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Title:Thoughtful early childhood teachers: documentation as part of teaching
Author(s):Kang, Jinju
Director of Research:Walsh, Daniel J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Daniel J. Walsh
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bresler, Liora; Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Elementary Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):early childhood education
teacher education
Abstract:This study explores the contemporary realities of documentation in early childhood education. The purpose of this study is to provide early childhood teachers with a workable, systematic, and durable process for, approach to, and deep understanding of documentation. The ultimate goal of this study is to find ways to help early childhood teachers make documentation an integral part of teaching. The study focused on how five early childhood in-service teachers carried out documentation in two different settings: a lab school, where documentation was viewed as a core instructional tool, and a public school, where teachers did documentation while challenged by limited resources and support. As an observer, helper, and facilitator in each setting, I conducted participant observation, observing the process of documentation as well as teachers’ interactions with children, parents, and other teachers. Other data sources included in-depth interviews with the teachers about their experiences with documentation as well as the documents, records, and displays that teachers created during the study. In the process of documentation, teachers recorded various aspects of their classrooms: students’ learning, experiences, and growth, and their own teaching. They did so in many ways. Using these records, they created a variety of displays to share with children, parents, and visitors. For the teachers, the purpose of documentation was to explore students’ growth, to help themselves think about their own teaching, and to share what they learned with children, parents, and others. They described the challenges they faced, particularly the lack of time. They expressed the need for someone to share their thoughts with. They also emphasized the importance of students’ involvement in the process of documentation. From my work with the teachers, I developed a model of documentation that sees documentation as the entire process and that comprises the following stages: (a) recording, (b) organizing records, (c) analyzing organized records, (d) creating public displays, and (e) sharing the displays both inward, that is, with students and other teachers, and outward, with parents, visitors, and others. The goal of this model is present documentation as a process that promotes teachers’ collaborative inquiry, that encourages teachers to display a collage, rather than a montage, of both group and individual work, and that becomes an integral part of teaching. Making documentation central to teaching will require both teachers and teacher educators to explore deeply the collaborative nature of teaching and learning. Implications for future research are discussed, particularly in international settings.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Jinju Kang
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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