2006, Volume 9, Journal Articles

NZ Research in ECE Journal Volume 9 (2006)

early childhood research journal

Too Much, Too Soon?  The Multiple Roles and Identities of Newly Qualified Early Childhood Teachers

Helen Aitken
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 1 -14.

Key words: Teacher support, qualification, newly qualified teachers

Abstract: As recent legislation and future policy directions in the early childhood sector emphasise the importance of teacher qualification, there is a need to examine how this may be impacting on teachers, and in particular on those who are newly qualified. This paper reports on research which examined the experiences of a group of eight newly qualified teachers in the 18 months following the completion of their initial teacher education. The notion of communities of practice, originally developed from the work of Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (1991), was used as a means of viewing and analysing the teachers’ experiences. The findings of the study suggest that for all of the teachers in the study, being qualified resulted in an immediate change of identity, and with this new identity often came multiple roles and/or increasing levels of responsibility in their centre. The conflicting nature of these roles and identities meant that for some of the teachers in the study, very little support or acknowledgment of their newly qualified status was given to them in their first years of teaching. This paper concludes that further consideration and recognition of the experiences of newly qualified teachers in the early childhood sector is warranted to ensure that teachers get initial support, and that as a consequence, the retention of teachers is promoted.

Opportunities for Parent Partnership and Advocacy in Early Years Services in Ireland

Shirley Martin
University College Cork, Ireland
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp.  15- 32.

Key words: Parents, parent-staff relationships, partnerships, infants and toddlers

Abstract: As childcare use is increasing it is apparent that there is a gap in what research can inform us about parents say in their child’s care and learning and their participation in settings. The aim of the study reported in this paper was to explore the relationship parents of children aged between birth and three have with their service providers. A further aspect of the study was to elicit the views of parents and staff of these services about parent-staff partnerships. The parents were full-time working parents and the study sampled services in the Dublin area. Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems theory was drawn on as a theoretical framework for this study. The study revealed a variety of views representing both positive and negative perceptions of partnership. In general parents and staff felt that parents, staff and children benefited from partnership. While current research literature and Irish government policy emphasises the benefits of partnership, evidence in this study indicates that partnership between parents and childcare providers is not prevalent. The lack of opportunity for parents to express their own voice suggests that parents may not be in a position to act as an advocate for their child. Parents are not in this position because of staff and parent perceptions of full-time working parents and lack of time for partnership, limited opportunities in the early years services for joint-decision making, lack of information available to parents on opportunities for partnership and organisational constraints such as lack of parent participation on the management committees of services.

Parental Perceptions: The Psychosocial Impact of Hospitalisation of Young Children with Special Needs

Sarah McDonald
Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 33 - 50. 

Key words:  Special needs children, hospitalisation, family centred care

Abstract: This paper reports on a study undertaken to examine parents’ perceptions of the psychosocial impact of hospitalisation on their children with special needs. A grounded theory approach was employed to understand the way in which families were affected by their child’s hospitalisation. Four parents whose children with special needs were aged six years or under participated in the study. Parents participated in an initial focus group interview followed by individual interviews. Stress was identified as the most significant impact on families of hospitalisation of the child with special needs. Cognitive pressure and social disharmony were also identified as major challenges that families experienced around the time of their child's hospitalisation. The findings of this study are discussed in relation to the literature. Implications from this research indicate the importance of commitment to, and implementation of, family centred care within healthcare organisations.

Drawing: The Consequential Progression of Ideas

Margaret Brooks
University of New England, New South Wales
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 51 - 66. 

Key words: Children’s drawing, thinking, socio-cultural theory

Abstract: This paper examines the role that drawing plays in young children’s learning and knowledge construction, and how drawing can help them elaborate their ideas. Some findings from part of a larger study of children’s drawing in a class of five and six year olds in Canada are presented. The study was carried out by the author who was also the classroom teacher, supported by a research assistant and a classroom assistant. A Vygotskian socio-cultural lens was brought to examining young children’s drawing processes. This showed how drawing in a social context mediated new knowledge and understanding. Examining drawing events over time, threads of children’s thinking were followed to demonstrate the consequential progression of increasingly complex ideas. The findings show that drawing processes that encourage young children to talk about, share, revise, revisit and re-contextualize their drawings can extend and elaborate thinking.

Facing the Challenge: Integrating Early Childhood and Primary Education Practices

Brent Mawson
University of Auckland
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp.  67 - 80.

Key words: Seamless education, educational transition, curriculum, teacher education

Abstract: The current policy to create closer ties between the early childhood and primary sectors is the culmination of a process that dates back two decades. I outline the steps leading to the current situation and then explore the practicalities of implementing the government’s policy in terms of curriculum approaches, pedagogy, pre-service training and teacher’s work. I ask who has set this agenda? What are the implications for early childhood? What should our role be?

Pedagogical Connections, Boundaries and Barriers: The Place of Travel in Teachers’ Professional Development

Kathy Goouch and Hazel Bryan
Canterbury Christ Church University, England
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 81 - 90. 

Key words: Professional identity, internationalisation, critical pedagogy

Abstract: There has been increasing interest shown by those concerned with young children’s learning in international policy and practice. By travelling ourselves, we sought to understand the imperative for practitioners to look beyond their own geographical and cultural locations for guidance. In order to understand this, the authors have considered issues of teacher identity, political dominance and contexts of influence. In addition, metaphors to extend and understand the idea of  ‘teacher travellers’ have been employed in order to  consider the ‘impulse’ to travel, their ‘journeys’, their ‘return’ and the ‘impact’ of their travels. The article critically considers the question of what nourishes and sustains a teacher’s sense of professional identity and tentatively concludes that where a guiding philosophy exists and is clearly articulated in policy and practice, then a synthesis of other models enhances pedagogy. However, where such a guiding philosophy is absent, a ‘cut and paste’ model is applied.

Engaging in Collaborative Research: Lessons Learned

Margaret Turnbull and Helen Dixon
University of Auckland
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 91 - 104. 

Key words: Research collaboration, practitioner research, action research, centre-based investigation

Abstract: A collaborative research initiative was established between early childhood centre staff and teacher educators from a tertiary institution. The aim of the research was to investigate a problem related to the achievement of boys from the centre when they started school. This paper reports on issues and tensions that arose when the centre staff realised that, although the focus of the collaborative venture was the boys’ learning competencies, their professional practice would also come under scrutiny. Resolving the issues was a delicate and sensitive process for all concerned. The lessons derived from this experience may be of relevance to others who engage in similar research collaborations.

Using Functionalist and Sociocultural Theory to Examine Coregulation of Distress in Mother-Child Interaction

Holli A. Tonyan
Monash University, Australia
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 105 - 114. 

Key words: Emotional development, sociocultural theory, interaction

Abstract: The literature on child development and childhood settings has identified emotion regulation, or the ability to modulate emotions to engage with the environment, as a topic of interest to parents and educators. Nonetheless, there continue to be wide variations in the assumptions about and approaches to understanding the topic. Research about emotion regulation has either focused on the intrapersonal dimensions of such modulation or enveloped interpersonal factors within coping or attachment models. This paper provides an overview of theoretical and empirical approaches previously used to understand emotion regulation then explores the usefulness of considering functionalist and sociocultural approaches by reinterpreting previously published findings from this new perspective (Tonyan, 2005a, 2005b). The key features of the two approaches are a focus on the activities in which emotions are regulated, the meaning and goals of regulation, and rethinking assumptions about time. In addition, the concept of guided participation from a sociocultural approach focuses analysis on the ways in which communication and coordination around distress are likely to vary across cultural communities.

Fathers’ Involvement in Early Years Settings: Findings from Research

Tim Kahn
Pre-school Learning Alliance, London
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 115 - 126. 

Key words: Fathers, parent involvement, men in childcare/early years education

Abstract: The research overviewed here aimed to discover the extent to which fathers and male caregivers in England are involved in early years settings and the factors that facilitate and/or limit their involvement. The degree of father involvement (both current and future) was gauged by means of questionnaires completed by staff (paid and unpaid) at 322 settings; eight focus group interviews were also held involving a total of 21 staff and 21 fathers. The results suggest that while staff recognised the importance of father involvement, fathers often did not feel comfortable in these settings. Staff from only six percent of settings believed that setting up activities exclusively for fathers was necessary. At the majority of settings (71%) activities were provided for parents in general and fathers were not specifically targeted. Interestingly, in the context of focus group discussions the idea of separate activities for fathers was viewed very positively by staff, suggesting a possible difference between practices of parent involvement in settings and staff views. A number of possible strategies for increasing father involvement emerged from the findings: (1) increasing the presence of men working in settings as paid staff, students on placement, and volunteers; (2) planning activities for fathers based on the interests of fathers within the individual setting;(3) understanding that different approaches may be necessary in different communities and with different groups of fathers; and, (4) staff needing to be aware that the language they use and the roles they assign to mothers and fathers and mothers assume (of being the primary carer) in the early years setting can be a barrier to male involvement. Recommendations from the research include: (1) providing staff with ‘what works’ leaflets and training; (2) staff training to raise awareness of gender issues; and, (3) addressing the gender imbalance in the early years workforce.

Evaluating the Primary School ‘Keeping Ourselves Safe’ Programme

Owen Sanders
Youth Education Service, New Zealand Police
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp.  127 - 136.

Key words: Child abuse, personal safety, programme evaluation

Abstract: ‘Keeping Ourselves Safe’ is a personal safety and child abuse prevention programme provided for children, teachers and parents/caregivers in New Zealand primary schools since 1988. A draft early childhood ‘Keeping Ourselves Safe’ module called ‘All About Me’ has been written and is being trialled during the first half of 2006 in early childhood centres in Auckland, Porirua and Dunedin. This paper outlines the research and evaluations to date of ‘Keeping Ourselves Safe’ and reviews the evidence that has informed and led to changes in programme delivery, content, and implementation.

The Matrix Ate My Baby: Play, Technology and the Early Childhood Subject

Andrew Neil Gibbons
New Zealand Tertiary College
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 137 - 144.

Key words: Technology, theories of play, philosophy

Abstract: This research note summarises the doctoral thesis “The Matrix Ate My Baby”. It explores the values and beliefs that underpin assumptions about the benefits and costs of playing, of technology, and of early childhood education. It draws upon the philosophical contributions of (in particular) Heidegger, Foucault, Lyotard and Derrida in problematising non-negotiated and universal theories of play and education. Furthermore, it engages with a positive critique of the philosophy of technology in thinking about diverse and meaningful practices of supporting the play of the child.

Myths, Mysteries and Mates: The Experiences of Culturally Diverse First Year Early Childhood Student Teachers

Janet Moles
Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Porirua
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 9, 2006, pp.  145 -152

Key words: Teacher education, self perception, friendships, cultural diversity

Abstract: An initial finding of a PhD study to explore the experiences of culturally diverse early childhood student teachers was that participants found the first year of study the hardest, with peer friendships being critical to success. Through narrative interviews, recent early childhood teacher education graduates reported that making friends proved to be an important survival strategy, restoring a positive sense of self. Vartuli (2005) highlighted the importance of positive self-perception in student teachers, linking this to ongoing teaching practice. This paper discusses the importance of student friendships in relation to successfully completing the first year of teacher education.


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