Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession


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Despite this, many missed opportunities persist, with kindergarten students not being engaged in any instructional mathematics activity in 39 percent of observed intervals NRC, Most children entered kindergarten knowing basic verbal counting and simple geometric shapes, but their educators report spending the most mathematics time on just these topics.

Further, attention to these low-level competencies is negatively associated with learning, whereas most children benefit from engaging with more advanced content Engel et al. Primary grade educators spend yet more time on mathematics than kinder-. This deficiency is exacerbated by a gender gap favoring men in this knowledge category but a preponderance of female educators in the preschool and elementary school years.

This may be one reason preschool teachers spend less time engaging children in mathematics than in any other subject Early et al. Because content knowledge is a prerequisite for implementing pedagogical knowledge Baumert et al. Educators also need to be familiar with and know how to implement effective, research-based curricula. Such curricula often include a comprehensive set of cognitive concepts and processes; are based on developmentally sequenced instructional activities; and help educators assess and remediate based on those developmental progressions Clements et al.

Many studies of research-based curricula have been directed toward helping children living in poverty and those with special needs. They show statistically and practically significant increases in mathematics achievement Campbell and Silver, ; Fuson et al. Children generally follow certain developmental paths in learning mathematics, as described in Chapter 4. As they learn about a mathematical topic, they progress through increasingly sophisticated levels of thinking. These form the core of a learning trajectory: to develop a certain mathematical competence the goal , children construct each level of thinking in turn the developmental progression , aided by tasks and teaching that are designed to enable thinking at each higher level instructional activities Clements and Sarama, ; Sarama and Clements, Effective educators understand both the mathematics and the progression of levels of thinking along these paths, and are able to sequence and individual-.

Learning trajectories have therefore been the basis for several recent efforts to improve mathematics teaching and learning Bobis et al. The authors used progressions for each major topic to determine the sequence of learning goals, which were then assigned to grade levels, creating the specific standards. To use learning trajectories, educators need to understand and be able to apply all three components described above.

They have to understand the content for which competence is the goal. For example, they must understand how counting involves much more than simple verbal recitation of number words. They also need to understand the levels of thinking in the developmental progression and how to use a variety of assessment strategies to determine where their class—and individual children—are functioning along that developmental progression.

To illustrate, Table describes just a few sample levels from a more elaborate learning trajectory for counting Clements and Sarama, ; Sarama and Clements, The first column names and briefly describes each level of thinking in the counting learning trajectory and provides examples of related behavior. The middle column sketches hypothesized cognitive components for each level of the developmental progression. The column on the right shows instructional tasks matched to each of the levels of thinking in the developmental progression and designed to help children learn the skills and ideas needed to achieve that level.

May put objects, actions, and words in many-to-one or overly rigid one-to-one correspondence.

Recognizes that counting is relevant to situations in which a certain number must be placed. As noted earlier, the importance of following through on early interventions with continued and cumulative learning support into elementary school and beyond applies across developmental domains and subject areas. As described previously, kindergarten educators spend the majority of classroom time on basic counting and recognition of simple geometric shapes even though most children enter kindergarten with mastery of this content.

Such focus is negatively associated with mathematics achievement across kindergarten. Only children with the lowest levels of math skills benefit from exposure to this basic content; all others benefit from exposure to more advanced content, such as adding small numbers and the beginnings of place value. A similar pattern is seen with advanced literacy content. Claessens and colleagues found that all children, regardless of preschool experience or family socioeconomic status, benefited from additional exposure to advanced mathematics and reading content in kindergarten.

An instantiation of the TRIAD Technology-enhanced, Research-based Instruction, Assessment, and professional Development scale-up model was designed to teach early mathematics for understanding, emphasizing learning trajectories and technological tools. Schools were randomly assigned to two interventions or control. The effects of the prekindergarten intervention persisted with such follow-through, while without it they were significantly less likely to persist. Educators help children develop positive beliefs and attitudes about mathematics by providing tasks that make sense to students and relate to their everyday interests and lives.

As discussed in Chapter 4 , the right degree of challenge and novelty can foster interest and a mastery orientation. Young children are fascinated with and construct many ideas about how the world works. They investigate and refine these ideas by exploring and questioning the world around them.

Research shows that preschool children know a great deal about the natural world, including concepts related to physics, biology, psychology, and chemistry NRC, As with language and literacy and mathematics, they also possess thinking skills and habits of mind that support later, more sophisticated, scientific reasoning. For example, young children might question why leaves fall from trees or where animal babies come from.

Older preschoolers interpret simple data patterns and show some understanding of how different patterns support different conclusions e. A recent review found that children arrived in kindergarten with lower science readiness scores than in any other subject area or developmental domain Greenfield et al. Similarly, international studies have found that knowledge of science, like knowledge of math, is low—at best average internationally—among American students, especially those from low-resource communities Gonzales et al.

The current frequency and duration of kindergarten teaching of science in the United States was. However, early instructional experiences appear to be predictive of science achievement in other countries Tao et al. Thus, educators need to address both the overall low level and the quality of instruction and curricula in science in the United States, with special attention to more vulnerable populations. Like mathematics, young children today are not exposed to adequate educational experiences in science, and it also tends not to be emphasized in the professional learning of educators of young children, even though there are learning standards and some increased attention to science curricula Brenneman et al.

Evidence suggests that these educators tend not to support science learning through time spent in either planned or spontaneous science-related activities Brenneman et al. Second, educational experiences in science are not of high quality. If science instruction does occur, it tends to consist of simple, isolated activities, giving young children little or no occasion to develop important experiential and skill bases for future science learning. Further, even when teaching science, educators may use general school vocabulary rather than domain-specific vocabulary, especially when they are not secure in their knowledge of the scientific phenomena Henrichs et al.

Primary grade educators also devote limited attention to science because of a lack of time, materials, and space, as well as their perceived lack of content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and self-confidence and comfort in the subject Appleton and Kindt, , ; Greenfield et al. In general, science needs to be reconceptualized as more than teaching facts NRC, Giving children opportunities to engage in scientific exploration supports science learning, but it also fosters learning and school readiness in other subject areas and developmental domains, including language and literacy, mathematics, and learning competencies Gelman et al.

Further, the knowledge that children build about the natural world is a critical contributor to. Moreover, such experiences close a gender gap in motivation and interest Patrick et al. As with mathematics, research has identified learning trajectories for key content areas in science, such as physics and biology, and has provided evidence for the effectiveness of following these pathways Gelman and Brenneman, Admittedly, work on identifying learning progressions and core concepts in science is less advanced than in mathematics Gelman et al. There is a need to identify a few core ideas and plan standards, curricula, and pedagogy around those ideas NRC, Studying successful implementation of research-based curricula including analyses of video could be useful to inform instruction strategies.

As one example, Preschool Pathways to Science PrePS is a science-based curricular planning framework used to plan learning experiences that encourage children to think about and work with a science concept e. Developed by preschool educators and developmental psychologists, the approach is based on learning research showing that children actively construct knowledge and that this process is facilitated when the information to be learned is connected to what was learned before NRC, Moreover, this approach is consistent with recommendations that science curricula and standards identify and support a few core ideas rather than many disconnected topics NRC, , and that researchers and educators focus on learning trajectories for core concepts instead of trying to teach a little bit of everything.

The PrePS approach also incorporates science practices that children use repeatedly across content areas, including observing, predicting, and checking predictions; comparing, contrasting, and experimenting; using the vocabulary and discourse patterns of science; counting, measuring, and using other mathematical skills and reasoning; and recording and documenting science ideas and results Gelman et al.

In practice, PrePS has good to excellent scores on widely used classroom quality measures, and PrePS researchers recently empirically tested. Successful outcomes were found for units on growth and life cycles of living things Downs et al. Content and methods courses in higher education, as well as other professional learning activities, need to enhance the competencies of educators of children from birth through age 8 in all aspects of science learning trajectories: science goals and content, developmental progressions for a variety of science topics, and instructional tasks and strategies.

As discussed in Chapter 4 , research on socioemotional development illuminates its importance for successful learning. Many young children in early education settings and early elementary classrooms arrive with prior experiences of adversity and chronic stress that can affect their behavior and learning, in part owing to biological effects on brain and behavior see Chapters 3 and 4. Children experiencing chronic stress and adversity may have other specific needs for support as well, but such a learning environment can help buffer stress for these children.

Providing such an environment not only helps these children, but also helps educators maintain a constructive classroom environment that is not regularly subject to behavioral disruptions. Although the socioemotional development of young children is receiving increased attention, this domain typically is not well supported in the instructional and other practices of educators. National surveys indicate.

For example, faculty in teacher training institutions reported that, compared with practices across other developmental domains, their graduates were least prepared to address the needs of children with challenging behavior Hemmeter et al. Some curricular resources and other intervention appproaches provide effective approaches for fostering the socioemotional development and learning of children in early childhood and early elementary settings and enhancing supportive relationships CASEL, ; Durlak, ; Pianta et al.

These approaches focus on various aspects of socioemotional competence, including self-regulation and prosocial behaviors toward peers and adults. In most cases, these approaches have both strengths and weaknesses and mixed evidence for success across elements of socioemotional development. However, evaluations have shown that, when implemented at scale with appropriate supports, these approaches can improve some aspects of socioemotional competence, in some cases especially for children at highest risk or those who begin school with low self-regulation competencies Morris et al.

Box lists some examples of these approaches.

Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an uneasy profession

Fixsen and colleagues suggest that it is the combination of effective intervention practices and programs and effective implementation supports that results in positive outcomes for children and families. For educators to implement interventions with fidelity, program-wide implementation supports, including professional learning activities, are needed. Although there is a substantial body of literature on school-wide approaches to implementing tiered behavior support models in elementary, middle, and secondary schools, the literature on implementation of these models in early childhood settings is in its infancy Fox and Hemmeter, ; Frey, ; Stormont et al.

Interventions also have been developed that are aimed at fostering cognitive self-regulation and other cognitive processes, frequently referred to collectively as executive function see Chapter 4. The rapid development of executive function in the early years makes the use of such interventions optimal during that period, although no age is too late e. Some studies have shown enhancement of such capabilities with computer games e.

The latter often include specific teaching approaches such as guiding impulsive children to self-monitor their behavior by talking to themselves four different interventions of this sort were effective; see Reid et al. As suggested by Gilliam , educators are likely to benefit from consultation with early mental health experts to best understand how to work with children in need of specialized support in their classrooms.

Child mental health consultants can provide educators with guidance on classroom management and instructional practices for all children as well as individualized consultation for particular children based on classroom observations, and offer teachers continuing support as they incorporate these practices see Amini Virmani et al. Unfortunately, as noted 15 years ago in the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine report From Neurons to Neighborhoods , most communities lack expertise in child mental health services and consultation, and no well-developed national infrastructure exists for training developmentally oriented clinicians in providing these services see also Osofsky and Lieberman, More broadly, the importance of socioemotional health to early learning calls for the involvement of multiple service systems that affect young children and their families in meeting the special needs of young children facing mental health challenges Osofsky and Lieberman, Thus, beyond incorporating developmental knowledge in this area into educator preparation, it is important to also do so across sectors and settings, for professionals in pediatric practice, the child welfare system, early intervention, special education, childcare and after-school care, and programs for children with special needs.

This would help ensure that children experiencing mental health challenges would be identified and provided with appropriate services that would be aligned across different programs with which these children come in contact. Such cross-sector preparation of professionals concerned with young children could even be conducted collaboratively across professional communities. Such a cross-sector approach is especially important given that these different professional sectors have distinctly different professional reference groups and funding streams that tend to make their efforts insular rather than collaborative, even though the same child is the focus of their attention.

An additional benefit of cross-sector collaborative training in the socioemotional needs of young children is that it would enable professionals to coordinate assistance across multiple generations. The connections between the well-being of an adult and the well-being of a child who has an emotional attachment to that adult make it important to coordinate supportive services to parents and children within the family IOM and NRC, Similarly, the benefits demonstrated by intervention programs aimed at supporting the developmental health and learning of young children by providing broader family support should spur efforts to consider how children can be assisted through a two-generational approach.

Chase-Lansdale and Brooks-Gunn, Similar considerations apply to the associations between the well-being of children and the emotional health of those who care for and educate them outside the home. The use of technology in educational settings can take two major forms, both of which have implications for the competencies needed by professionals. In terms of professional competency, educators must have proficiency in technology as a set of tools that can enhance pedagogy, knowledge of how and when children learn through what kinds of technology and the ability to integrate that knowledge into their pedagogy and lessons, and proficiency in teaching children how to use technology and acquire digital literacy skills.

The second entails the use of technology to facilitate other aspects of professional practice, such as assessment of children, creation and management of the learning environment, documentation, information sharing, and communication with families and with other practitioners. This section focuses primarily on the first form of technology use: what knowledge teachers need to have about how children interact with and learn through technology and what skills they need to put that knowledge into practice in the classroom.

While there is still much to learn, the science of how children relate to new media has expanded through research over the past decade that offers insights into how, and at what age, young children may develop cognitive skills from using different types of new technology, as well as when profes-. According to a recent national survey of 1, American families, more than 8 in 10 children ages use digital media every week and two-thirds have tablets or e-readers. Developmental scientists long have wondered how babies make sense of the moving image.

Some research has shown that until about 18 months of age, infants tend to reach out to touch or grasp an image whether a picture or a video instead of pointing to it, as they do after 18 months DeLoache et al. In other words, it appears that infants eventually progress to a stage of cognitive development in which they comprehend that an image is a symbol that represents something instead of being the thing itself.

A separate body of research has focused on gleaning evidence that infants and toddlers can learn from what they see on a video screen, and at what age.

This deficit has been seen in children younger than 12 months old and up through age 3. It takes many forms and has been shown in some experiments to be overcome by repetition; that is, if a child sees something on video multiple times, the child can learn from it Barr and Hayne, ; Barr et al. A few studies in the mids showed associations between television viewing in early childhood and poor cognitive outcomes Christakis et al.

In these cases and many others, however, while researchers typically controlled for socioeconomic status of the parents, they did not include information on what types of shows children were watching. More recent studies have rectified this omission by examining the content of the viewing in addition to the quantity. One such study found links between infants regularly watching television shows made for.

Another found associations between attention problems and television viewing for children who watched violent programming, but not educational shows, before age 3 Zimmerman and Christakis, More insight comes from studies on video specifically designed to be educational for children. Studies using randomized controlled trials yielded evidence showing that children learned new vocabulary words and skills such as problem solving and self-regulation after watching videos with an intentional pedagogical approach or curriculum Singer and Singer, Longitudinal studies have shown a link between viewing Sesame Street before kindergarten and school readiness, as well as positive outcomes in high school Anderson et al.

It is important to emphasize that any benefits of technology will depend on the use of high-quality educational technology implemented well see, e. Limited research has examined how different technologies can be used effectively with students at different ages for different subjects, how to incorporate digital content into curricula, and how best to employ technology to enable early skill development. Although these research questions warrant further exploration, available research provides some guidance on how technology can contribute to effective early childhood settings Clements and Sarama, ; Sarama and Clements, Appropriate implementation of high-quality educational technology can help teaching and learning be more effective, efficient, and motivating Bereiter and Scardamalia, ; Bus and Kegel, ; Clements and Sarama, , ; Clements et al.

High-quality educational technology, implemented well in meaningful con-. These benefits extend across diverse populations and may be especially important for children with special needs e. In some cases, the use of educational technology has been shown to increase social interactions, especially those centered around subject-matter content. These social interactions in turn generate increased use of language Clements and Sarama, Technology-assisted instruction also can help build prereading and reading skills e.

Educational technology also can support the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics Clements and Sarama, ; NMP, ; NRC, ; Sarama and Clements, There can also be collateral benefits for digital literacy: the integration of an interactive literacy program into curriculum increases computer skills, computer self-efficacy, and enjoyment of computers Ross et al.

Most recently, debates about the value of video in early childhood have centered on whether any positive impact is evident when educational videos are watched before the age of 24 months. Thus far the few studies addressing this question have focused on word learning, and their results are mixed: two showed that children younger than 24 months of age cannot learn words from videos even when the videos are explicitly designed to teach them those words; another two showed that children just a few months shy of 24 months are, in fact, able to learn the words DeLoache et al. With the research still nascent and unsettled, parents and early educators continue to receive mixed messages about the value of so-called baby videos.

Another study showed that 2-year-olds using touch screens learn more from the on-screen content than those who only watch, as long as they are asked to touch specific areas of the screen that relate to the task they are learning Choi and. Kirkorian, A similar study showed that the same caveat applies to word learning as well Kirkorian et al. An only slightly more extensive line of research has emerged on the impact of interactive technologies for children aged For example, a study of the Building Blocks Pre-K math curriculum examined, among other questions, whether software integrated into a suite of curricular activities could have a positive impact on student learning.

Students in classrooms using the software scored higher than children in classrooms that employed the curriculum without the software Sarama and Clements, see also, Clements and Sarama, On the literacy front, a series of e-book studies in Israel with 40 kindergarteners and 50 first-graders showed that digital text with embedded questions and audio dictionaries definitions spoken aloud when a child clicks on a word can lead to improvements in phonological awareness, vocabulary knowledge, and word-reading skills Korat, Good results are seen when educators use the products intentionally and are given support in integrating them into their classroom practices.

One example comes from research on the television show The Adventures of SuperWhy , which is broadcast regularly on PBS and was also designed to be part of a classroom literacy curriculum for children aged In an experiment with the curriculum version, children watched episodes twice per week that were linked to teacher-led whole-classroom activities, small-group activities, online games, and individual exploration.

Teachers received professional development and training in how to integrate these activities throughout the 10 weeks. With funding from the U. Department of Education, researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial of low-income children in 80 preschools to determine the impact of the media-enriched literacy curricula. They found that children outscored the control group on measures of letter recognition, letter sounds, print concepts, and knowing the letters of their names Penuel.

The most important feature of any high-quality educational environment is a knowledgeable and responsive adult Darling-Hammond, ; Ferguson, ; NRC, b; Watson, , and this is no less true for technology as part of the learning environment. As research continues to examine what kinds of tools, media, and curriculum integration may be best for young children at which ages, one area of consensus is already forming: children consistently show greater signs of learning if they watch media with an adult who engages them in the content or helps them connect the ideas on screen to their world.

Just as they do with books, adults can spark conversations about the subject matter of a video or a game by using dialogic questioning and other ways to prompt deeper engagement. In short, computers and other technology are used well in classrooms where educators use effective instructional strategies.

Moreover, there is evidence that if educators receive more support in the use of computers, their students benefit, even more than if the support is targeted at students Fuller, As the science of how children are affected by and in what ways they can learn from various forms of media and technology emerges, research is starting to focus on a corollary question: What skills and knowledge do young children need to acquire about how to use technology and media—that is, what does digital literacy or technological fluency look like for young children?

There are instances of children as young as 5 learning how to produce multimedia projects, and some case studies suggest that such projects could prompt better reading comprehension Hobbs and Moore, Given the role these tools are already playing in schools and workplaces, more scientific research is needed on how and when young children develop skills in and knowledge about technology and media.

Educators working with older students— years old—have clearer expectations for the use of technology than their counterparts working with children under age 5. These standards call for students to be able to demonstrate the following with respect to using technology: research and information fluency; critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making; creativity and innovation; and communication and collaboration ISTE, a, At one count, nearly all 50 states had adopted or used part of the ISTE student standards.

Another indicator of technology expectations for educators comes in the Common Core State Standards. Consider, for example, the kindergarten standard CCSS. To be able to help children use digital tools for writing, educators themselves need a high level of familiarity with those tools and developmentally appropriate methods for introducing them to young children who are still learning how to write with analog tools such as pens and pencils. Expectations for the use of technology are very different in settings outside of elementary schools.

In prekindergarten and childcare settings, there is no widely adopted set of standards for using technology with these young children, nor are there common standards for what the children should know and be able to do regarding technology.

Some states do not mention technology in their early learning guidelines at all Daugherty et al. The intent was to provide guidance to teachers in settings across the birth through 8 age spectrum. Zero to Three has also developed guidelines specifically for screen use for children under 3 Lerner and Barr, Digital media—whether television, video, or games on interactive tablets—are a regular presence in the lives of young children. Educators across professional roles and age ranges are expected to have competency in the use of technology for learning.

This competency includes knowing how children learn through technology and having the ability to integrate that knowledge into practices that support development and learning. These professionals need better support in the use of technology and more opportunities to learn how to use technology appropriately, effectively, and to its fullest potential to foster early learning for children from birth through age 8. In addition to what is known about supporting healthy development among children, writ large, the current research base points to a set of essential practices for educators in early care and education settings and elementary schools with respect to the specific language-learning needs of the multilingual population.

Comprehensive early screening of the key skills and competencies related to literacy development is essential to prevent risk and vulnerabilities from becoming difficulties, given what is known about the relationships between early language and literacy skills and later academic achievement. The current research base highlights features of effective early assessment practices with multilingual learners, which together make for a comprehensive approach:.

More information can be found at www. Research on effective instructional practices with young multilingual learners highlights the promise and importance of several strategies and approaches that, together, prepare multilingual learners for the oral and written language they will encounter in the later grades:. In addition to general principles that support all learners such as small class sizes that allow for tailored individual learning experiences, team teaching with collaborative planning and reflection, and positive relationships between educators and students as well as with their families , Clements and Sarama have summarized the research on instructional approaches that are beneficial for the mathematics learning of dual language learners:.

Researchers have developed specific instructional strategies or components of instructional strategies for the acquisition and generalization of key skills by young children with or at risk for disabilities Godfrey et al. These approaches vary along several dimensions, including what is taught, when teaching occurs, the spacing of teaching trials, and the type of instructional procedure that is used. An issue with these strategies is how they can be implemented during naturally occurring activities and routines so that the instruction leads not only to the acquisition of new skills but also to higher levels of engagement in ongoing activities and routines for children with disabilities.

Although this type of embedded instruction is a recommended practice in early childhood special education Wolery, and early childhood education NAEYC, , evidence indicates that it frequently is not used in early childhood settings. An observational study in primary-grade classrooms found that for some children, across multiple academic and social activities, there were no instructional trials focused on their learning objectives Schuster et al.

For some students math skills may be delayed, but if formally classified as learning disabled they may be miseducated and mislabeled. In the earliest years, such labeling will probably do more harm than good. Instead, high-quality instruction preventive education should be provided to all students.

Foundational abilities in subitizing, counting and counting strategies, simple arithmetic, and magnitude comparison are important. In later years, competencies in arithmetic combinations, place value, and word problem solving should also be ensured Dowker, Other students may have a true math learning disability and be in need of specialized instruction. An example of the value of different kinds of additional instruction comes from a study showing that in the primary years, students with a math learning disability alone or in combination with a reading learning disability performed worse than normally developing students on timed tests but just as well on untimed tests.

Students with a math learning disability alone may simply need extra time studying and extra time to complete calculation tasks. Using a calculator and other computational aids can enable these students to concentrate on developing their problem-solving skills. Students with both mathematics and reading learning disabilities may need more systematic remedial intervention that is aimed at problem conceptualization, the development of effective computational strategies, and strategies for efficient fact retrieval Jordan and Montani, Further, specific mathematical competencies may have different relationships to reading learning disabilities.

In one study, children with dyslexia experienced difficulty with both arithmetic fact fluency and operations. In addition, however, the findings distinguished between these two areas, as arithmetic fact fluency appeared to be affected by domain-general competencies, whereas operations appeared to be related to specific competencies in literacy Vukovic et al. Historically, many have called for Direct Instruction in skills for students with math learning disabilities. Research also supports other approaches that share characteristics with Direct Instruction—such as explicit, systematic instruction—but include more student problem solving and student-generated talk rather than highly educator-directed lessons with specific instructions and demonstrations of procedures.

For example, educators may not only explain and demonstrate specific strategies, but also encourage students to think aloud. Further, instruction is not limited to memorization of simple skills but includes computation and solving word problems, including those that apply mathematics to novel situations. Using visual representations may make such explicit instruction even more effective. Further, educators need to ensure that students are acquiring all foundational concepts and skills necessary to learning mathematics at their grade level NMP, Such interventions should be used in addition to other mathematics instruction.

Clements and Sarama have summarized the research on instructional approaches that help students at risk of experiencing problems with learning mathematics:. There are many gaps in the availability of resources to help students with special needs. For example, there is no widely used measure with which to identify specific learning difficulties or disabilities in mathemat-. Finally, it may be most important, and have the most potential to prevent most learning difficulties, if high-quality early and elementary childhood mathematics education is provided for all students.

Gersten and colleagues offer specific guidelines to this end. Care and education professionals need skills in communicating, working collaboratively, and developing partnerships with families. They have an important role in preparing families to engage in behaviors and activities that enhance development and early learning, and to maintain continuity and consistency across home and out-of-home settings and learning environments for young children.

For example, parents can. Following are two examples of the role of family partnerships in supporting child development and early learning. The principles illustrated by these examples also can be applied generally across different domains. Strong partnerships between families and care and education professionals are key to promoting language-rich home environments for the youngest children. Because the cultural constructs for the families of multilingual children are in many cases different from the long-held cultural norms of U.

Educators also need to remind families that when they talk and interact with their children, their children learn. Educators should encourage families to talk, read, and play in the language s with which they feel the greatest comfort and facility. Families of emerging bilingual or multilingual children may have concerns that children will not learn English if they continue to speak in another language or languages at home.

Care and education professionals are well positioned to share with families the benefits of bilingualism or multilingualism, as well as to celebrate the linguistic diversity in their classrooms with the children themselves Bialystok, , The relationship between care and education professionals and families is not always easily negotiated, particularly across ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic differences. Both racism and classism can act as barriers to family and parent engagement in schools. This is also an opportunity for educators to discuss race with their students in order to prepare them for race-related issues they may encounter.

However, a study found that many teachers are unaware of institutional racism and how it affects parents, families, and students Bernhard et al. Similarly, working-class and middle-class families may perceive family engagement and parent involvement in schools differently; working-class families may not recognize the connection between home and school which may lead to less parent involvement Lareau, ; Lareau and Horvat, A study also found that working-class and low-income parents may be less involved due to feelings of insecurity in their academic skills or because of their own negative experiences they may have had in school Lareau, ; Lawrence-Lightfoot, The care and education workforce needs to be prepared to recognize and address these barriers to family engagement Ambe, ; Bloch and Swadener, ; Strizek et al.

Power dynamics between parents and educators can also be a barrier to effective family engagement in schools. Some parents may feel intimidated upon entering the classroom, as they may reflect back on their own childhood school experiences, which may have been negative Lawrence-Lightfoot, In order to eliminate the uneven dynamic, the educator has the responsibility to recognize and address any power issues in order to help parents feel comfortable communicating about the child Doucet and Tudge, ; Lawrence-Lightfoot, While early learning standards provide a roadmap for what young children should know and be able to do, early care and education professionals, including practitioners and leaders, also need the competencies to understand how individual and groups of children are learning and developing across the birth through age 8 continuum.

In the course of their work, early. Are mainstreamed children with special education classifications making the anticipated progress? What competencies do children possess as they enter kindergarten? Are children in a program for infants and toddlers developing significantly better than similar children who are not receiving services?

Care and education professionals and policy leaders need information in order to modify instruction, support curriculum reform, fund new and existing programs, and develop regulations that will support student learning. Therefore, child assessments serve a variety of purposes Chittenden and Jones, Sometimes the term suggests a more diagnostic function, for example, to identify children with special needs. Across all levels of education systems, assessments can be used to inform continuous quality improvement Chittenden, ; Chittenden and Jones, The intended purpose of assessment should determine its content; the methods used to collect information; and the nature of the possible uses—and consequences—for individual students, teachers, schools, or programs.

It is confusion of purpose that often leads to misuse of tests and other instruments in early childhood. Instruments designed for one purpose, such as identification, may be totally inappropriate for another, such as measuring the success of a program. Assessments can inform teaching and program improvement and make a crucial contribution to better outcomes for children, but only if they are selected appropriately, matched to their purpose, well designed, implemented effectively in the context of systematic planning, and interpreted and used appropriately.

Otherwise, assessment of children and programs can result in negative consequences for both. The potential value of assessments will therefore only be realized if fundamental attention is paid to their purpose NRC, Realizing the potential value of assessment also requires attention to the design of the larger systems in which assessments are used.

Although this section focuses on the ability of care and education professionals to conduct child assessments, it is important to emphasize that such child assessment should not occur in isolation but rather as a component of a comprehensive assessment system, as described in Box NRC, Assessments: Multiple approaches to documenting child development and learning and reviewing program quality that are of high quality and connect to one another in well-defined ways, from which strategic selection can be made depending on specific purposes.

Reporting: Maintenance of an integrated database of assessment instruments and results with appropriate safeguards of confidentiality that is accessible to potential users, that provides information about how the instruments and scores relate to standards, and that can generate reports for varied audiences and purposes. Professional development: Ongoing opportunities provided to those at all levels policy makers, program directors, assessment administrators, practitioners to understand the standards and the assessments and to learn to use the data and data reports with integrity for their appropriate purposes.

Opportunity to learn: Procedures to assess whether the environments in which children are spending time offer high-quality support for development and learning, as well as safety, enjoyment, and affectively positive relationships, and to direct support to those that fall short. Inclusion: Methods and procedures for ensuring that all children served by the program will be assessed fairly, regardless of their language, culture, or disabilities, and with tools that provide useful information for fostering their development and learning.

Resources: The assurance that the financial resources needed to ensure the development and implementation of the system components will be available. Monitoring and evaluation: Continuous monitoring of the system itself to ensure that it is operating effectively and that all elements are working together to serve the interests of the children. This entire infrastructure must be in place to create and sustain an assessment subsystem within a larger system of early childhood care and education. Stiggins , , coined the term assessment literacy to describe the ability of care and education professionals to understand how to.


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The discussion in this section focuses on the principles of assessment and some of the tools and approaches that care and education professionals should be familiar with and able to use as they investigate questions about the progress of children and programs. Key to applying these principles using the assessment tools described in the next section is for professionals to be trained not only in how to administer assessments but also in how to interpret their results and apply that information to make changes in instructional practices and learning environments Kauerz and Coffman, ; Tout et al.

In addition, data collection, interpretation, and sharing in ongoing practice need to be supported through structured and facilitated means to ensure the quality of the data analysis, interpretation, and use. Leaders in educational settings as. In many settings, accountability requirements increasingly demand unprecedented amounts of data gathering. This demand may be having unintended consequences in detracting from meaningful interpretation and use of assessment data.

A shift may be required to decrease the volume of data collection and reorient the current focus on reporting and compliance in favor of devoting more time, support, and resources to data analysis, interpretation, and use Lesaux and Marietta, ; Lesaux et al.

There exists an array of tools that, when selected wisely and according to the purpose for which they were intended, administered appropriately, and interpreted accurately, can inform practice and policy to help create successful learning environments and achieve strong outcomes for children. The terms used in any assessment discussion e. At appropriate ages, all of these sources can be useful.

Screening is the use of a brief procedure or tool to identify children who may require a more in-depth diagnostic assessment to determine whether they need more in-depth intervention services. When such services are needed, the follow-up typically requires coordination among families, early educators, and medical or early intervention specialists NRC, Screening competencies include the knowledge and ability to help ensure that health and developmental screenings are being administered at the right stages and using appropriate, valid screening tools; skills in early identification of the potential need for further assessment and referral for developmental delays, mental health issues, and other such concerns; skills to help families find necessary resources; and skills for follow-up on the outcomes of referrals HRSA, n.

Diagnostic assessment is used to better describe an identified problem, to locate a cause, or both. A child identified by a screening assessment as possibly having delayed language development, for example, needs further assessment to determine whether an actual delay exists; whether there are other, related delays e. Research indicates that formative assessment is an effective teaching strategy Akers et al. It helps all children learn, but helps lower-achieving children the most. They gain not only subject-matter knowledge but also cognitive competencies often already attained by higher-achieving children.

Formative assessment is an important part of the cycle of understanding the levels of thinking at which students are operating, identifying the next level of thinking they should learn, and matching this to educational activities to support that learning Clements and Sarama, ; Clements et al. Compared with assessments that are merely curriculum based, curriculum-embedded assessments have the potential to address higher-level thinking and understanding, which has the added advantage of being intrinsically more interesting to students.

In addition, although there is reasonable concern that assessments can narrow curriculum and teaching, comprehensive, research-based assessment instruments often individually administered Clements et al. Summative assessments typically are carried out at the completion of a program of learning, such as at the end of an instructional unit, to de-. Summative assessments can be used for multiple purposes. In some cases, they are used for accountability, and sometimes they are administered by educators themselves to be used for that purpose.

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Infant Mental Health Journal 34 2 Anderson, D. Television and very young children. American Behavioral Scientist 48 5 Huston, K. Schmitt, D. Linebarger, J. Wright, and R. Early childhood television viewing and adolescent behavior: The recontact study. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 66 1 :i-viii, Appleton, K. Why teach primary science? International Journal of Science Education 21 2 Journal of Science Teacher Education 13 1 Aram, D.

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Farran, and M. An investigation of prekindergarten curricula: Influences on classroom characteristics and child engagement. Ballou, D. Sanders, and P. Controlling for student background in value-added assessment of teachers. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics 29 1 Bangert-Drowns, R. The word processor as an instructional tool: A meta-analysis of word processing in writing instruction.

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Baroody, A. The development of basic counting, number, and arithmetic knowledge among children classified as mentally handicapped. In International review of research in mental retardation. New York: Academic Press. The development of adaptive expertise and flexibility: The integration of conceptual and procedural knowledge. In The development of arithmetic concepts and skills constructive adaptive expertise , edited by A.

Baroody and A. The developmental bases for early childhood number and operations standards. In Engaging young children in mathematics standards for early childhood mathematics education , edited by D. Clements and J. The role of psychological research in the development of early childhood mathematics standards. Barr, R. Developmental changes in imitation from television during infancy. Child Development 70 5 Muentener, A. Garcia, M. Fujimoto, and V. The effect of repetition on imitation from television during infancy.

Developmental Psychobiology 49 2 : Lauricella, E. Zach, and S. Infant and early childhood exposure to adult-directed and child-directed television programming: Relations with cognitive skills at age four. Barton, K. Themes or motifs? Aiming for coherence through interdisciplinary outlines. The Reading Teacher 54 1 Baumert, J. Kunter, W. Blum, M. Brunner, T. Voss, A. Jordan, and Y. American Educational Research Journal 47 1 Beck, I. Text talk: Capturing the benefits of read-aloud experiences for young children.

The Reading Teacher 55 1 Elementary School Journal 3 Beilock, S. Learning and performing math: Self-concept, self-doubt, and self-fulfilling prophesy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General Bereiter, C. Can children really create knowledge? Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology 36 1.

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British Journal of Developmental Psychology 14 2 Callanan, M. Cognitive Development Campbell, P. Teaching and learning mathematics in poor communities. Carlo, M. August, B. Conole ; Weller Whereas the field of learning technologies broadly assumes that digital technologies have the potential to directly influence learning, the NLS is more concerned with an examination of the range of different ways that participants make sense of the environment in which they are learning and making meaning, without making any prior assumptions about the potential implications of technologies.

Although there are evidently connections and overlaps between these different perspectives, at a deeper epistemological level there are fundamental contradictions between them, in part arising from the contrasting approaches and value placed upon theoretical work and engagement in critical enquiry in the two fields. Although theory has played a part in learning technologies research, the field as a whole has not tended to prioritise the development of critical standpoints and deepening understandings of situated practices, and, arguably, as a result mainstream work in learning technologies has generally sidestepped debates around power, authority, identity and meaning making.

Its concern has been more focused primarily on the ways in which technologies might drive and change learning, and on supporting teachers and learning in using digital technologies Beetham McGill and Littlejohn This may account for why it has proved difficult to converse across these two distinct domains underpinned by very different epistemologies and linked to different agendas for research; the one is focused upon a critical and theorised approach to learning and literacies, and the other more pragmatic.

Our task here is not to iron out these differences but to understand where they conflict and how they might be usefully aligned with each other conceptually, methodologically and practically. One of the challenges of working in this area — where technologies and literacies rub up against one another — centres on what might be perceived to be apparently trivial differences in terminology. As suggested in this article, we believe these reveal more fundamental mismatches in terms of underpinning theory, focus and ideology.

Brice-Heath ; Street and critical linguistics e. This particularly challenged the notion of literacy as a single, universal cognitive quality residing in the individual, instead conceiving of it as a set of situated social practices. This realignment broadened the scope to include shared social and material practices taking place around texts, and it also saw literacy practices as implicated in the enactment of power and reproduction of social privilege.

What both redefinitions have in common is that they view literacy primarily as social practice, with an emphasis on its situated, non-generic and also political nature. This orientation has led to various strands of work in the field, including a focus on social groups that have been traditionally marginalised by dominant literacy practices e. Ivanic ; Lillis ; Thesen and Van Pletzen As alluded to here, until relatively recently, academic literacies as a field of study appeared somewhat slow to respond to the digitally mediated world of higher education.

We speculate that this could be a result of the pull of the field back to its examination of higher education's gatekeeping activities around high-status, authoritative and powerful texts, and also due to the dominance of the focus on print literacies, making it difficult for researchers to see beyond these to digital and associated textual practice. Additionally, although technologies are always implicated in literacies, they have become so black boxed Morgan, Russell, and Ryan that researchers have paid little direct attention to them.

It could also be argued that the attention given to student struggles with assignment writing and the micro-attention paid to the detail of student text production and lecturer feedback have meant that the field was somewhat slow to pick up on the shift towards increased use of digitally mediated texts and inscription practices. More recently, however, an interest in this shift has brought the work of some academic literacy researchers into a closer relationship with learning technologists e.

Goodfellow and Lea ; Lea ; Lea and Jones ; Williams and has generated a range of other work applying a broader literacies perspective to educational engagement with digital media e. Carrington and Robinson ; Steinkuehler We recognise that in the United States, with its history of rhetoric and composition studies, attention to the relationship between writing and technologies has a much longer history — although this has not necessarily been through a literacy lens. He draws on the work of Welch and Zappen , but as early as Cooper and Selfe were making related arguments about the use of technologies — in this case, computer conferencing — and the opportunities that these offered students to develop internally persuasive discourses which challenged the dominant conventions and relationships of the writing classroom.

Meanwhile, the literature in learning technologies shows a striking lack of recognition of the centrality of texts to learning technologies, perhaps another indication of the extent to which the strongly textual nature of education is naturalised and therefore rendered implicit in educational research and theory. This is perhaps not surprising when, as we have noted in this article, academic literacy researchers themselves have been slow to engage with the textuality of digital practice. For example, the now ubiquitous use of the virtual learning environment VLE is a topic which has generated a large literature in learning technologies, but with little acknowledgement that the VLE is primarily centred on the storage, organisation and generation of texts — such as PowerPoint slideshows, Word documents and discussion boards see Williams Lankshear and Knobel This is not to suggest a clear division, as both fields are heterogeneous areas of study with many contentious viewpoints and critical dissenters from the mainstream.

It is for this reason that we feel this topic is worthy of detailed consideration — as an uncovering of these apparently minor terminological differences could in fact be crucial in moving these two fields of enquiry and practice closer together. There are also clearly professional investments and identities centred on particular concepts, which for historical, cultural and epistemological reasons may be deeply embedded.

We maintain that sustained attention to the often implicit theoretical, conceptual and methodological apparatus of this area is imperative, if we are to move to a more nuanced and mature understanding of digitally mediated engagement with texts in education. One response to this messiness of terminology has been the attempt within learning technology to establish taxonomic definitions of digital literacies, breaking the concept into constituent elements. This list and Belshaw's discussion acknowledges the social and collective nature of literacies, and is neither skills based nor technologies driven.

Belshaw's analysis originates in research conducted in schools, which perhaps accounts for the focus on digital literacies as a set of attributes to be attained or worked towards. However, the persistence in the mainstream of both a skills focus and a preoccupation with desired personal qualities of students may also point to one of the central weaknesses of the NLS perspective — that it has perhaps been most effective when deployed as a critique, and most generative when used as a means of shaping a radical and questioning research agenda.

At the same time, the elasticity of the notion of literacy has enabled it to be co-opted to serve a range of different agendas. In our final section, therefore, we suggest a possible framework for moving beyond the deficit model and the unhelpful binaries it rests upon. For some while, literacy researchers have been looking to other theoretical frameworks to complement their work e. Clarke ; Hamilton ; Lea ; Pardoe , particularly when considering new contexts.

His interest is in the ways in which behaviours, practices, artefacts, technologies and texts all work together in both visible and hidden ways within networks. Ivanic ; Ivanic et al. As both Hamilton and Clarke argue, there is value in complementing a social practice view of literacy — with its focus around what individuals do with texts in practice — with an approach which looks at how things come into being through networks.

Hamilton suggests that ANT is promising in this respect because it works with a dynamic view of social life which acknowledges power and contestation and assumes multiple perspectives. The epistemological assumptions behind this work are particularly compatible with the social practices perspective on literacy because of the similarity of ideas even though they may have different emphases and languages of description.

Some work in the literacies field e. As Fenwick and Edwards remind us, these distinctions are actually no more than assemblages of myriad entities which order and govern practice in particular ways. This also applies to the strong binary identified and challenged in this article between NLS and learning technologies. This article has been an attempt to lay bare some of the tendencies in the different approaches and argue the case for building on these differences in our work rather than seeing them as paradigm contests.

Contributors to the edited volume that resulted from the seminars Goodfellow and Lea bring theoretical, empirical and practitioner-focused accounts of work around literacies and technologies. For example, the programme included a qualitative research study focusing on day-to-day student engagements with literacy practices using longitudinal multimodal journaling and interviews and applying an ANT and sociomaterial analysis. This study found that student literacy practices were intertwined in complex ways with their interactions with digital devices and texts, and also that devices and technologies were perceived to be agentive and powerfully constitutive of practices and identities Gourlay and Oliver ; Gourlay, forthcoming.

Such studies suggest that we need to continue to creatively expand the range of conceptual, empirical and practice-based approaches, in order to meet the complex challenges of working with texts, technologies and learning in a digital world. In terms of higher education, the answer in part lies in how we understand the nature of today's university and the ongoing and unresolved tension between the intrinsic value of disciplinary inquiry as a social and public good, and the role of the academy in a global higher education market meeting the needs of the digital knowledge economy.

Barton, D. Baynam, M. Baynham, M. Beetham, H. Belshaw, D. Brandt, D. Brice-Heath, S. Briggs, A. Carrington, V. Castells, M. Clarke, J.

Academic literacies, learning and technologies

Conole, G. Cooper, M. Publisher Full Text. Fenwick, T. Gee, J.

Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession
Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession
Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession
Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession
Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession
Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession Identity Work in the Contemporary University: Exploring an Uneasy Profession

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