2001, Volume 4, Journal Articles

NZ Research in ECE Journal Volume 4 (2001)

early childhood research journal

A Right to Respect and Reciprocity: Ethics and Educational Research with Children 

Helen Hedges
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 1 -18.

Abstract: Recent calls to involved children directly in research designed to improve their educational experiences have rarely been matched by consideration of research ethics. It is respectful of children to give specific consideration of generic principles discussed in codes of ethical conduct to studies where children are the research participants. Researchers also have a responsibility to ensure teachers can use the results of research to improve children’s experiences. Early childhood education has recently embraced practitioner research as a way to involve teachers in the generation of research. Additional ethical issues arise for teachers researching the children for whom they are responsible. However, there is much to be gained from the involvement of teachers in research. This paper argues it is time for a specific code of ethical conduct to be developed to account for children’s participation in research activities.

Time and Change: Multi-Method Research in Early Childhood Education for Children with Special Needs

Kathleen Liberty
University of Canterbury
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 19 - 46.

Abstract: Multi-method research is research that selectively incorporates strategies and processes of qualitative, quantitative and time series methodologies. It has many advantages for research into issues related to early childhood education because of the unique nature of the early childhood centre, curriculum, contexts and practices. Multi-method approaches are particularly useful for research involving young children with special needs. This paper discusses multi-method research methods for the study of young children with special needs in early education contexts, and provides a brief example of one type of application. The example presented involved the interweaving of data from parent journals, standardised developmental assessments, interview information, individual learning records and strategies from quantitative, qualitative and time series methodologies. Issues and implications of multi-method research are discussed.

Early Childhood Teacher Education in Australia: Contexts and Challenges for the Birth to Eight Specialisation

Anne Kennedy
Monash University
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 47 - 60.

Abstract: Australian early childhood undergraduate teacher education programmes share many similarities across different institutions in contexts such as course content and duration, practicum provision and specialisation focus. In general, the specialisation for these programmes is on the life-span period of birth to eight years, which means that the Australian early childhood teacher is prepared for employment in both the compulsory and non-compulsory sectors of education. This paper will discuss the preliminary findings of a national survey which was undertaken to ascertain an overview of the current contexts for undergraduate early childhood teacher education in Australia. The paper will provide examples of how some universities have attempted to meet the challenges of preparing graduates for both sectors of early childhood education. Some of the challenges that have been identified include meeting the registration requirements for different employment authorities, maintaining the early childhood focus in broader programmes, and planning the practicum across diverse settings.

Peer Relationship Problems of Young Children Starting A New Year at School

Marie Moore
Upper Hutt Primary School
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 73 - 102.

Abstract: Starting a new year at school is often an anxious time for young school children. In this study, the playground problems 37 five-year-old children had during school weeks one to eight and weeks 21 to 24 were documented daily. Most of the problems children had were associated with friendships and bullying. In order to ease these problems, social problem-solving strategies were taught to the children. During the study, the children became better at dealing with friendships and the problem of being bullied. This was indicated by an increase in the percentage of times children were able to independently solve these problems. This study suggests that it is important for young school children to be taught peer relationship strategies to help ease the day-to-day problems they face as they start a new year at school

Perceptions of Communicable Disease Issues in New Zealand Early Childhood Centres

Mike Bedford
Health Promotion Specialist, Wellington
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 73 - 102.

Abstract: Parents and teachers involved in early childhood centres encounter a wide range of health issues that affect both children and adults. This paper discusses the perceptions of early childhood centre teachers and playcentre parents in relation to communicable diseases that are not vaccine preventable, such as respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections or skin conditions. It considers the impact of health issues in relation to other concerns or pressures on early childhood centres, and compares the perceptions of non vaccine-preventable communicable diseases (NVPCDs) with New Zealand and international communicable disease data. The paper presents a case for greater attention to communicable disease transmission issues, and the need for an informed health workforce that recognises early childhood centre diversity.

Taking the Life Out of What You Do: Kindergarten Teachers Talk Education Changes (1984 - 96)

Judith Duncan
Children’s Issues Centre, Dunedin
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 103 - 124.

Abstract: Life history interviews, as part of a doctoral study, were carried out over a two-year period (1994 – 1996) to obtain insight into the impact of the major early childhood education reforms on the lives of eight kindergarten teachers.  This paper, drawing on the ideas of Foucault, focuses on the sense of powerlessness and helplessness – the ‘docile teacher’ – that the teachers’ discussed as the result of the top-down implementation of the education reforms. The teachers had begun to feel that the changes were simply taking the life out of what they were doing on a day-to-day basis.

Voices for the Record

Sarah Te One
Victoria University of Wellington
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 125 - 132.

Abstract: The focus of this study was on teachers’ experiences of using portfolios as a form of assessment. Anecdotal evidence had revealed that while most teachers found portfolios useful planning and assessment tools they were also seen by some teachers as unmanageable. This study looks at three teachers’ experiences of compiling and using portfolios in early childhood setting.

Collaborative Research in Early Childhood Care and Education: Some Issues and Reflections from Recent Experience

Jenny Ritchie
University of Waikato
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 133 - 138.

Abstract: This paper is a personal reflection on the role of the University-based ‘academic’ researcher of early childhood care and education in terms of possibilities of collaboration with early childhood practitioners, and accountability to those in the field. It raises issues of power and partnership, research purposes; ethics; accountability; responsiveness and relationships; culture and multiple perspectives; and an orientation of humility and respect. It discusses parallels between, and the socio-cultural orientation of Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum, and the current early childhood education focus on collaborative co-construction of meanings as a pedagogical strategy within this collaborative research paradigm. It also raises issues pertaining to seeking the voices of children in our research process.

A Comparison of how EC Teacher Education Trainees and Engineers Analyse and Plan for a Child who Displayed Traits Associated with Engineering

Kathleen Palmer
Teacher Education Contractor, Wellington
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 139 - 146.

Abstract: This study compares and contrasts the ways in which early childhood teacher education trainees in their final-year of study and qualified engineers perceived a hypothetical intuitive, thinking, probing child – a temperament typical of engineers, architects and inventors. It examines how the two groups interpreted the play and described the character of the ‘child’ in three different play scenarios. It surveyed the ways that the two groups would plan for the child, as well as the types of concerns that they would hold for the child. The purpose of the study was to identify the particular strengths of each group of adults.

An Ecological Approach to Practicum Assessment

Linda Keesing-Styles
UNITEC Institute of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 147 - 154.

Abstract: This paper identifies some of the key issues related to one aspect of the practicum – the theory/practice dichotomy – and proffers one potential alternative approach based on the experiences of the researcher in an early childhood education programme. This alternative is informed by postmodern critiques of curriculum and focuses specifically on ecological princples as an alternative influence on assessment in the practicum. The discussion highlights a number of the issues related to what constitutes theory and how it interacts with practice. Some traditional approaches are challenged and early childhood teacher educators are encouraged to incorporate innovative assessment practices in the practicum.

Insiders and Outsiders: Observing and Assessing Children at Play

Bill Hagan, Helen Anderson and John Jones Parry
Manukau Institute of Technology
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 155 - 164.

Abstract: This study describes the development of a method of observation which can be used by early childhood educators to delineate the patterns of children’s play in varying contexts. It is a follow-up to the authors’ previous study in the ecology of discourse (Jones Parry, Hagan and Anderson, 2000). The method used is derived from investigations by the authors into the discourse surrounding children’s attempts to join, maintain or exclude others from play situations. This method provides educators with information about the effectiveness of children’s strategies when children put their intentions into action in play settings. The information about ‘insiders and outsiders’ can then be used by educators in the development of learning plans for children. The study trialled an observation tool in an early childhood setting and worked with early childhood staff to refine the method to ensure practicality, validity and reliability. The researcher/childcare centre staff relationships are discussed.

Researching with Men: Ideas and Strategies for Doing Better

David Mitchell
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology

Philip Chapman
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 165 - 176.

Abstract: This paper challenges the tendency of research to ignore issues related to the study of men and particularly men as parents. An argument is also presented for including men in studies of parenting and use of family services, including early childhood education services. We draw on our recent New Zealand study of fathers’ experience of child and family services to highlight key issues in conducting research that involves men as informants and concerns men as parents. The issues identified include recruitment of men, interpretation of men’s voice and the impact of stereotypes and myths regarding fathering. From our experience of conducting the study and working on these issues we share a set of recommendations. We hope the ideas and strategies that were developed for addressing these issues will prove useful in providing some guidance for future research with men.

Against the Parental Right to Use Corporal Punishment to Discipline Children: Implications for Early Childhood and Primary School Teachers 

John A. Clark
Massey University, Palmerston North
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 177 - 188.

Abstract: This commentary discusses debates surrounding parents’ right to use corporal punishment. Drawing on philosophy it is concluded that children have a moral right to bodily integrity and parents do not have a moral right to use corporate punishment on their children. Since they do not have a moral right, they ought not to have legal right to use ‘force by way of correction toward the child’. It is argued therefore that section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 should be repealed. Implications for teachers and their role in breaking the cycle of violence in families and in society are outlined.

Future Directions for Early Childhood Research in New Zealand

Michael Gaffney and Anne B. Smith
Children’s Issues Centre, Dunedin
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 4, 2001, pp. 189 - 204.

Abstract: This commentary summarises and discusses the findings of a literature review in the area of early childhood education. The review was commissioned by the Ministry of Education. Here we look briefly at issues of participation, the nature of quality and the effects of early childhood education, and early childhood education policy. Further questions for research are identified.

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