2023 journal article
Preparing Pre-Service Early Childhood Teachers to Support Child Language Development
Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.
This study addresses the dearth of research on preparing pre-service early childhood educators to support young children’s language development. Taking a design-based approach to an undergraduate course for early childhood majors, qualitative data analysis examined the seven participating pre-service teachers’ knowledge of, perspectives on, and strategies for facilitating language development. In addition to traditional course content and assignments on language development, pre-service teachers explored sociocultural influences on language, participated in in-class and field-based practical experiences, videotaped and reflected on their work with preschool children, and engaged in coaching and feedback with peers and course instructors. In response to ongoing data collection and analysis, course elements were adjusted to meet emerging needs of the pre-service teachers. Findings indicate participants gained knowledge in language development, shifted perspectives on the value of linguistic diversity, demonstrated analytical reflection that led to action, expanded their view of the role of the teacher in language facilitation, and connected course content to their teaching practice. Implications of the findings for practice- and social-justice-oriented teacher education and limitations of the study context are discussed.