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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Working between cultures : individual voices and multiple visions of childcare teachers Waqar, Zoobi

Abstract

The thesis focuses on the tensions, issues and challenges childcare teachers experience in a culturally diverse children center. It explores childcare teachers' understandings and practices using the mainstream early childhood education curriculum approach in North America. Teachers' knowledge of early childhood education is important to my discussion because it reflects on the cultural perspectives, values and personal philosophies they bring to the classroom. Skills that teachers want children to know and learn are related to their personal beliefs and experience of not only what children are able to do at a particular level, but what they feel is important for children to learn. Over a period of six months, I was participant-observer in one childcare center. Information gathering included open-ended interviews, fieldnotes, and conversations. My learning inquiry involves moving and descriptive journeys from one to the next, and within the journeys are stories presented through portraiture, my poems and different textual illustrations. In this context childcare teachers' voices are heard, illustrating that there are many tensions, issues and challenges that they confront when working with children from diverse cultures. In the long and continuous journey that I undertake, my personal life experiences weave a pattern with childcare teachers' experiences about their concerns of using the early childhood curriculum approaches for children from a variety of cultures. This inquiry process begins as ethnography of voices that becomes a proactive process. I document childcare teachers' lives and their words, a deliberate gesture to bring forward whom I have come to know in a community. By incorporating teachers' biographies into my thesis, and listening to what they have to say, considering why and how they say it, I add depth to the journey they have taken as individuals. And in sharing some of their tense moments with me, they express their concerns, and boldly depict the issues in childcare and the challenges they have taken charge of, and thankfully, find release.

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