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Students’ experiences of reflective practices as pedagogy in early childhood higher education


Early childhood education is a demanding profession, and teachers’ stress is inversely associated with the quality of their interactions with young children. In order to provide stress management tools to preservice teachers prior to entry into the field, there has been growing interest in the use of reflective practices as part of higher education pedagogy. There is initial evidence that reflective practices have the potential to positively influence preservice teachers’ well-being and teaching practice. Instructors at two universities incorporated the use of reflective practices, including journaling, in-class discussions, and mindfulness, into their early childhood courses. Students from these courses were invited to participate in focus groups regarding their experiences with the use of reflective practices as part of their course’s pedagogical approach; 21 students participated (n for Course 1 = 13, n for Course 2 = 8). Using constant comparative analysis, two primary themes emerged: 1) participants described important aspects of the process and structure of using reflective practices as part of their course, and 2) participants reported how reflective practices supported their social-emotional understanding and well-being. Implications for using reflective practices, including rich descriptions, examples, and practice suggestions, as part of early childhood higher education pedagogy are discussed. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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