Advocacy in Early Childhood Teacher Preparation

Advocacy in Early Childhood Teacher Preparation

Cynthia F. DiCarlo, Carrie L. Ota
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2906-4.ch005
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Research suggests that teachers' definitions of advocacy are highly influenced by their academic preservice education, even more than their other experiences (Mevawalla & Hadley, 2012), leading to this being a critical focus for undergraduate pre-service teacher preparation (Snyder, 2012). Advocacy can be viewed by preservice teachers as a worthy, albeit intimidating, goal. This chapter describes a structured advocacy project in an undergraduate teacher preparation program. The project was broken down into component parts across the students' final semester and served as the capstone seminar for the teacher preparation program.
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Teacher education programs should be designed to provide preservice teachers (PST) with coursework on child development, content knowledge, pedagogy, and assessment, while fostering positive relationships with children and their families. Courses are carefully planned and ordered to maximize PST growth in becoming a professional. Toward the end of this experience, PSTs should have an application experience, where they are able to put these skills in action. One such application experience is the experience of advocating. The process of advocacy allows students to use their prior knowledge, while also gaining specific information on the practice of advocating for young children. The purpose of this chapter is to describe a systematic approach, embedded within a capstone experience in an undergraduate Early Childhood Education teacher preparation program, to assist PSTs in gaining expertise in advocacy.

Key-words-in-context (KWIC; Luhn, 1966) were gathered from PST reflections across three separate groups of students over the course of three different semesters (spring 2015, 2016, 2017) as the advocacy project was implemented and refined as part of course reflections. PST’s reflective comments are used to exemplify thinking, experiences, and components of the project. Appendices with detailed course assignments are included to provide teacher educators with tools to execute this approach in their own classrooms.

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