Providing Early Childhood Education Teacher Candidates Diverse Clinical Understandings through Professional Development School Experiences

Providing Early Childhood Education Teacher Candidates Diverse Clinical Understandings through Professional Development School Experiences

Lea Ann Christenson (Towson University, USA), Janese Daniels (Towson University, USA), Judith Cruzado-Guerrero (Towson University, USA), Stephen T. Schroth (Towson University, USA), Marisa Dudiak (Towson University, USA) and Ocie Watson-Thompson (Towson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1668-2.ch007
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Abstract

Teacher education programs serving early childhood education teacher candidates have unique challenges and need to work to ensure that each future educator be exposed to a variety of settings and practices throughout their preparation in order to best prepare them to serve the needs of their future young students. A solid background in human development, a well-rounded complement of methods courses grounded in developmentally appropriate practice and experience in a diverse variety of Professional Development Schools (PDS) will go far in meeting this goal. In Pre-K through 3rd grade classrooms early childhood teacher educators can significantly shape these competencies through their choice of, support for, and use of PDSs.
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Background

Teacher education programs are also charged with teacher candidates’ development of ethical practices (Danielson, 2008; Darling-Hammond, 2010). Teacher candidates must learn to balance their commitment to their students with their obligations to the profession (Earley, Imig, & Michelli, 2011). As a result, teacher candidates must sometimes negotiate situations that require them to help students recognize their potential as worthy and effective members of society while also making every effort to meet professional standards and equitably exercise professional judgment (Levine, 2006). How best to provide experiences where teacher candidates can face these situations have often involved a partnership between colleges of education and public schools (Loughran, 2005; Lucas, 2010). Professional Development School (PDS) partnerships permit teacher candidates to learn about these issues first hand, and to participate in the discussions that their mentors and supervisors have regarding best practices. As the world becomes increasingly reliant upon digital technology, teacher education programs work to promote ethical practices amongst teacher candidates when using these beneficial tools and understanding the unique issues with young children.

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