Teaching Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Students

By Rosemary Perry | Go to book overview

5

DEVELOPING A PRACTICAL THEORY AND PRACTICAL SKILLS
In this chapter we are thinking about how you can extend your understanding of teaching young children and further develop your practical skills. This will be done by:
• considering how you can develop your practical theory of teaching;
• highlighting strategies for developing practical skills;
• examining how your practical theory can help you to refine your practical skills.

DEVELOPING A PRACTICAL THEORY: WHY AND HOW?

An important aspect of becoming a teacher is to develop your own theory of teaching. Although this may sound a difficult thing to do, you are more than likely developing your own theory without even being aware that you are! Whenever you talk with friends about teaching, reflect on your own experiences of school, undertake readings and assignments and think about your observations and experiences of teaching, you are, in fact, building your own personal construct of what teaching is for you at that particular time. If you have shared your ideas about teaching with friends, you have probably discovered that your ‘theories’ vary from those of others. This is because you have not only had different personal experiences, but your thoughts about teaching and your perceptions of your experiences will have been influenced by your particular beliefs and values.

Developing your own theory of teaching is important, because it serves as a background against which you make decisions about the practical actions you can take. In fact, Handal and Lauvås (1987:9) argue that it should be termed a ‘practical theory’ because it is ‘the strongest determining factor in [a teacher’s] educational practice’. It influences not only what you do but how you do it. It is important, then, that in developing your practical theory you develop your knowledge, not only of what teaching is, but also of how teaching can be undertaken.

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Teaching Practice: A Guide for Early Childhood Students
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Foreword x
  • Preface xii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • 1 - Teaching Practice in Early Childhood Settings 1
  • 2 - Ways of Knowing and Understanding Children 21
  • 3 - Early Childhood Curriculum 50
  • 4 - Creating Environments for Learning and Teaching 77
  • 5 - Developing a Practical Theory and Practical Skills 103
  • 6 - Working with Adults in Early Childhood Settings 127
  • 7 - Making the Most of the Teaching Practice Experience 153
  • References 176
  • Index 181
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