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Speaking up-speaking out: What does it take to prepare early childhood professionals to advocate for children and families?

Description: The early childhood profession regards advocacy as a professional and ethical responsibility yet little is known about advocacy instructional practices in teacher education programs. This study surveyed selected early childhood teacher educators who currently prepare undergraduate preservice professionals in two- and four-year institutions throughout the United States to identify and evaluate the existing advocacy training practices in preservice education. The study was designed to: (a) determine what leaders in the field of early childhood believe constitutes appropriate advocacy training for preprofessionals, (b) describe the advocacy activities of teacher educators, (c) determine if there is a difference in the advocacy instructional practices of two- and four-year institutions, and (d) recommend a model for advocacy in preprofessional programs. The participants included 607 teacher educators who responded to a mailed questionnaire and 14 leaders of early childhood professional organizations who participated in telephone interviews. Participants represented 48 states and all geographic regions of the United States. Results indicate that teacher educators and leaders believe advocacy instruction is important in preparation programs. The most frequently included advocacy activities are professionalism and understanding the professional role. Advocacy skills and strategies focused on public policy were included the least. Findings show that teacher educators participate in a variety of advocacy activities although few participate in public policy activities. No statistically significant differences were found between two- and four-year institutions in advocacy instructional practices. Based on study data, the researcher developed the Brunson Model for Advocacy Instruction in order to provide the profession with a consistent and sequenced approach to advocacy instruction. Recommendations for future research include: investigation of effective strategies for teaching advocacy; a study of the developmental nature of advocacy; and a study of the Brunson Model for Advocacy Instruction to determine the model's effectiveness in preparing professionals who will have the ability to speak ...
Date: December 2002
Creator: Brunson, Mary Nelle

Success For Life in Thailand: Educational and Cultural Implementation

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether implementing Success For Life in Thailand would meet the needs of Thai public policy, the Thai educational system, and Thai culture. There were 46 respondents, including 4 early childhood professionals, 4 preschool owners, 6 directors, and 32 teachers. All respondents received the Success For Life training workshop. Each participant was requested to complete a questionnaire on their understanding and awareness of brain development and function, thoughts about implementing Success For Life in Thailand, and the appropriateness of Success For Life for the Thai educational system, Thai public policy, and Thai culture. In addition, all of the 4 early childhood professionals, 4 preschool owners, and 6 directors, and 8 teachers were interviewed to expand the information provided in the questionnaires. Two preschools implemented Success For Life in November 2000. Another 6 preschools implemented Success For Life in June 2001. Participating teachers in the preschools where Success For Life was implemented in November 2000 were also asked to write bimonthly journals. Journal entries included information about how participants changed their teaching styles after receiving the Success For Life training. Research findings indicated that Success For Life was appropriate to the preschool level in Thailand. Recommendations for Success For Life implementation in Thailand were 1) clarify the meaning of “teacher-centered” to conform with Thai policy, 2) modify the mathematics curriculum to reflect higher level concepts, 3) include ethics and financial education in the curriculum, 4) include in Success For Life staff development methods for teaching children with special needs, different learning styles, and in ESL programs, and 5) clarify how, in the Success For Life curriculum, children have a right to access to the Thai dream instead of the American Dream.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Samahito, Chalatip

A survey study of entry transition practices used by teachers of infants and toddlers.

Description: This study identified transition practices used by teachers and/or primary caregivers of infants and toddlers when entering child care programs across Dallas , TX . Participants completed the Program Entry Transition Practices Survey regarding their use of transition practices in fall 2003 and perceived barriers to entry transition practices. Results show frequency tallies, percentages of use for each transition practice, and the mean number of practices used for the entire sample and with the sample split according to participants from profit and non-profit programs. Results were also organized into four subscales based on the type of practice used. Results supported the hypothesis that teachers and caregivers would report more transition practices occurring after beginning care and directed towards a group than those occurring before beginning care and directed towards an individual. In response to the broader research question regarding barriers: Teachers and caregivers from profit and non-profit centers reported similar barriers to implementing transition practices.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Fernandez, Mary Elizabeth Poteet

Taiwanese Preschool Teachers' Awareness of Cultural Diversity of New Immigrant Children: Implications for Practice

Description: This study investigated Taiwanese preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity of new immigrant children and how this awareness influences their educational practices. In particular, this study focused on the cultural awareness of preschool teachers who work with young Taiwanese children whose mothers are immigrants from Southeast Asia. This study used quantitative and qualitative methods. One hundred seventy-two Taiwanese preschool teachers from the different geographic areas of Taiwan participated in the study. Data were collected through the use of the Cultural Diversity Awareness Inventory (CDAI) survey and participant interviews. Research results of the study revealed: (a) most Taiwanese preschool teachers had an awareness of cultural diversity, but their perceptions of how to create a multicultural environment need to be improved; (b) Taiwanese preschool teachers' personal experiences with children from different cultures were more associated with their cultural awareness than their ages and educational levels; (c) Geographic location was the factor affecting preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity and educational practices. This study is informative to the understanding of Taiwanese preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity and the implications of this awareness for classroom practice. In addition, multicultural perspectives of the Taiwan society toward immigrant families and children can benefit from the findings of this study. Future research should include the cultural needs of new immigrant children and the implementation of practices for educating new immigrant children.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Ting, Chia-Wei

Teacher Practice, Curriculum, and Children's Moral Development in Buddhist Temple Preschools in Thailand

Description: This study investigated what constitutes a moral development program in Buddhist temple preschools in Thailand. The researcher employed three qualitative methods: structured, in-depth interviews, observations of teachers' instruction, and document analysis of curriculum guides. Four Buddhist temple preschools were selected as the sites. Participants for interview included three abbots and one head nun, four principals, and twelve teachers. Participants for observations included four teachers of third year classes in each preschool. The study concentrated on four research questions: (a) what are the elements of the character education curriculum? (b) How do teachers teach moral development concepts and skills? (c) What are the teachers' perceptions of the moral development of third year preschoolers? (d) How do teachers assess their pupils' moral development? Key findings for the research questions were: character education was not a subject in the National Preschool Curriculum which was implemented in the Buddhist temple preschools. Core morality was integrated into every topic. The moral behaviors emphasized in the curriculum and the lesson plans included discipline, mindfulness, kindness, helpfulness, patience, honesty, respect, thriftiness, and politeness. The Buddhist concept of the process of moral development includes character education and meditation. The preschoolers were trained to pay respect to teachers and parents as an obedience approach to character education. Preparation of teachers included screening for their values and pre-service training. The instruction of meditation was approached gradually and aroused the children's interest. After three years of schooling, the third year preschoolers were well-behaved, helpful, and kind; no aggressive behaviors were reported. The assessment of moral development of preschoolers was based on observation of the teachers throughout the school year. Implications for practice are discussed, including procedures for gathering information on beliefs, attitudes, and culture of the parents before implementation of different models of moral development. Finally, future research directions are proposed.
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Date: December 2001
Creator: Phisalaphong, Rathdow

Teachers' Use of Children's Literature, Mathematics Manipulatives, and Scaffolding to Improve Preschool Mathematics Achievement: Does It Work?

Description: The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of an intervention involving teachers' use of children's literature, related storybook manipulatives, and a scaffolding (LMS) approach to learning would improve preschool children's mathematics test scores. Additionally, the LMS approach was examined to determine whether teachers' perceptions of their effectiveness in mathematics instruction changed from the beginning to the end of the study. The subjects of the study included 60 preschool-aged children and six teachers from two child care centers. The preschool teachers participated in either a control or experimental condition (the LMS approach) in their daily mathematics instruction with their preschool children. The researcher tested the children using the Test of Early Mathematics Ability and an abbreviated version of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. The study was based on two main research questions. The first question asked if there was a difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding intervention group and children in the control group after assuring equivalency of the two groups. The second question addressed if preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. The answer to the first research question was that there was no statistically significant difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding group and children in the control group. However, the answer to the second question was that preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. Recommendations for future research on early childhood mathematics include the investigation of preschool children's ability, achievement, and interest in mathematics; teachers' use of mathematics scaffolding techniques; and longitudinal mathematics interventions beginning during the preschool years.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Bennett, Tisha L.

Thai Teachers' Beliefs about Learner-Centered Education: Implications for Success For Life Thailand

Description: The Thai government has strongly advocated for the learner-centered education for the past decade. Success For Life Thailand (SFLT), a brain-research-based early childhood education program blended with the theories of the developmentally appropriate practices and child-centered philosophies, has been implemented in Thailand for over 8 years. The purposes of the present study were to: (a) describe the current statuses of the Thai early childhood educators' learner-centered beliefs and practices, (b) identify if the SFLT training workshop affects teachers' learner-centered beliefs and practices, and (c) examine if other variables, along with familiarity with the SFLT program, predict teachers' learner-centered beliefs and practices. Ninety-three preschool and kindergarten teachers participated in the study. Among them, 17 were SFLT trainees in 1999 and 2000 (i.e., the previously trained group), 43 were trained in Year 2006 (the currently trained group), and the others were comparable to the currently trained group by matching the key personal and school variables. The Teachers Beliefs and Practices Survey: 3-5 Year Olds (Burts et al., 2000) and the Learner-Centered Education: the Assessment of Learner- Centered (ALCP) for K-3 (McCombs, 2001) were used to collect data on the various domains of the learner-centered beliefs and practices. Findings reveal that: (a) Thai teachers highly endorse learner-centered beliefs, (b) Thai educators demonstrate relatively low levels of developmentally appropriate practices and high levels of developmentally inappropriate practices (DIP) in comparing with the American early childhood educators, (c) the previously trained SFLT teachers score higher on the DAP domains and lower on the DIP domains than the other two groups, and (d) familiarity with the SFLT program, along with teacher's education level, years of teaching experience, and the total number of students in the classroom do not predict variations on the different domains of the DAP and learner-centered learning questionnaires. Future studies need to use ...
Date: August 2007
Creator: Israsena, Vasinee

To Include or not to Include: Early Childhood Preservice Educators' Beliefs, Attitudes, and Knowledge about Students with Disabilities

Description: The first purpose of this study was to develop and validate the Inventory of Opinions About Persons with Disabilities (IOPD). The IOPD was developed to collect preservice early childhood educators’self-report data related to inclusion. A total of 332 participants enrolled in graduate programs in a college of education served as the validation sample. After validation and revision of the IOPD, the researcher used the instrument to investigate preservice early childhood educators’ beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge about students with disabilities and their inclusion in general education classrooms. Data were collected from 172 participants from 10 universities in Texas during their student teaching/final intern semesters. This research demonstrated that an instrument, the IOPD, could be developed to effectively measure preservice early childhood educators’ beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge about the inclusion of children with disabilities in their classrooms. The participants reported positive self-perceptions (mean = 2.0388) about their beliefs and attitudes toward inclusion. However, the participants reported less positive attitudes about training (mean = -.09884). Discriminant function analyses indicated a negligible statistical effect for type of program (professional development school or traditional) and a statistically significant effect for preferred classroom setting (non-inclusive, special education, inclusive). Further research with the same participants or similar cohorts at one and three years of inservice teaching could broaden the scope of knowledge regarding early childhood teachers’ opinions about inclusion and students with disabilities. In addition, including procedures for gathering qualitative data with the Inventory of Opinions About Persons With Disabilities might provide more specific information about individual beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge about inclusion.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Aldrich, Jennifer E.