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Title:"Houses and fields and vineyards shall yet again be bought in this land": The story of Ana, a public kindergarten teacher in Portugal
Author(s):Vasconcelos, Teresa Maria Sena de
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Katz, Lilian G.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Early Childhood
Education, Teacher Training
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:A study using ethnographic and biographic methods was developed in a kindergarten just outside Lisbon, Portugal, involving Ana, a preschool teacher. Ana is considered an excellent teacher by her colleagues, parents, and university supervisors. The questions of the study were: What is the commitment and competence that distinguishes Ana as a Master Teacher? How has Ana's practice been influenced by her personal and professional biography? How does a Master Teacher perceive being a Master Teacher?
This in-depth study shows that Ana builds, day after day, a participatory democracy in her classroom, by teaching her children how to be active members of a community of learners. A metaphor for democracy in Ana's classroom is represented by a Large Table around which the group meets with Ana for conversation, discussion, planning, problem solving. For that democracy to be built, Ana masters the quotidian of her classroom as an ever changing "puzzle" which implies a flexible schedule, evolving space and materials, the uses of "work organizers" as scaffolds, caring about interactions, juggling many things at the same time, creating a group centered discipline and providing a "schoolhome" atmosphere. The intricacy of the work of this quotidian "puzzle" is demonstrated as an important women's work.
Ana's teaching is her own personal creation because at the core of Ana's teaching is Ana's moral self, constructed throughout her personal and professional biography. This moral self is about respect and caring, and illuminates Ana's view of the child and of the art of her teaching. This moral self makes Ana's presence central to a group of children and to their families, yet lets her step aside when she is not needed anymore. From Ana's practice a curriculum emerges that is phenomenological, constructivist, polycentric, socially and intellectually focused, and contextualized.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Vasconcelos, Teresa Maria Sena de
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9522184
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9522184

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