Preschool teachers’ personal theory and their effect on didactical approaches; the case of Sinking...
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Preschool teachers’ personal theory and their effect on didactical approaches; the case of Sinking/Floating. Paraskevi Kavalari PhD student Domna – Mika Kakana Professor Vasilia Christidou Professor Department of Early Childhood Education University of Thessaly Greece

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Paraskevi Kavalari PhD student Domna – Mika Kakana Professor Vasilia Christidou Professor

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Paraskevi kavalari phd student domna mika kakana professor vasilia christidou professor

Preschool teachers’ personal theory and their effect on didactical approaches; the case of Sinking/Floating

Paraskevi Kavalari

PhD student

Domna – Mika Kakana

Professor

Vasilia Christidou

Professor

Department of Early Childhood Education

University of Thessaly

Greece

E-mail: [email protected]

The study is part of the project “Enhancement of research man power through the implementation of thesis – HERACLITUS ΙΙ”, funded by the European Union, the European Social Fund and National Resources


Curriculum implementation

Curriculum implementation

  • Publication of new national or state curricula.

  • Curriculum reform influence teaching practice and shape teachers’ views (Taylor et al., 1997).

  • Educational policy is a process (Osgood, 2004) developed in 3 contexts:

    • policy text production,

    • influence

    • implementation (Bowe et al., 1992).

  • Teachers’ empowered position. The experience, background, personal history of every teacher effect the way he/she will interpret –and consequently implement- educational policies (Hall, 2001).

  • Inconsistency between the official curriculum of preschool education and the applied curriculum (Kallery & Psilos, 2002; Kwon, 2004; Gibbons, 2011)


Greek curriculum

Greek Curriculum

3 curriculum reforms during the last 25 years

2003 – present: “Cross-thematic curriculum framework for kindergarten”

Interdisciplinary pedagogy

Holistic approach of the knowledge

Emphasis on procedure

Teachers’ initiative and responsibility

Foundation of Pedagogical Departments


Different academic backgrounds

Different academic backgrounds

  • 3 preschool teachers’ categories:

    • studied and applied the old curriculum,

    • studied the old and applied the current or both curricula

    • studied and applied only the current curriculum


Science in the curriculum

Science in the curriculum

In the unit “Nature and Interaction”

Description of two indicative “themes”

(“Water” and “My neighborhood”)

Possible activities under the theme “Water” pertain to Science teaching

Sinking/Floating:

Only one introductory question: “Put a pebble and a rubber toy in a basin with water. Do they float or sink?”

Selection of “Sinking/Floating”:

popularity

it can be included in the theme “Water”

teachers’ insufficiency in approaching the specific concept.


The study

The study

Aim: to what extend the didactical approach of Sinking/Floating in preschool classrooms is influenced by teachers’ variant theoretical background.

Research questions:

  • (a) Does the way that Sinking/Floating is approached converge with curriculum guidelines?

  • (b) Is the didactical approach influenced by teachers’ variant theoretical background?

    [Part of a wider project]


Method

Method

Sample

3 preschool teachers participated in the study (they represent the main groups in which Greek preschool teachers pertain according to their theoretical studies and background)

Data collection

  • 3 semi-structured interviews with the classrooms teachers

  • 3 in-classroom observations during the approach of Sinking/Floating

    Procedure

  • The qualitative analysis was based on preset as well as emergent categories.

  • Categories that were formed:

    • C1 – Context within which the activity is integrated

    • C2 – Introductory questions

    • C3 – Experimental process

    • C4 – Criteria used for selection of materials

    • C5 – Listing of findings and conclusions


Observation

Results

Research questions:

(a)Does the way that Sinking/Floating is approached converge with curriculum guidelines?

(b): Is the didactical approach influenced by teachers’ variant theoretical background

Observation

Agreement with curriculum guidelines

Interview

Disagreement with curriculum guidelines

T1: Studied old, appliednewT2: Studied and appliednewT3: Studied old appliedboth


Discussion

Discussion

  • Attachment to traditional practices and previous curricula found in all 3 participants

  • Affection by traditional pedagogy

  • Neglect of children’s previous ideas and problematic experimental process

    Central question

    “Which processes and practices in the field of teacher education could lead to reflective teachers, teachers who will be able to connect theory and practice and to proceed to the most appropriate choice depending on the specific teaching process?”


Thank you for your attention

Thank you for your attention!

Paraskevi Kavalari

PhD student

Domna – Mika Kakana

Professor

Vasilia Christidou

Professor

Department of

Early Childhood Education

University of Thessaly

Greece

E-mail: [email protected]

The study is part of the project “Enhancement of research man power through the implementation of thesis – HERACLITUS ΙΙ”, funded by the European Union, the European Social Fund and National Resources


Curriculum guidelines and teaching practice

Curriculum guidelines and teaching practice

consistency in the category that refers to the context that the activity is performed

inconsistency in the experimental procedure:

lack of systematic observation

lack of testing predictions and making connections

Interpretation according to teacher’s level of knowledge

insufficient content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, misplaced materials selection

children’s misconceptions

Research question (a)


Impact of theoretical background

Research question (b)

Impact of theoretical background

  • Great similarity

  • T1: (studied the old curriculum, applied the new one)

    • Lack of introductory questions

    • Isolated activity

    • Careful materials selection

  • Divergence not attributed to her different theoretical background.


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