Duration 05/2020 - 04/2020
Funding: DFG (Project No. 439687350).
How does domain-specific training of preschool teachers in initial teacher education achieve the best effects?
Prof. Dr. Simone Dunekacke, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Julia Barenthien & Prof. Dr. Mirjam Steffensky, Universität Hamburg
Prof. Dr. Aiso Heinze, IPN Kiel
Background of the study
Already young children develop a curiosity about the connections in their world and begin to explore them. Empirical studies have shown that they are already able to understand basic mathematical and science concepts at a preschool age (Goswami, 2011; Krajewski & Schneider, 2009). Further findings also suggest that early domain-specific competences of children have a positive influence on their later school performance (Morgan et al., 2016; Nguyen et al., 2016). Therefore, the focus is set to early childhood education in preschools. In order to follow up, question and consolidate initial intuitive concepts about the world (e.g. "Water drips - wood does not" or "Here are many sweets and there are few") and simple connections (e.g. "When it's really cold, water turns to ice"), children need stimulating learning support from the preschool teachers. The situation-oriented approach in (German) preschools requires that children's interests are taken up and expanded spontaneously in everyday situations, whereas the contents for domain-specific learning in school are pre-structured. In order to be able to use the relevant situations in everyday childcare at all, preschool teachers must, in addition to knowledge about the domain-specific development of children, also have the skills to identify potential learning situations (e.g. eating ice cream in summer), to recognise their relevance and to provide age-appropriate support (McCray & Chen, 2012; Tu, 2006).
Preschool teachers’ initial teacher education plays a crucial role in the acquisition of these skills. So far, however, there is hardly any scientific knowledge about domain-specific learning opportunities in initial teacher education and its impact on the professional competences of future preschool teachers. Initial findings, however, indicate that there are few mathematical and science learning opportunities for early childhood education in preschool teachers’ initial teacher education (Barenthien et al., 2020; Lippard et al., 2018), although a certain amount of domain-specific knowledge is required to create stimulating interactions in everyday life (e.g., Dunekacke et al., 2016).
The aim of this project is to investigate on the impact of different domain-specific learning opportunities on the professional competences of pre-service preschool teachers.
Established testing instruments that are used before and after the domain-specific learning opportunities will be used to identify those learning opportunities that are particularly effective, i.e. that help the pre-service preschool teachers to acquire professional competences particularly well.
The insights gained from the study are important for the further development of curricula in initial teacher education. Prospective preschool teachers should thus be enabled to develop content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge and necessary skills for professional practice. These professional skills are fundamental for the stimulating and age-appropriate support of mathematical and science learning experiences of children in the day-to-day life in preschool.
Barenthien, J., Oppermann, E., Anders, Y. & Steffensky, M. (2020). Preschool teachers’ learning opportunities in their initial teacher education and in-service professional development – do they have an influence on preschool teachers’ science-specific professional knowledge and motivation? International Journal of Science Education, 27(3), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2020.1727586
Dunekacke, S., Jenßen, L., Eilerts, K. & Blömeke, S. (2016). Epistemological beliefs of prospective preschool teachers and their relation to knowledge, perception, and planning abilities in the field of mathematics: A process model. ZDM, 48(1-2), 125–137. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-015-0711-6
Goswami, U. (2011). The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of childhood cognitive development (2. Aufl.). Wiley-Blackwell handbooks of developmental psychology. Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444325485
Krajewski, K. & Schneider, W. (2009). Early development of quantity to number-word linkage as a precursor of mathematical school achievement and mathematical difficulties: Findings from a four-year longitudinal study. Learning and Instruction, 19, 513–526.
Lippard, C. N., Tank, K., Walter, M. C., Krogh, J. & Colbert, K. (2018). Preparing early childhood preservice teachers for science teaching: aligning across a teacher preparation program. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 39(3), 193–212. https://doi.org/10.1080/10901027.2018.1457578
McCray, J. S. & Chen, J.-Q. (2012). Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Preschool Mathematics: Construct Validity of a New Teacher Interview. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 26(3), 291–307. https://doi.org/10.1080/02568543.2012.685123
Tu, T. (2006). Preschool Science Environment: What Is Available in a Preschool Classroom? Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(4), 245–251. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-005-0049-8