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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Play Then and Now: A Narrative Study of Early Childhood Teachers’ Play Histories and Practices
by Clark, Katelyn, Ph.D., Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, School of Graduate Studies, 2019, 155; 13810478
Abstract (Summary)

While advocacy efforts for a child’s right to play have been significant over the past decade, these efforts have not necessarily translated into teaching practices within the current academic climate (Falk, 2012; Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff, Berk & Singer, 2009; Miller & Almon, 2009). If teachers are a key piece in what is to be considered quality play experiences for young children (Hadley, 2002; Hirsh-Pasek et al., 2009; Jones & Reynolds, 2011; Kontos, 1999; Korat, Bahar & Snapir, 2003), teacher’s perceptions of and experiences with play move to the fore as an important part of what is considered their “play pedagogy” (Ryan & Northey-Berg, 2013, p. 4).

The purpose of this narrative study is to uncover and describe the ways in which teachers’ personal play histories inform their facilitation of, provision for, and perceptions of dramatic play in their classroom. These descriptions were framed by research questions that sought to illuminate how past relationships with play have an impact on the present: How do teachers understand the relationship between their personal play histories and their practices in the classroom? How do teachers interpret play both personally and professionally? How do teachers facilitate for play? How does participating in the reflective process continue to shape teachers' perceptions of play in their classrooms or their facilitation of play? Qualitative data was collected via semi structured interviews, in classroom observations and one focus group. Narrative analysis was conducted by individual case to create a play history narrative and across the four cases to examine commonalities. This analysis created space for four vivid descriptions of a history with play, and the development of a model that illustrated the reflective process of play history narrative as a vehicle for pedagogical change.

This study’s findings highlight play history creation as a powerful reflective tool for teachers. Considering this reflective process as a builder of teacher identity and a key piece in the development of their personal practical knowledge (Connelly & Clandinin, 1988), creates space for the use of personal play narrative with both pre-service and in-service teachers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lobman, Carrie
Commitee: Ryan, Sharon, Hyland, Nora, Perone, Anthony
School: Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, School of Graduate Studies
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 81/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Early childhood education, Teacher education
Keywords: Early childhood education, Play, Teacher reflection
Publication Number: 13810478
ISBN: 9781392450475
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