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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Changing teachers’ beliefs and pedagogical practices Carr, Anne


The purpose of the study was to document, over an extended period of time, the transformative processes that dialogue, conversation, reflection and documentation can provide for early childhood teachers as they bring their thoughts from taken-for-granted assumptions to explicit affirmations about their beliefs and pedagogical practices. A sample of three teachers, an early childhood education student and a pedagogista participated in two locations. They had all been involved in a local knowledge community exploring the substantive professional ideas of the Reggio Emilia Approach where respect for the image of the child as rich, strong and powerful is fundamental to preparing an environment that acts as a third educator. The practice of pedagogic documentation can help make teachers' thought processes about change visible and open for discussion. After attending a conference on Reggio Emilia practices in August, the volunteers participated in the study until April 2003. As participant observer in this ethnographic field study, I gathered observations and carried out discussions and interviews with the teachers, student and pedagogista. The teachers maintained journals. I made field notes and kept a journal. The pedagogista engaged with the teachers in a community of learners as they questioned their beliefs and decisions about practice. Together they began to co-construct environments that reflected changing images of children and themselves. Provocations, disturbances and 'cracks', that is, the location or opportunity for teachers to stop, listen and observe and then negotiate a plan that suits the group interest, provided opportunities for change in both beliefs and practices. Listening, in particular, energized the teachers' professional artistry, that is, the tacit dimension that connects practical wisdom and decision-making in living practice.

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