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Use of the Collaborative-Narrative Approach to Facilitate Preschool Teachers’ Professional Development
teachers’ professional development
As a teacher educator, I have long concerned myself with the professional development of preschool teachers to identify an alternative approach to facilitate their improvement. In this study, a collaborative-narrative approach was used to facilitate the professional development of preschool teachers. The process and effectiveness of the said approach were later investigated and reconceptualized. I invited eight preschool teachers from a preschool in Changhua to form a “collaborative-narrative group,” which focused on the narration of life and teaching stories in a course that spanned 18 month long. The group involved reading and narration, group interactions, dialogues and reflections, and discussions of difficulties encountered during teaching. My primary responsibility was to encourage and guide the collaborators’ engagement in narration, dialogues, and discussions. This study adopted narrative inquiry. Data involving the process of the collaborative-narrative group were collected through observations, interviews, and document analysis, followed by a thematic analysis method to examine the collected data. The study results showed that the key factors of the collaborative-narrative approach that facilitated the professional development of preschool teachers included the teachers’ subjective attention, establishment of team cohesion, awareness and establishment of the teachers’ identity, and reflective thinking conducted through a three-way interaction between the collaborators, researchers, course text. The collaborative-narrative group introduced in this study successfully facilitated the preschool teachers’ professional development, which included improving their ability to design preschool curriculum and conduct teaching, organize learning environments and manage class adequately, master interpersonal communication and management skills, and dedicate themselves to their personal growth and professional development. The approach for developing in-service preschool teachers’ professional development education was reconceptualized through the idea of caring for and expanding life. This enabled border-crossing the identities of teachers and learners. Moreover, multiple reflections were conducted to deconstruct experience and convert it to knowledge. This way, dialogue engagement enables learning, and curriculum as experiential and narrative texts. Finally, a diversified method was applied to acquire knowledge through triple narrative, reflections, dialogues, constructions, and actions. According to the conclusions, this study proposed not only the recommendations for teacher education programs for preschool teachers but also the suggestions for further studies.
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