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"I wouldn't teach any other grade" : a case study of kindergarten teachers' work

Kelly, Michael 2004 , '"I wouldn't teach any other grade" : a case study of kindergarten teachers' work', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Whilst the nature of teachers' work in primary and secondary contexts has been the
focus of considerable investigation, in the field of early childhood education,
kindergarten teachers' work has been under researched. This has important
implications for the field, specifically that the work of kindergarten teachers is not
understood. Consequently, the work of kindergarten teachers is often under-valued
and accorded a lower status than that of their colleagues in other teaching settings.
The study provides an in-depth examination of four kindergarten teachers' work with
the aim of illustrating the complex and diverse nature of kindergarten teaching. A
second aim of the study was to gain an understanding of how individuals came to
teach in kindergarten, the roles that kindergarten teachers are required to adopt, and
what it means to be a kindergarten teacher.
An ethnographic, narrative, case study approach to the research was adopted.
Extensive observations and interviews of four kindergarten teachers working in
government schools in northern Tasmania were employed to examine the nature of
kindergarten teachers' work and the meaning of that work for these teachers.
Through this study, a framework for understanding the nature of kindergarten
teachers' work emerged. The framework takes into account the personal,
professional and social dimensions of kindergarten teachers' work. The findings
associated with the personal dimension suggest that these participants entered the
area of kindergarten education through serendipitous circumstances or opportunities.
The participants described their work as hard although kindergarten teaching was
also viewed as being rewarding and a privilege despite the low status and lack of
understanding that had been associated with their work.
The professional dimension of kindergarten teachers' work revealed the participants
were required to adopt diverse roles that can be divided into three broad categories;
roles that reflect the purposes of kindergarten education such as introducing children
and their families to formal schooling; roles that are related to specific aspects of
kindergarten teachers' work which included the role of facilitator or social worker;
and general roles such as being keeper of the peace or comforting children.
The participants in this study often worked in relative isolation from other teachers,
senior members of staff and their school's principal. The findings of the study
suggest that the social dimension was influenced by the physical design or location
of the kindergarten classroom, timetable differences between the kindergarten and
the rest of the school and kindergarten teachers' perceptions that their work is
misunderstood by those not involved in kindergarten teaching.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Kelly, Michael
Keywords: Kindergarten teachers
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2004 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (PhD. )--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

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