Teaching Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Students

Teaching Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Students

Teaching Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Students

Teaching Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Students

Synopsis

Teaching young children can often involve developing trusting relationships, deciding on what children need to know, creating secure and stimulating learning environments, and working cooperatively with other significant adults in children's lives.

Excerpt

Purpose and content: My purpose in writing this Guide has been to assist you as a student teacher to prepare for your teaching practice experiences in early childhood settings and to make the most of the learning opportunities which they provide. In making decisions concerning the topics to be discussed I was influenced by the comments of your peers, the contributions of writers who have sought to encapsulate some of the complexities and dynamism of teaching in the early years, as well as the practical wisdom which experienced teachers have willingly shared. As a result, attention has been given to these topics—ways of knowing and relating to children; developing an understanding of the early childhood curriculum; providing effective social and physical environments for learning and teaching; working collaboratively with colleagues, parents and other significant adults in children’s lives; and how to develop a practical theory and practical skills. Although these topics are discussed in separate chapters their interrelatedness is highlighted, as many underlying concepts and principles common to all topics are revisited throughout the book.

Approach to presentation: In deciding how to approach these topics I was influenced by my belief that a useful Guide talks directly to you, its reader, anticipates your experiences and questions and engages you in the learning process. Presenting the experiences of other student teachers, and, in some instances, teachers, seemed to be one authentic means of achieving such goals, as the teaching stories of others bring into focus real situations, dilemmas, issues and rewards which you are also likely to face. The challenge was to present these accounts in ways that would lead you not only to view a situation from the perspective of another student teacher, but would enable you to consider situations and behaviours in ways that fostered your own exploration of associated theories and perspectives, and encouraged you to propose possible consequences of actions as well as appropriate strategies. In short, the aim was to enable you to develop your own knowledge of the ‘what’ and ‘how to’ of teaching.

In creating this type of presentation, judgements had to be made concerning the extent and nature of the coverage given to theory, research and specialized

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