McDevitt, Teresa


Cochran, Kathryn F.

Committee Member

Pugh, Kevin J.

Committee Member

Lahman, Maria K.E.


Educational Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





131 pages

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Born digital


This collective case study was undertaken to discover if early childhood teachers could increase their reflective capacity after participating in professional development centered around reflection on their practice. Three professional development sessions were held with each participant: in the first session, a working definition of reflection was written; in the second session, participants were exposed to using reflection to examine multiple perspectives of a situation; and in the third session, participants used an issue in their practice and created an action plan after looking at multiple solutions and the consequences of each solution. Four early childhood teachers from three types of early childhood settings--home- based, private school-based, and a for-profit center--participated in the study. The participants had differing levels of early childhood education: from a bachelor's degree to half way through an associate's degree. Their early childhood experiences also varied from 1 to 13 years. Through educational autobiographies, interviews, and videotaped lessons, six broad themes and 21 sub-themes emerged from the data. The six broad themes were personal academics, education, early childhood work experience, organization, philosophy of child development and learning, and reflection. Through the themes, it was shown that early childhood teachers with less postsecondary education had a harder time using reflection to improve their practice. Teachers with more postsecondary education were already using reflection and were able to increase their use of reflection to make positive changes in their practice for the children and themselves. Much of the research on instructing teachers about reflection took place with pre- service teachers at schools of education. Many early childhood teachers have not attended college; therefore, they have not had the opportunity to learn about reflection. Being able to provide early childhood teachers with professional development focused on reflection could be a way to help them look at their practice through multiple lenses and ultimately improve their teaching and their students' learning.

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