1 Texas A&M International University (UNITED STATES)
2 Northeast Normal University (CHINA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Page: 1284
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
The objective of this study is to reveal the processes and mechanisms by which early childhood teachers transform themselves into teachers-as-researchers. Specifically, this three-year study investigated three research questions: 1) what are the mechanisms by which early childhood teachers transform themselves into teachers-as-researchers? 2) In what aspects do the teachers show significant changes during the transformation? 3) Within early childhood education settings, what factors support and/or discourage the growth of teachers-as-researchers? The participants of the study were six kindergarten teachers. These teachers and the researchers formed a collaborative group who met every month to jointly establish their monthly action plans and reflect the teachers’ previous work during the three-year study period. The data of the study was collected through teaching journals, video-taped classes and related documents (e.g., lesson plans), individual interviews, and focus group interviews. The acquired data was then analyzed by Grounded Theory approach. The results showed that the process in which the teachers grow into teachers-as-researchers was a socially-constructive process, which is characterized by two features: 1) from originally externally-driven to internally-driven; 2) from team-dependent to gradually independent. In addition, it was found that these teachers had significant changes in their awareness of spotting classroom problems, teaching style, teaching efficacy, work commitment and satisfaction, and professional development path during the transformation process. Finally, the study identified the key factors in early childhood education settings that facilitate the growth of teachers-as-researchers and proposed a new theoretical model of the ecological system for nurturing teachers-as-researchers. The study has important theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, the study sheds light on the specific mechanisms by which “ordinary” teachers transform themselves into teachers-as-researchers. It also provides new insights on how teachers-as-researchers differ from other teachers. Practically, the study provides unique insights on how school administration could be changed to facilitate teachers’ continued professional development through on-site research activities.
Teacher education, teacher as Researcher, teacher's professional development, teacher preparation.