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Contents – NZ Research in ECE Journal, 2015, Vol 18

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The titles, authors and abstracts for papers published in the NZRECE Journal, Volume 18, 2015, are shown below.  To read any article a member login is needed – join us if you are not already a member.  Many libraries subscribe to the journal so you may be able to view articles through your library’s system.

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Original Research Paper

“It made me argue more confidently and I can stand by my words”: Beginning teachers’ perspectives about mentoring, goal setting, and leadership during teacher registration

Caterina Murphy and Jenny Butcher
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Vol. 18, 2015, pp. 1 – 19. 

Abstract: Mentoring and leadership are complex issues for early childhood education concerning growing as a teacher-leader professional. The period of provisional teacher registration is an important time for ongoing professional learning. This qualitative report focuses on the perspectives of five beginning teachers concerning their mentoring relationships and experiences during their journey of gaining full teacher registration. It reports on phase three of a larger multiyear study interested in teaching practice experiences (2008-2013). The research themes for phase three of the research were the effectiveness of mentoring relationships and goal-setting and teacher awareness of the Registered Teacher Criteria (RTC) (New Zealand Teachers Council, 2010) in everyday practice. One focus group interview was conducted. The results illuminate how beginning teachers use the RTC to support the attainment of registration and develop as teacher-leaders. Key themes of how their mentoring experiences as student teachers still affect their confidence as beginning teacher-leaders, their leadership aspirations and their ongoing journey of goal setting as professionals, were evident.

Key words: Beginning teachers; mentoring; registered teacher criteria; goal setting; leadership; appraisal.  


Original Research Paper

A supported playgroup located on school grounds: Developing family relationships within a school environment to support children’s transition to school

Marianne Knaus and Judy Warren
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Vol. 18, 2015, pp. 20 – 36.

Abstract: Children in the early years of life face many changes and transitions and the provision of a supported playgroup on a school site enables the continuity of early childhood programmes and offers a pathway for a smooth transition to the school environment. Research has shown that when children from disadvantaged families participate in playgroups, better social and emotional outcomes are realised. The findings of this research offer insights into the importance of the formation of relationships between parents, children and the school community when transitioning children to school.

Key words: Playgroup; transition to school; disadvantaged children.


Original Research Paper

Three-year-old children’s visual art experiences

Julie Plows
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Vol. 18, 2015, pp. 37 – 51.

Abstract: This art-based study investigated the verbal and non-verbal communication of five children, three boys and two girls. Previous New Zealand research about visual art learning in the early childhood education field focused mainly on the practices of teachers. In this study, participant observations and audio-recordings were complemented by visual data collected through video recordings and photographs for the purpose of understanding how young children speak, use gesture and action, relate to other people and interact with resources while making art. The children’s existing knowledge and cognitive processes were evident through the multiple ways they expressed themselves. Children’s communication processes during these visual art events were complex and dynamic. The main threads revealed in the data analysis were: children making art alongside peers and adults, interactions with art tools, links between the home and the early childhood setting and the way that children set their own goals. The findings suggest that teachers’ evaluations of three-year-olds’ visual art experiences are likely to be accurate when children’s actions and narratives are considered.

Key words: Visual art; arts; communication; intrapersonal; interpersonal; listening; visual art-based research; video; making meaning.


Original Research Paper

“It is a risk, but it is a risk worth taking”: Early childhood teachers’ reflections on review of practice using an approach of practical philosophy

Anne Grey
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Vol. 18, 2015, pp. 52 – 66.

Abstract: This article discusses an approach to self-review where an early childhood teaching team reviewed the values that underpin teaching practice, rather than the behaviour demonstrated in teaching practice. This approach takes the form of practical philosophy or inquiry with others in order to critically examine teaching practice (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 2007). A small qualitative study was undertaken by one teaching team to reflect on their personal philosophy of teaching, and to negotiate, as a team, the values they wanted to underpin their teaching.  The teachers valued participating in reflection and personal dialogue, but experienced some challenges. It was found that this approach can be a valuable method of self-review to heighten teachers’ individual self-awareness, to promote professional dialogue and greater understanding amongst the teaching team and to provoke teachers to reflect more critically on their teaching.

Key words: Self-review; practical philosophy; teaching inquiry.


Original Position Paper

Advocating for a comprehensive approach to assessment in New Zealand early childhood education

Qilong Zhang
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Vol. 18, 2015, pp. 67 – 79.

Abstract: The Learning Story approach to assessing and reporting children’s learning is the dominant approach to assessment in New Zealand early childhood education largely due to endorsement by the Ministry Education and advocacy by academics and educational authorities. This article argues that regardless of the appeal of Learning Stories this approach should not be promoted as the only or best assessment practice. Educators, parents and children should be provided with choices, and a more multi-method or comprehensive approach taken to assessment. Two key rationales for a comprehensive approach presented in this paper are: (1) assessment has multiple purposes that require multiple tools rather than a one-size-fits-all approach; and (2) the effectiveness of assessment tools is contextually determined.

Key words: Assessment; Learning Stories; comprehensive approach.


Critical Review Paper

Early childhood education: Fracture lines of social context and neural development

John A. Clark
NZ Research in ECE Journal, Vol. 18, 2015, pp. 80 – 87.

Abstract: The debate between academics in the Listener about early childhood education raises issues which warrant further critical examination. One issue concerns the weight to be given to families over schools when it comes to children’s learning. Too often the matter is considered in terms of within school and beyond school dualism of factors but there are significant problems with this way of seeing things. A better way is to adopt a proximal/distal continuum whereby all factors are taken into account, regardless of their importance. A second issue centres on what is required to maximise the learning of young children. Given the centrality of their neural development and the links to family circumstances, it is essential that teachers and parents have a sound grasp of the underlying neural structure of learning to underpin successful learning by all children.

Key words: Curriculum; Te Whariki: learning; home-school factors; brain development. 

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