Using a Dilemma Case in Early Childhood Teacher Education: Does it Promote Theory and Practice Connection?

Using a Dilemma Case in Early Childhood Teacher Education- Does it Promote Theory and Practice Connection?Using a Dilemma Case in Early Childhood Teacher Education: Does it Promote Theory and Practice Connection?

Kevser KOÇa

Gaziantep University

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of using case analyses on early childhood pre-service te- achers’ skills on connecting theory and practice, and solving ill-defined problems in teaching young children. In particular, the following research questions were explored: (1) To what degree are pre-service teachers able to make theory–practice connections in response to a written dilemma case of early childhood classroom? (2) What types of solution strategies did the participants suggest? (3) What is the potential value of using a dilemma case in solving ill-defined problems in early childhood education? 48 senior students enrolled in an early child- hood education program participated in the study. The participants read, analyze and reflect on case of an early childhood teacher who is having a dilemma regarding a 4-year old child who seems to need special education. The data analysis revealed a notable influence of theoretical knowledge and specific perspective through inclu- sion provided in class on the students’ essays. They suggested two solution strategies (a) strategies that aim to convince the parents to consult a specialist and (b) strategies that aim to support the child’s development. The findings were discussed and potential implications were addressed in the paper.

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