent cognitive styles and social behaviors indicated that field-independence/field-dependence was related to social orientations in preschool children and also related to the choice of play activity. Field-dependent children tended to engage in conversations with teachers more often than field-independent children. Four-year-old children who were field-independent tended to spend more time in solitary play than 4-year-old children who were field-dependent. Four-year-old boys who were field-independent tended to play more often in the manipulative learning ...
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The Relationship of Parent Involvement in Head Start to Family Characteristics, Parent Behaviors and Attitudes, and Preschool Inventory Scores

The Relationship of Parent Involvement in Head Start to Family Characteristics, Parent Behaviors and Attitudes, and Preschool Inventory Scores

Date: May 1988
Creator: Pyle, Nancy Storey
Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between family characteristics and parent involvement in Head Start, and the differences between parents who participated in Head Start parent involvement activities and parents who did not participate, as to their behaviors and attitudes concerning education, their children, their communities, and their children's academic achievement. This study analyzed existing data collected for a national parent involvement study. The sample consisted of 2,051 parent-child pairs (1,443 Head Start and 606 non-Head Start). Findings indicated a significant relationship between numerous family characteristics and parent involvement in Head Start, with variables related to a higher level of education of the mother or primary caregiver being the most dominant. Significant differences were found between the parents who participated in Head Start activities and parents who did not participate. The involved parents felt more strongly about teachers needing knowledge of their children's families, parents having knowledge worthy of sharing with their children's teachers, and parents wanting advice or input from their children's teachers. They reported a higher frequency of behaviors such as talking, reading, and playing with their children, trying to teach their children basic concepts, and having materials available for their children's use. Involved ...
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An Analysis of the Peer Relationships of Gifted and Gifted-Creative Primary Students

An Analysis of the Peer Relationships of Gifted and Gifted-Creative Primary Students

Date: December 1987
Creator: Greene, Debra Blatt
Description: The purpose of this study was to compare the peer relationships of highly gifted and highly gifted-highly creative primary students in a gifted classroom of a public school. The study was conducted using thirty-one highly gifted first, second, and third graders who had scores of 140 or better on the WISC-R, WPPSI, or Otis-Lennon. At the beginning of the school year, the Creativity Assessment Packet was administered to the class. The top 20 percent scorers in the class (termed gifted-creative) and those who scored in the bottom 20 percent of the class (termed gifted) on the CAP were targeted for observation. In addition, a sociogram was administered to each student individually for the purpose of determining each child's social status. A bivariate correlation coefficient was employed to express the degree of any relationship between creativity scores and rankings on the class sociogram. Observational anecdotes were used in the discussion of the sociometric results. The following findings resulted from the study. The gifted-creative students, as a group, ranked higher on a class sociogram on measures of friendship and choice of academic work partners than did the gifted group. On sociometric measures of choice of creative work partners, there was no significant ...
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Young Children's Construction of Physical Knowledge on Swings in the Outdoor Play Environment

Young Children's Construction of Physical Knowledge on Swings in the Outdoor Play Environment

Date: December 1993
Creator: Fox, Jill Englebright
Description: This investigation examined the development of young children's behaviors on swings in the outdoor play environment and their emerging understanding of the physics principles associated with those behaviors. The children's language interactions were also examined in an effort to determine the relationship between language and cognitive development in their construction of physical knowledge. The procedures involved observing the children's behaviors and collecting samples of their spontaneous language interactions during their swinging activities. Informal interviews were also conducted with individual and groups of children. The findings indicate that young children's swinging behaviors develop in eight hierarchical stages. As these behaviors develop, children experiment with the physics principles of balance, gravity, force, resistance, and resonance. Children's swinging behaviors develop in a social context. Many early behaviors are acquired through observing and modeling other children. Language provides the medium for more-experienced peers to assist novice swingers through encouragement and direct instruction. The stage development of swinging behaviors is compared to Cratty's Theory of Perceptual-Motor Development and Harrow's Taxonomy of the Psychomotor Domain. Children's cognitive processing and language interactions are discussed in the context of Piagetian and Vygotskian theories of development. Implications for instruction and suggestions for further research are discussed.
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Self-Assessment of Literacy Growth in Young Children

Self-Assessment of Literacy Growth in Young Children

Date: August 1993
Creator: Miels, Jill C.
Description: In this study, 78 kindergarten and first-grade children were interviewed about their writing to identify indicators of self-assessment. Writing samples for each participant were saved over a three month period, then compared and discussed by the child. Results indicated that these young children did engage in self:-assessment behaviors. The classroom teachers were asked to place the participants in their classes along a writing continuum known as a Writing Band. Graphs were presented to show the writing levels of the children by classroom. In addition, each classroom was surveyed to document events which promote literacy development within the framework of an integrated curriculum. Writing samples for each child were collected and kept in a portfolio. Participants were interviewed regarding the contents of the portfolio. Children in two of the kindergarten classes were interviewed using 5 samples collected over a 2 1/2 month time period, and all other participants were interviewed using 6 writing samples collected over a 3 month period. Findings indicated that not only did these young children recognize growth in their writing, but they also assessed that growth based on outward, physical features of their writing. The writing ability of each child at the beginning of the study did ...
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