Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Mary J. Moran

Committee Members

Hillary Fouts, Carin Netizel, Barbara Thayer-Bacon

Abstract

This study reports on the work of six early childhood teachers and the researcher as they enacted a variation of collaborative action research in a university-based early childhood center. The project included cross-national provocation via a “day in the life” video from an infant-toddler center in Milan, Italy. In addition, the model utilized a post-structural approach known as deconstructive talk (Lenz Taguchi, 2008) to facilitate teachers’ critical reflective inquiry into their own narratives. Teachers viewed the video from Milan, discussed provocations from the video, set foci of inquiry for their own classrooms, video recorded in their own classrooms, and undertook multiple rounds of interpretation and analysis of the video documentation. Deconstructive talk within the rounds of interpretation provided an approach to uncover assumptions and allowed for exploration of the sources of knowledge underlying their pedagogical approaches. Findings reveal the areas of their own practice teachers scrutinized and the processes the group employed to engage in critical, reflective thinking about epistemological foundations of pedagogy. Particular areas of inquiry included teachers’ involvement and intervention, teachers’ roles and relationships, children’s social negotiations, and children’s use of space and materials. In addition, the findings report on how the teachers used this particular collaborative action research process to transform and reconstruct new, locally-situated epistemologies in order to inform daily pedagogical decisions. Implications of the project contribute to discourse in early childhood about possible models that foster transformative teacher discourse and situated knowledge construction.

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