1 CDA Renewal 1: Professionalism-Beliefs, Knowledge, Action Slide #1: This module is designed as one part in a series of eight different modules for completing the necessary educational requirements for a CDA renewal. Slide #2: In this CDA Renewal module we will explore professionalism and what it means to be a professional. Professionalism is not merely a static term, but instead an evolving process of what one believes, knows and does. There are many components to professionalism, but throughout this module we will look at just a few. Someone who displays professionalism promotes quality service, is committed to an ethical code of conduct, makes decisions based on knowledge and best practice, and utilizes a professional development plan. Throughout this CDA renewal module, we will explore and deepen our understanding of these four areas of professionalism. We will utilize several resources and handouts throughout this module. You may want to download and print the handouts out now for quicker and easier access later. You will be prompted to reflect and journal throughout the module. Make sure you have writing materials within reach for these reflections. Some of these activities will require you to apply what you have learned to the classroom. Make sure to stop the module to complete the activity before continuing. Slide #3: First, let s take a look at our learning objectives for this module. The learning objectives for this CDA Renewal module are to: 1. Review the definition of professionalism and examine the learner s own understanding of professionalism through the process of completing a self-assessment survey of professional behaviors. 2. Reflect on real life situations and examine how the establishment of personal and professional boundaries can guide one s beliefs and actions. 3. Re-examine the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and identify how the Code of Ethical Conduct can guide early childhood professionals in making decisions. 4. Investigate educational theorists, examine the learner s opinions about what they know and believe about how children learn, and make connections between educational theories and classroom practice, and 5. Develop a professional development plan by identifying a goal to help further the learner s professionalism, identifying resources to help assist them in meeting their goal, and developing a reasonable timeline. Slide #4: Now, let s take a quick look at the four areas of professionalism that we will explore in this module. First, we will look at the early care and education profession and discuss to what degree it is a service profession and what level of quality is expected. Next, we will revisit NAEYC s Ethical Code of Conduct and analyze how this code of conduct can guide us in making professional decisions. Next, we will delve into the theorists and theories that have helped to shape best practices in the field of education. Then we will wrap up this module by reviewing a career lattice and your professional goals. A career lattice is like a ladder that shows you where you are professionally and how to climb to the next level. We will discuss how to utilize professional development plans to enhance your level of professionalism and perhaps even help you move up the career ladder.
2 Slide #5: Before we begin discussing the components of professionalism introduced already, let s explore the definition of professionalism and some related terms to help make sure we are all working from the same foundation. Our goal for this section is to review the definition of professionalism and examine our own understanding of professionalism through the process of completing a self-assessment of professional behaviors. What is professionalism? Merriam-Webster defines professionalism as the conduct, aims and qualities that characterize or mark a profession or professional person. So in this module, we will look at behaviors, goals and quality of work. Slide #6: There are three additional elements that separate professions from other careers. Professionals value knowledge and act from this knowledge. Professionals also value colleagues and consult with one another. Lastly, professionals advocate for their clients. In education, we see these three elements at work (Raths, 2001). We must have knowledge in order to be a part of the profession. We often work together with colleagues, alongside one another in the classroom, and even beyond the classroom walls with curriculum and program planning. We advocate when we work to ensure that the young children in our care receive what they need. Think of a child in your class who isn t meeting cognitive, physical or social goals yet. First, you used your knowledge of child development to know that this child isn t meeting goals. Now think about how you advocate for him. You might schedule a meeting with the parents to gather more information, discuss this child with your supervisor to get guidance on how to move forward and possibly even make a referral for the child to be considered for additional services. In this scenario you gathered more information, consulted with colleagues (and parents too!), and advocated for this young child. That s professionalism at work. Slide #7: Let s look at a few more terms. Merriam Webster defines knowledge as the information, understanding or skills that you get from experience or education. Colleagues are co-workers or associates in the profession and advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. Some additional terms include skill, training and behavior. Skill is a developed aptitude or ability or a learned power of doing something competently and training is the process by which someone is taught skills. A behavior is the manner of conducting oneself. We will reference these words throughout this module so having a concise and consistent understanding is important. Slide #8: Now that we have a greater understanding of what professionalism is, we will assess our own level of professional practice by using the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators. If you work in another state, you may use this reference, or access your state s competencies for early childhood educators. The Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators manual describes the core competencies that professionals working with young children need to know and implement. There are nine areas which include: child growth and development; responsive interactions and guidance; learning environments, planning framework, curriculum and standards; supporting skill development; observation and assessment; diversity and dual language learners; families and community relationships; health, safety and nutrition; and professionalism and ethics. The professionalism and ethics core competency area has five standards. These five standards are: ethical standards and professional guidelines; reflective practices and professional growth; professional development outlook; collaborative partnerships; and advancing the status of children and families. Within each of these standards there are three levels of practice as
3 described for beginner, intermediate and advanced practitioners. Using the Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators, rate your level of practice within the area of professionalism and ethics. Start with the beginner competencies and place a check mark in each box that describes the behavior that you do on a consistent basis. From there move on to intermediate and advanced competencies and continue checking boxes for behaviors or competencies that you fulfill regularly and consistently. Complete this for all five standards under the professionalism and ethics area. This activity is for your eyes only, so please complete the self-assessment honestly, and after completing this activity review your level of practice. Is your level of practice consistent across all five standards or does it vary? Keep a copy of your self-assessment. We will revisit this self-assessment towards the end of the module. Slide #9: In many ways, early care and education is a service profession and quality is the key ingredient. Early childhood professionals must interact and engage with others, such as children, parents, coworkers, and supervisors, constantly throughout the day. Our learning objective for this section is to reflect on real life situations and examine how the establishment of personal and professional boundaries can guide one s beliefs and actions. So, in this section of the module, we will explore how we would respond in various situations and how the establishment of or lack of boundaries guides our beliefs and actions. Throughout this module, we will stop and reflect on many scenarios and new learning. These reflections are for your eyes only; so please take the time to reflect and respond honestly. Make sure to have a journal or notebook that you can write your reflection in and revisit throughout this learning experience. Slide #10: First, let s look at a few scenarios and think about how we have responded or might have responded in the past. Use Handout 1, Professional Scenarios 1, to guide you. Please write your reflections in your journal. Here s the first scenario. It s morning in a preschool classroom, and the children have begun transitioning to the carpet area for group time. A parent walks through the door with a child who hasn t eaten breakfast. Both parent and child seem frazzled. While a few children are still cleaning up from breakfast, most have transitioned to the carpet for story time. The child is a relatively independent child who will sit and eat quietly and then clean up on her own; however, you feel overwhelmed trying to juggle late arrivals. How would you respond? Slide #11: Reflect and write about how you have responded or might have responded to the situation at the moment and after pausing and thinking about the child and parent? If you have an assistant, how might you utilize your assistant in this situation? How might you respond if it was a child who was active, energetic and often needed redirection? These reflections are for your eyes only; so please respond honestly. Also, we will revisit these scenarios and reflections throughout this module to help us understand how knowledge and experiences can impact our actions. Slide #12: Here s another scenario. Your supervisor has just planned another staff meeting and told everyone about the new and cool assessment that everyone must be trained on next week and then begin implementing immediately. Needless to say, you are not thrilled, but what do you do?
4 Slide #13: Reflect and write about how you might respond in this situation at the moment, the next day and even the next week. What do you say to your co-workers while in the meeting? What do you say to your teaching partner the next day at work? What attitude do you take with you to the training the following week? Slide #14: Here s another scenario. Assessments are due next week, and you still have half the class to complete. You ve already collected work samples and anecdotal notes, but still have to organize the information and write a summary of each child s progress. How do you approach this situation? Slide #15: What do you do in this situation? Do you make a plan to spend your planning time working effectively to complete the assessments? Do you decide that you can work on them during center time, since the children tend to do well playing by themselves? Reflect and write about what you have done or might do in this type of situation. Slide #16: Here is one more scenario. A good friend also works at the same early childhood program. While the two of you do not work in the same classroom, you do get to catch up and talk while on the playground. She s had a lot going on in her life and has needed someone to talk to. You take your class outside and are blowing bubbles to entertain some of the children, while keeping an eye on the ones climbing and sliding. You see your friend come outside with her class. She comes over and starts talking to you about personal experiences. What do you do? Slide #17: So, what would you do? What do you discuss? Where is your focus? Take a moment to reflect and write about this scenario. Slide #18: Now that we ve had the opportunity to think about how we have responded or might have responded in the past, let s take a look at personal and professional boundaries and how the establishment or lack of boundaries in our lives helps us make decisions. Slide #19: Our learning objective for this section is to reflect on real life situations and examine how the establishment of personal and professional boundaries can guide one s beliefs and actions. Slide #20: Let s start by taking a look at a couple of definitions of boundaries. One definition of boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not (Cloud, H. & Townsend, J., 1992). Other definitions of boundaries say that boundaries help to define personal space, set limits, and determine acceptable behaviors. If boundaries define who we are and determine behaviors, then boundaries drive our decisions about how to act or respond in various situations. Slide #21: How many times have you said, yes to something when you really wanted to say no or realized after you said yes that you felt overwhelmed with too many responsibilities. This is an example of not having established boundaries to help guide your decisions. Often, when we take on more responsibility than we are able or if we do not stop someone s inappropriate actions we feel resentful and this can show in our behaviors. There are several
5 examples of boundaries. The most basic boundary is the skin. Your skin is a boundary that differentiates you from others. It physically defines who you are. Infants eventually learn that they are separate from their parents as part of their development. Because you are an individual separate from others, your thoughts, beliefs and actions belong to you. Words can also serve as a boundary. For example, saying no to another added responsibility, is an example of using a boundary word that may help you protect yourself, your values and your relationships with others. Physical distance can be a boundary. Removing yourself from a situation can help you replenish your needs and sends a message that your boundaries are important and when violated will lead to consequences. Sometimes physical distance may not be an option, but taking time or emotional distance away from someone can create the needed boundary. Other people, who support you and your beliefs, can help to create boundaries. As people, we need and value relationships and these positive relationships can provide us with knowledge and guidance which can help strengthen one s personal boundaries. Slide #22: We have to realize that there are things for which we are responsible and our boundaries help to protect these things. We are responsible for our feelings, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, choices, values, limits, talents, thoughts, desires and love. It is having boundaries that helps us protect these many components of ourselves. Have you ever blamed someone else for distracting you from a task that you then did not complete on time? However, it was your choice to stop the task at hand. It was your choice to go out with your friends, to go to the movie or even to watch TV instead of preparing for the day tomorrow. We must take ownership for these things that only we are responsible for and set boundaries so that we can make choices that benefit ourselves. Slide #23: Consider this scenario. It s planning time and you know you want to finish prepping for tomorrow s activities, but your good friend comes into your room and wants to hang out and talk. Instead of saying, Hey, I can t talk now I need to finish my work, but I ll give you a call tonight, you let her hang out and distract you from your work. The next day you are scrambling to finish getting materials together when your supervisor walks in for a surprise observation. You begin feeling frustrated and blame your friend for not being prepared. Sound familiar? I think this is a place that many of us have been before. It s easy to get distracted from our professional responsibilities unless we have clear boundaries and are able to communicate these boundaries to others. Slide #24: Let s take a moment to reflect. Using your journal reflect and write your thoughts to the following questions: What boundaries have you established in your life? How do these boundaries guide your decisions? What boundaries might you establish that would help to guide you in situations that you find difficult? Slide #25: Remember the scenarios we discussed previously? How would the establishment or lack of boundaries guide decisions and actions in these situations? Here was the first scenario. It s morning in a preschool classroom and the children have begun transitioning to the carpet area for group time. A parent walks through the door with a child who hasn t eaten breakfast. Both parent and child seem frazzled. While a few children are still cleaning up from breakfast, most have transitioned to the carpet for story time. The child is a relatively independent child who will sit and eat quietly and then clean up on her own; however, you feel
6 overwhelmed trying to juggle late arrivals. How would you respond? How could establishing certain boundaries change your response? Slide #26: There are a variety of appropriate responses to this scenario. Factors that may affect a person s response could include their personal values as well as their program s philosophy, policies or procedures. Here are a few examples of how boundaries might help guide your actions in this situation: Words - You might have a pre-established statement that you give to parents who arrive late for breakfast, Physical Distance - You might ask your assistant to help late arrivals so that you can focus on the group, Taking Time - You might take time to reflect on the situation before following up with the parents to discuss the situation, or Other Supportive People - You might reach out to your supervisor to ask for additional support and ideas. Slide #27: Let s revisit the second scenario. Your supervisor has just planned another staff meeting and told everyone about the new and cool assessment that everyone must be trained on next week and then begin implementing immediately. You are not thrilled, but what do you do? What do you say to your co-workers while in the meeting? What do you say to your teaching partner the next day at work? What attitude do you take with you to the training the following week? How could established boundaries help you make decisions about how to respond and what to say? Slide #28: There are a variety of appropriate responses to this scenario. Factors that may affect a person s response could include their personal values as well as their program s philosophy, policies or procedures. Here are a few examples of how boundaries might help guide your actions in this situation: Physical Distance - You might remove yourself from conversations that are not positive, Emotional Distance and Taking Time - You might take time to reflect on the situation before sharing your thoughts, or Other Supportive People - You might reach out to your supervisor or other teachers to find ways to approach the situation positively. Slide #29: Here s another scenario we discussed earlier. Assessments are due next week and you still have half the class to complete. You ve already collected work samples and anecdotal notes, but still have to organize the information and write a summary of each child s progress. How do you approach this situation? Do you make a plan to spend your planning time working effectively to complete the assessments? Do you decide that you can work on them during center time, since the children tend to do well playing by themselves? How could boundaries have helped guided you during this long term task? Slide #30: There are a variety of appropriate responses to this scenario. Factors that may affect a person s response could include their personal values as well as their program s philosophy, policies or procedures. Here are a few examples of how boundaries might help guide your actions in this situation:
7 Words - You might have chosen to use words to communicate your need to complete this task during planning time, or Other Supportive People You might plan to work alongside other teachers who also need support completing assessments. Slide #31: Here is the last scenario from our earlier discussion. A good friend also works at the same early childhood program. While the two of you do not work in the same classroom, you do get to catch up and talk while on the playground. She s had a lot going on in her life and has needed someone to talk to. You take your class outside and are blowing bubbles to entertain some of the children, while keeping an eye on the ones climbing and sliding. You see your friend come outside with her class. She comes over and starts talking to you about personal experiences. What do you do? What do you discuss? Where is your focus? How can you use boundaries to help you with this situation? How might establishing explicit boundaries change your behavior with this co-worker? Slide #32: There are a variety of appropriate responses to this scenario. Factors that may affect a person s response could include their personal values as well as their program s philosophy, policies or procedures. Here are a few examples of how boundaries might help guide your actions in this situation: Words - You might have chosen to use your words to communicate with your friend that you are happy to talk with her outside of work time, Physical Distance - You might make a decision to adjust your outside play to give you some physical distance while you consider the best approach, or Other Supportive People You might talk with other friends of your co-worker about how each of you can work together to help her through this situation. Slide #33: Hopefully these examples illustrated how establishing boundaries can help to guide the decision you make in your personal and professional life. You may have noticed while reflecting on these scenarios that, in many ways, boundaries and ethics are very similar. They both help to define who we are, guide us in making decisions, and drive our behaviors. While boundaries are a personal property line, NAEYC defines ethics as the study of right and wrong, or duty and obligation, which involves critical reflection on morality and the ability to make choices between values and the examination of the moral dimensions of relationships. Ethics is essentially the rules of conduct for a specific group. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has established a Code of Ethical Conduct to guide the decisions and behaviors of early childhood professionals. This code of ethical conduct is a foundation for all early childhood educators; however, our understanding of professionalism, as well as our own personal beliefs, guide how we interpret and put this code of conduct into action. As early childhood professionals, many of you should already be aware of this code of ethics, so in this section, we are going to focus on application of the code of ethics. We will review the code of ethics and make connections to professional dilemmas we have encountered. Our learning objective for this section is to re-examine the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and identify how the Code of Ethical Conduct can guide early childhood professionals in making decisions. You will need access to a copy of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. You can access a copy online or through a book format.
8 Slide #34: First, let s review some terms related to the code of ethics. We ve already said ethics is the study of right and wrong, or duty and obligation, which involves critical reflection on morality and the ability to make choices between values and the examination of the moral dimensions of relationships. So a code of ethics, as defined in NAEYC s Code of Ethical Conduct, defines the core values of the field and provides guidance for what professionals should do when they encounter conflicting obligations or responsibilities in their work. Essentially, the code makes the rules of conduct public and guides professionals in working through difficult situations. We often associate values with ethics. While there is not a clear cut line between the two we can look at values as what an individual believes to be worthy, while a code of ethics incorporates the values of a group of people or profession. NAEYC defines values as qualities or principles that individuals believe to be desirable or worthwhile and that they prize for themselves, for others, and for the world in which they live. NAEYC further defines professional ethics as the moral commitments of a profession that involve moral reflection that extends and enhances the personal morality practitioners bring to their work, that concern actions of right and wrong in the workplace and that help individuals resolve moral dilemmas they encounter in their work. Slide #35: Read along with the definitions on the screen as we discuss a few more terms associated with ethics. Core values speak to the commitments held by a profession, which is similar to ethics, but these values are held because they make a contribution to society, rather than being rules or regulations to follow. Again, we are talking about terms that are closely related and often intertwine with one another. Moral beliefs are what people believe to be good and bad or right and wrong and guide how one should behave. Ethical responsibility describes clear cut behaviors that should or should not occur. For example, NAEYC states that confidential information should never be shared with an individual who has no need for knowing the information. While this statement is clear cut, the application of it can easily slide into a gray area. What is considered confidential information? When trying to help a child, who can certain information be shared with and who should not be aware of this information. These are important questions to speak with your supervisor about. Often it is not just one individual who cares for and educates a child, but a team of professionals. Who is on your team? This is when we slide into the area of ethical dilemmas. Ethical dilemmas are situations that present themselves where the path to resolution is not marked clearly. Slide #36: You may have read the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct previously, but as professionals we need to read, re-read and review the expectations of our behaviors in this field of early care and education. Using a copy of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, please read through the code of conduct. As you read, analyze the information and think about how it has meaning for you personally and professionally. Slide #37: Now let s reflect and connect. Think back to the scenarios we discussed previously. First, we thought about how we might respond or how we have responded in the past to these types of situations. Then we reviewed the scenarios and considered how the establishment or lack of boundaries guided our decisions and actions. Now, let s review the scenarios one more time using the code of ethics as our lens. Let s read through the scenarios and make decisions about which ideals and principles could help guide us. Remember the first scenario: It s morning in a preschool classroom and the children have begun transitioning to the carpet area for group time. A parent walks through the door with a child who hasn t eaten breakfast. Both
9 parent and child seem frazzled. While a few children are still cleaning up from breakfast, most have transitioned to the carpet for story time. The child is a relatively independent child who will sit and eat quietly and then clean up on her own. Using the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, select the ideals and/or principles that could guide professional behavior in this type of situation. Slide #38: What ideals and/or principles did you reference? The following ideals and/or principles are some that could be applied in this type of situation: I-1.5 To create and maintain safe and healthy settings that foster children s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development and that respect their dignity and their contributions, I-2.2 To develop relationships, mutual trust and create partnerships with the families we serve, I-2.4 To listen to families, acknowledge and build upon their strengths and competencies, and learn from families as we support them in their task of nurturing children, and P-2.2 We shall inform families of program philosophy, policies, curriculum, assessment system, cultural practices, and personnel qualifications, and explain why we teach as we do which should be in accordance with our ethical responsibilities to children (see Section I) Slide #39: Remember the second scenario where your supervisor has just planned another staff meeting and told everyone about the new and cool assessment that everyone must be trained on next week and then begin implementing immediately. You are not thrilled, but what do you do? Which ideals and/or principles could guide behavior in this type of situation? Slide #40: What ideals and/or principles did you reference? While there could be many, the following ideals and/or principles are some that could be applied in this type of situation: I-3A.1 To establish and maintain relationships of respect, trust, confidentiality, collaboration, and cooperation with co-workers, I-3A.3 To support co-workers in meeting their professional needs and in their professional development, I-3B.1 To assist the program in providing the highest quality of service, and P-3B.5 When we have a concern about circumstances or conditions that impact the quality of care and education within the program, we shall inform the program s administration or, when necessary, other appropriate authorities. Slide #41: Our third scenario discussed assessments and deadlines. Assessments are due next week and you still have half the class to complete. How do you approach this situation? Which ideals and/or principles could guide behavior in this type of situation? Slide #42: What ideals and/or principles did you reference? The following ideals and/or principles are some that could be applied in this type of situation. I-1.5 To create and maintain safe and healthy settings that foster children s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development and that respect their dignity and their contributions, P-1.2 We shall care for and educate children in positive emotional and social environments that are cognitively stimulating and that support each child s culture, language, ethnicity, and family structure, and
10 P-3B.3 We shall not violate laws or regulations designed to protect children and shall take appropriate action consistent with this Code when aware of such violations Slide #43: Our last scenario combined personal and professional conflicts. A good friend also works at the same early childhood program. While the two of you do not work in the same classroom, you do get to catch up and talk while on the playground. She s had a lot going on in her life and has needed someone to talk to. You take your class outside and are blowing bubbles to entertain some of the children, while keeping an eye on the ones climbing and sliding. You see your friend come outside with her class. She comes over and starts talking to you about personal experiences. What do you do? Which ideals and/or principles could guide behavior in this type of situation? Slide #44: What ideals and/or principles did you reference? The following ideals and/or principles are some that could be applied in this type of situation. I-3A.1 To establish and maintain relationships of respect, trust, confidentiality, collaboration, and cooperation with co-workers, P-3A.2 When we have concerns about the professional behavior of a co-worker, we shall first let that person know of our concern in a way that shows respect for personal dignity and for the diversity to be found among staff members, and then attempt to resolve the matter collegially and in a confidential manner, I-3B.1 To assist the program in providing the highest quality of service, and P-3B.4 If we have concerns about a colleague s behavior, and children s well-being is not at risk, we may address the concern with that individual. If children are at risk or the situation does not improve after it has been brought to the colleague s attention, we shall report the colleague s unethical or incompetent behavior to an appropriate authority. Slide #45: Cycling back allows us to see these types of situations through various lenses and all of these lenses are needed to guide our decisions and actions. You have personal values and beliefs that are a part of who you are. These are often deeply rooted and essential to your identity. You also have professional guidelines and expectations. These may intertwine beautifully with your personal values sometimes and at other times they may create conflict. Knowing your boundaries helps to bridge personal and professional values and guide you to make positive choices for yourself, your colleagues, and the children and families you work with. Slide #46: After reading the Code of Ethical conduct, select one ideal or principle that has significant meaning for you. Think about the scenarios from the previous section and share your own professional dilemma that connects to this ideal and/or principle. Describe what happened to create the dilemma and make a connection to the ideal or principle that you chose and reference how it can help someone make a professional decision in this type of situation. Download and use the handout, Professional Dilemma, to share why you selected this ideal or principle, why it is relevant to you personally and to your profession and what dilemma you applied it to. Slide #47: Remember professionalism is what we know, what we believe and what we do. Professionalism is both personal as we ve seen with boundaries and ethics, but it also is based in research and best practice. What do you know and what do you believe about how children
11 learn? Theories of early childhood development help to guide and shape our thinking, beliefs and actions when it comes to caring for, nurturing and educating young children. In this section, we will discover where ideas and theories come from by analyzing the thinking and work of several theorists. Our learning objective for this section is to investigate educational theorists, examine your opinions about what you know and believe about how children learn, and make connections between educational theories and classroom practice. Slide #48: While what we know and believe about how children learn is rooted in hundreds of years of research and practice, we can often sum up what we believe in a short statement. If a parent or colleague asks you what you believe about how children learn, do you have a short, concise statement to share what you believe? Let s try an activity. If you were to write an article about what you believe about how children learn and grow, what would be your headline? Slide #49: We all have beliefs about how children learn and grow, so now let s discover the roots for many of our ideas and practices. We will learn about a few theorists by reading about their backgrounds, analyzing the guiding principles of their theories and beliefs, and making connections to classroom practice. Many of these theories build off of the foundations of previous theorists. It takes time and continued education to fully understand and apply theories of education. The theorists we will explore include: Montessori, Piaget, Erikson, Gardner, and Vygotsky. Slide #50: Use handout 5, Theorists and Theories, to capture some key points about Maria Montessori, her approach to education and your personal ideas about this approach. Slide #51: The first educational theorist we will look at is Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori was born in Italy and her life spanned from She was an avid reader as a child and interested in education. She graduated from medical school in 1896 and her early medical focus was on psychiatry. Eventually, her work in psychiatry and education blended together and in 1900, she became the co-director of a training institute for special education teachers. In 1907, she opened her first childcare center and this is where we will focus our attention on her theories and methods. The Montessori Method of education is a child centered approach that believes that children are eager for knowledge and can initiate learning. She believed that children learn best in an environment that encourages independence and has a sense of order. The teacher, child and the environment create the learning triangle. In the early childhood classroom, the Montessori Method encourages sensory-motor learning, meaning that children are involved in direct experiences that include seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching and moving. Here are some key points about the Montessori Method. Montessori classrooms are child-centered; foster independence; provide multiage groupings that foster peer learning; offer uninterrupted blocks of work time in a carefully prepared environment; and offer sensory-motor experiences and guided choices of activities many of which are specifically designed Montessori materials. Slide #52: Let s watch a video about Montessori Education. [VIDEO]
12 Slide #53: Use the Theorists and Theories handout to capture some key points about Jean Piaget, his theory of cognitive development and your personal ideas about this theory. Slide #54: Jean Piaget was born in Switzerland in His work helps educators understand learning with by breaking children s cognitive development into stages. His theory conveys an understanding of how individuals acquire knowledge and learn. He believes that individuals go through four stages of cognitive development. Through the infancy years, children learn through their movements and sensations. During this sensorimotor stage, children learn that they are separate from the people and things around them, and they learn that their actions can cause things to happen. For example, if I cry someone picks me up. In the sensorimotor stage, children also learn about object permanence the understanding that objects and people continue to exist even when they cannot be seen or heard. Next is the preoperational stage in which children begin to think symbolically and represent ideas with pretend play, pictures and words. Children in this stage, generally ages two through seven years, tend to be egocentric. Their thoughts and communication are primarily about themselves, and they have difficulty seeing another person s perspective The next stage is the concrete operation stage in which children from about ages seven through eleven years begin to think logically about concrete events. They begin to understand the concepts of conservation. In a well-known experiment involving conservation, equal amounts of liquid are poured into two identical containers. As the child observes, the researcher pours the liquid in one container into a different shaped cup, such as a tall and thin cup or a short and wide cup. Children are then asked which cup holds the most liquid. Despite seeing that the liquid amounts were equal, children almost always choose the cup that appears fuller. Children may begin to use inductive reasoning in this stage. Inductive reasoning is the ability to use several specific instances to make a generalization. For example, a child knows that his dog barks. He observes that the dogs belonging to his friends also bark, so he might reason that all dogs bark. The last stage is the formal operational stage which typically starts around age 11 years and continues through adulthood. In this stage, the learner can think abstractly about concepts. Slide #55: Watch this brief video describing Jean Piaget s four stages of cognitive development. [VIDEO] Slide #56: The concept of equilibrium is an important component of Piaget s theory of cognitive development. He believed that individuals seek equilibrium by assimilating or accommodating new information. Assimilation is the process of taking in new information and adding it to our existing schema. Schemas are like categories of knowledge organized in our mind that help us to understand. Accommodation is the process of receiving new information that does not fit our previously developed schema and making adaptations and changes to our schema. An example of assimilation might include a young child who has a brown, furry dog at home and sees a black, furry dog at the park and says, dog. Accommodation would be a child who has a brown, furry dog at home and goes to the zoo and sees a brown, furry bear and says, Dog but
13 then learns that it is a bear and not a dog and thus creates a new schema for the concept of a bear. Piaget s theories of cognitive development play an important role for educators by helping them understand how children learn and thus creating appropriate experiences that will help to foster their growth and development. Slide #57: What activities do you provide infants that encourage their learning through their sensory and motor skills? Infants should be encouraged to explore their surroundings by lying on their backs while being able to see and grasp toys. Tummy time also provides time for infants to explore sensory rich toys. A few additional toys placed slightly out of reach encourage infants to move towards the toys. Infants should be provided plenty of floor time to roll, scoot, crawl and eventually walk. How do you encourage toddlers and preschoolers to represent ideas with pretend play, pictures and words? Learning to talk and expand ideas is a key skill developed during the toddler and preschool years. Children should be given lots of opportunities engage in pretend play and to name objects and share ideas. Time to explore drawing and writing tools encourages self-expression. Slide #58: Use the Theorists and Theories handout to capture some key points about Erik Erikson, his beliefs about social-emotional development and your personal ideas about these eight stages of development. Slide #59: Now, let s take a look at Erik Erikson and his eight stages of social emotional development. Erickson developed a theory of social emotional development which states that he believed an individual moves through eight stages of development in this domain. Each stage of development is considered a psychosocial crisis that needs to be negotiated. Let s take a look at the eight stages of development. Stage one is trust versus mistrust. Infants learn to trust that caregivers will meet their basic needs. Mistrust develops if a child s basic needs are not met. Stage two is autonomy verse shame and doubt. Toddlers learn to develop their independence during this stage. If their abilities are not encouraged, they may develop shame and doubt. Stage three is initiative versus guilt. Preschoolers continue to develop their independence and begin to start activities of their own initiative. If a child is not able to take initiative and feel success then they may start to feel guilt for their needs and desires. Stage four is industry versus inferiority. In this stage, school age children develop confidence and competence in their abilities. If they are not encouraged to grow in this area, they may develop a feeling of inferiority. Stage five is identity verse confusion. In this stage adolescents begin to experiment with who they are and develop their identity. If they are not able to resolve this crisis, then confusion can develop and continue into adulthood. Stage six is intimacy versus isolation. During early adulthood, many adults fall in love and start families. While marriage is not the only option for intimacy, adults who do not find intimacy through marriage or close friends, may experience isolation. Stage seven is generativity versus stagnation. Stage seven is the longest stage of development that occurs during most of adulthood. In this stage most adults are working, raising families and contributing to society in some way. If adults do not do not experience productivity during this time, they may feel stagnation. The last stage is integrity versus despair and is represented in elder adults. During this stage adults reflect back on their lives, and experience feelings of integrity if they have been successful throughout the other stages. However, if any of the previous stages are unresolved, despair may develop. Slide #60: Watch this video about Erik Erikson and his eight stages of man.
14 [VIDEO] Slide #61: Remember, teaching children is not just about giving them facts and knowledge. As teachers, we must understand development and theories of education to better succeed in caring for young children. Knowing these stages of development can help a teacher of toddlers understand a young child s need to say no or that getting their own snack is part of the process of resolving and developing autonomy. Our responses to these situations either help to build autonomy or perhaps send a message of shame and doubt. Slide #62: Use the Theorists and Theories handout to capture some key points about Gardner, his approach to intelligence and your personal ideas about this approach. Slide #63: Howard Gardner brought a new perspective to the field of education with his theory of multiple intelligences. According to this theory, when individuals possess or show talent in diverse domains, these domains should be included when determining intelligence. Through research and observations, Gardner identified eight intelligences. These intelligences include linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, musical, naturalist, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Let s discuss each intelligence. The linguistic intelligence is the ability to analyze information and create products involving oral and written language. The logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to reason and calculate. Individuals with this intelligence can think abstractly and conceptually and are able to see patterns and relationships. The visual-spatial intelligence is the ability to recognize, manipulate and create spatial images. Individuals with this intelligence are often very aware of their environment and learn well through drawings and imagery. The musical intelligence is the ability to produce, remember and make meaning from different patterns of sound. The naturalist intelligence is the ability to identify and distinguish among things in the natural world. The bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to use one s body effectively, such as a dancer. The intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand one s own feelings, motivations and goals, while the interpersonal intelligence is the ability to recognize the feelings, motivations and goals of others. This theory shows that individuals possess different types of intelligences and, therefore, learn and demonstrate understanding in different ways. This theory reminds us, that, as educators, we need to think about, plan for, and assess learning in multiple ways. Slide #64: Watch this video of Howard Gardner explaining his theory of multiple intelligences. [VIDEO] Slide #65: Think about teaching a new skill or concept such as letter identification. How can you use Gardner s Theory of Multiple Intelligences to plan, implement and assess this skill? Here are some ideas: sing alphabet songs, trace textured letters, put together letter puzzles, walk or dance along the outlines of letters, offer opportunities to practice individually, as well as in small and large groups. What other ideas do you have? Slide #66: Use the Theorists and Theories handout to capture some key points about Vygotsky, his approach to education and your personal ideas about this approach.
15 Slide #67: Lev Vygotsky has had a tremendous amount of influence in the field of early education with his educational theories. He believed that social interaction was essential to learning and that development needs to be understood within the context of the social environment. He believed that children s imaginary play was a vehicle for learning. He believed that learning occurs within the zone of proximal development. The zone of proximal development is the difference between what a child can accomplish independently and with support or scaffolding. This scaffolding, which could be direct or indirect, is referred to as the support needed while working at the upper end of the zone of proximal development. Slide #68: Watch this video that highlights some of the principles of Vygotsky s theory on learning. [VIDEO] Slide #69: How do you scaffold children s learning and development in the classroom? Do you hold an infant s hands who want to walk, but can t quite do it on her own yet? Do you help toddlers express their words and feelings? Do you provide support and strategies to a child completing a puzzle with a few too many pieces? If you said, yes, then you are scaffolding children s learning. Slide #70: Let s take a moment to review and apply what we have learned. In this activity, you will match a theorist to an activity or classroom experience. Using the knowledge about each theorist, decide which activity most closely relates to their main theories. Use Handout 6, Theories and Theorists Matching Activity, to record your answers. Slide #71: What did you decide? Review the list of theorists and activities. Did you make similar connections? Slide #72: We ve learned a tremendous amount of information about several theorists. To which theorist do you most relate? How do his or her theories and beliefs come alive in your classroom? Use your journal and reflect on this new knowledge. Slide #73: Remember, defining professionalism, understanding and knowing our beliefs and boundaries, knowing our profession's code of ethical conduct and gaining knowledge about educational theories and best practices helps us develop professionally. Now let s take all of this information and put it together to develop or perhaps re-evaluate a professional development plan with purpose. Slide #74: Why is it important to have a professional development plan or PDP? At a minimum level, all CDA associates should have a PDP to ensure that they meet the minimum level of education and professional development needed to remain a professional in the field of early childhood education. But, ultimately, a PDP should be a roadmap from where you are to where you want to go in your professional life. Are you an assistant who wants to become a lead teacher? Are you a lead teacher who aspires to become an assistant director some day? These goals and aspirations should be the foundation for your PDP. What do you want to learn? What do you need to learn? How will this new learning help you to ascend to the next level? Our learning objective for this section is to develop a professional development plan by
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