Thinking differently about infants and toddlers: Exploring the reflections of future Australian early childhood teachers
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In Australian early childhood teacher education programs, there appears to be a greater focus on the age group of kindergarten children compared to that of infants and toddlers (Garvis, Lemon, Pendergast and Yim, 2013). As a consequence, pre-service teachers may have little opportunity to interact and learn about this important age range. This paper reports on the incorporation of videos of young child and educator interaction into early childhood teacher education programs at one Australian university. The cohort of pre-service teachers (18) were asked to think in a structured way about the videos with the help of a reflective template, which challenged them to apply higher order thinking with regard to the scenarios presented. As a culminating point of the template, the pre-service teachers were asked to create a reflective practice question to improve their professional practice. In this study, the reflective questions were analysed using content and pronoun analysis. Findings suggest that the pre-service teachers were focused on the continuity of learning of young children, personal skill development and social emotional development. To a lesser degree reflections explored working with families. The pronoun of ‘we’ also appeared as the most likely response on personal reflective questions. This suggests the future teachers had already positioned themselves within the group of early childhood teachers, indicating a strongly developed professional identity.
Australian Journal of Teacher Education
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Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators