Understanding Early Childhood Teachers' Competence: Pedagogical Attention, Analysis and Interpretation, and Decision-Making Skills

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0001-5140-9082
Romo Escudero, Maria Francisca, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
LoCasale-Crouch, Jennifer, CU-Leadshp, Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia

This dissertation presents three independent studies that all focus on understanding early childhood educator’s competence. The first study investigated toddler caregivers’ ability to notice effective classroom interactions and indicators of toddler development. Results showed that caregiver noticing abilities are relatively low overall, with caregivers’ ability to notice indicators of toddler development being even lower than their ability to notice effective caregiver-child interactions. There is also initial evidence to support the predictive value of the ability to notice effective caregiver-child interactions to caregivers’ classroom practice. The second study investigated how early childhood teachers that changed their classroom practice in the context of intervention developed their noticing skills (i.e., attend, analyze, and respond to their teaching) over time through reflective assignments and conferences with a coach offered by an intervention. Results indicate that opportunities for teachers to reflect on their and with a coach enable them to improve their analytical skills over time. The third study further investigated the relationship between noticing skills, other teachers’ characteristics (knowledge, emotions, motivation) and practice. Results indicated that teachers that watch somebody else’s video showed higher levels of noticing skills compared to the ones who watched their own practice video. Holding a bachelor’s degree was related to better noticing skills, and no evidence was found to support the relationship between noticing skills and practice. Collectively, these three studies add to a more comprehensive understanding of (1) early childhood teachers’ competence; (2) how specific training/teacher professional development features matter to enhance teachers’ skills; and (3) the relationship between teachers’ cognitive and emotional processes and their practice in the classroom.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Sponsoring Agency:
Becas Chile, CONICYTFulbright Commission for the Educational Exchange between Chile and the United States of America
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