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Teachers' Perceptions
January 28, 2010
To know how much there is to know is the beginning of learning to live.
-Dorothy West (1907 - 1998), American novelist
While Bonnie is in India I have been cleaning up my desk area.  Along the way I have encountered several boxes of note cards I had prepared while working on my master's degree under Gwen Morgan at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Gwen had made sure I ranged far and wide in my research.  So my dusty note cards feature quotes from well-known (at the time) organizational and business consultants such as Peter Drucker, Edgar Schein, and Harry Levinson, as well as early childhood experts such as Bettye Caldwell, David Weikart, Dorothy Hewes, and Millie Almy.  Many of these citations do not stand the test of time, but some are just as meaningful now as they were three decades ago. 

So in coming months I may sprinkle in some of this "ancient" wisdom.  For example, here is a review from an influential early childhood publication edited by Dennis McFadden, Early Childhood Development Programs and Services: Planning for Action (Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Memorial Institute, 1972) of a University of Michigan study which compared how teachers perceived their teaching style and how their style was in real life.  The university studied 20 experienced and inexperienced teachers:

"In spontaneous interviews before and after training, both experienced teachers and beginning students expressed a preference for teaching based on the discovery model.  And they expressed attitudes favoring a non-authoritarian or non-directive approach by the teacher.  Yet, when these teachers were observed, their teaching behavior was very different from the behavior they said they favored.  Using the OSCAR #4 observation instrument (Observation Schedule and Record, Form Four), researchers characterized the classroom in the study as predominantly teacher controlled or teacher centered. 

"In the interviews, the teachers also preferred showing verbal concern and approval nearly three times as often as disapproval.  However, when teachers were observed and their statements recorded, the statements characterizing support, approval, or encouragement were fewer than 10 percent of the total statements.

"The researchers concluded:  'We must examine our practice of simultaneously offering psychological information and educational theory and content without helping the student relate the two in practice.'"

Conversations on Early Childhood Teacher Education: Voices from the Working Forum for Teacher Educators captures, shares, and sparks the continuation of conversations initiated at the inaugural Working Forum for Teacher Educators.  Vibrant, challenging, and inspiring conversations were captured in this book with the intent of continuing professional dialogues and of adding voices to the growing global commitment to early childhood teacher education. Chapters focus on...
  • Policy, programs, and practices
  • Multiculturalism
  • Teacher education curriculum
  • Adults as learners
  • Learning online
  • Future directions


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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Malia Silversmith · January 28, 2010
Family Spirit Keepers
Fountain Valley, CA, United States

Thank you for the reminder of consciousness. While it is one thing to understand or intellectualize about what we know is right - it is yet another to practice it consistently both as teachers and as parents.

Bill Strader · January 28, 2010
Hesser College
Manchester, New Hampshire, United States

Thank you for the historical reflections and "updates"! That is why I have kept a number of the best historical texts and research. It appears that in some circles, If it's not the newest it's not relevent, meaningful or important! Yikes!

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