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Reflections on Learning and Teaching Through Play: Faculty Voices Within Early Childhood Teacher Education in Canada


Reflections on Learning and Teaching Through Play: Faculty Voices Within Early Childhood Teacher Education in Canada

Blom, Marleah (2015) Reflections on Learning and Teaching Through Play: Faculty Voices Within Early Childhood Teacher Education in Canada. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
Blom_PhD_F2015.pdf - Accepted Version


Play has been documented to be present throughout the lifespan. Play and learning are commonly associated with childhood yet their place within formal post-secondary settings has been overlooked. Considering the role of play in human development and the important role post-secondary early childhood teacher education programs (ECTE) have in preparing preservice teachers to create positive quality experiences for young children in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings, ECTE is a fertile context for inquiry on play and learning with adult learners. This study highlights the voices of 19 faculty members working in 13 recognized post-secondary Diploma and Certificate ECTE programs across six provinces and territories in Canada. It is a qualitative study that integrates various methods within a four-stage model to explore teacher beliefs and practices. Images, narratives and semi-structured interviews are used to provoke reflection while shedding light on (a) who faculty are, (b) their beliefs on play and learning for children and adult learners, (b) their related self-reported teaching practices, (c) perceived influential factors, and (d) recommendations for faculty professional development. Data were triangulated and analyzed through three steps. Faculty valued play and learning in both ECEC and ECTE settings and provided examples of how they put their beliefs into practice in ECTE programs. Insights reveal ways in which the relationship between play and learning in education shifts from children’s spontaneous free play towards a structured and goal-oriented play in adulthood, including influential factors that may contribute to the change. Findings are discussed based on features of an existing ECTE professional development system model (Hyson et al., 2012), along with additional questions that are raised. A proposed model of a relationship between faculty’s beliefs and practices is also presented, along with reported mediating factors operating at different levels. The study contributes to gaps within the literature and comes at a time when pressures for standardization and school readiness are putting the place of free play at risk in early childhood settings. The study’s strengths and limitations are discussed. Recommendations and future directions for research, ECTE programs, and ECTE faculty are provided.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Blom, Marleah
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:15 September 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):D'Amico, Miranda
Keywords:play, learning, teaching, early childhood teacher education, post-secondary education
ID Code:980572
Deposited On:27 Oct 2015 19:42
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51
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