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8 The Early Childhood Workforce and Its Professional Development It is often said that the quality of any institution is based on the quality of its personnel. This is especially true of the array of institu- tions and programs that serve young children. The adultsâearly childhood t Â eachersâwho directly support the academic/intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of preschoolers in the United States are pivotal to childrenâs short-term development and their long-term outcomes. Early childhood teachers are an essential ingredient in achieving the intentions of this report, notably improved attention to and outcomes in early childhood mathematics. For these reasons, we address the early childhood workforce and their professional development. Terminology regarding the early childhood workforce is often used inconsistently (Kagan, Kauerz, and Tarrant, 2008). In this discussion, the following terms are used: â¢ Early childhood education (ECE) teachers or the ECE teaching work- force includes all personnel whose primary role is to provide direct instructional services for young children. Included in this category are lead teachers, assistant teachers, aides, and family child care (FCC) providers. â¢ ECE workforce includes those who carry out both instructional and noninstructional roles in early childhood education settings. Thus, the term workforce is an inclusive one that embraces teachers, others who work in early childhood education settings and whose primary responsibility is not instructional (e.g., administrators), and indi- 289
290 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD viduals who work in settings that support early childhood education (e.g., resource and referral coordinators). In this chapter, we begin by discussing the nature of the current early childhood workforce. We first present information on this workforce in general, discussing characteristics about the teachers themselves, includ- ing age, gender, ethnicity, educational experience, and background and key variables that influence their work, including compensation, turnover, work settings, and beliefs. We then turn to a more specific discussion of the early childhood workforce from a mathematical perspective. In the sec- ond section, we discuss the nature of the professional development of the workforce, first addressing the professional development of early childhood teachers in general and then turning to mathematics-specific professional development. BACKGROUND ON THE WORKFORCE Demographic Characteristics Over 50 percent of U.S. families with children under the age of 5 rely on nonparental care (Chernoff et al., 2007), and thus the ECE workforce is responsible for the care and education of large numbers of the nationâs young children. The early childhood workforce is fairly large, compris- ing 2.3 million individuals (Burton et al., 2002) and dispersed: About 24 percent work in centers, 28 percent in family child care, and 48 percent in informal family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) settings (Burton et al., 2002). It is important to note that although most early childhood care providers work in FFN settings the majority of children attend center-based programs in which the child-to-teacher ratio is higher (Burton et al., 2002). The focus of this section is on teachers in center-based and FCC settings. According to national averages, the ECE teaching workforce is mainly comprised of white women in their late 30s and 40s (Saluja, Early, and Clifford, 2002); however, race/ethnicity varies across state and program type (see Table 8-1 for a breakdown of early childhood educators by race/ ethnicity). For example, the Head Start and home-based early child care teaching workforce is more ethnically balanced than the prekindergarten workforce (Early et al., 2005; Hart and Schumacher, 2005). In addition, in certain parts of the country, for example, Alameda County, California, the early childhood education and care workforce is more ethnically diverse. Three-quarters of the family child care centers there are staffed by women of color (Whitebook and Bellm, 2004). Also, in the population as a whole, there are increasingly more children who speak English as a second lan- guage (as cited in Hart and Schumacher, 2005), and thus there is a need for
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 291 TABLE 8-1â Early Childhood Educators by Race/Ethnicity (percentage) Race/Ethnicity Program Type White Black Latino Asian Other Prekindergarten 64 13 15 2 8 Head Start 36 28 24 2 â Family child care 20 27 26 23 â NOTE: Family child care from Layzer and Goodson (2006); Head Start from Hart and Schumacher (2005); prekindergarten by Early et al. (2005). Prekindergarten refers to school or center-based programs that serve 4-year-olds, have an explicit purpose of improving school readiness, and are funded fully or partially by the state. SOURCE: Kagan et al. (2008). a more linguistically and ethnically/racially diverse ECE workforce (Howes, James, and Ritchie, 2003). Educational Experience and Background ECE teachers are a diverse group of individuals, with some having for- mal education and holding degrees from institutions of higher education or community colleges and others receiving credentials of competence offered by the profession. Some have only very limited training that is delivered on the job. Not surprisingly, the amount of formal education and credentials varies by program type; prekindergarten programs generally have the high- est percentage of teachers with degrees, while home-based or FCC providers have the lowest levels of formal education (Kagan et al., 2008). Table 8-2 shows the breakdown of percentages by program type. The specific nature of these variations and their relationship to teaching quality and effective- ness are elaborated in the section on the professional development of the workforce. Compensation Compensation, defined as a combination of annual salary or hourly wages and benefits (e.g., health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, retire- ment plan), is quite low for some segments of the early childhood work- force. In the United States, the average annual salary for preschool teachers, one group of early childhood educators, is $25,800; for child care workers including FCC providers, it is $19,670 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007); and for Head Start teachers, it is $24,608 (Hamm, 2006). Distinctions exist in the salaries of individuals according to the settings in which they work. A national survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
292 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD TABLE 8-2â Level of Formal Education and Training of Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce (percentage) Level of Education and/or Training High Associateâs Child School Degree/Some B.A. or Development State License or Program Type or Less College More Associate Endorsement Prekindergarten 13 14 73 23 57 Head Start 31 33 36 22 N/A Center-based 30 41 30 18 44 Home-based (FCC) 56 32 11 3 7 NOTE: Prekindergarten data from Gilliam and Marchesseault (2005); Head Start data from Hamm (2006); center-based data (includes teachers and directors) and home-based data on formal education are from Herzenberg, Price, and Bradley (2005), center-based and family child care data on credentials from Saluja, Early, and Clifford (2002). SOURCE: Kagan et al. (2008). characterizes the field in terms of two categories: child care workers and preschool teachers. Child care workers are adults who primarily perform such duties as feeding, dressing, and overseeing the play of children, and preschool teachers provide a more educational experience for the children in their care. Using these definitions, child care workers were near the bot- tom of the compensation ladder, earning more than only 22 of the 820 occupations that were assessed by BLS in 2004âtheir earned incomes were within 5 percent of short-order cooks and parking lot attendants and considerably less than preschool teachers (Center for the Child Care Workforce, 2006). While there is little dispute regarding the wide salary differences that exist among early childhood teachers, most observers suggest that compen- sation differs according to the particular type of program and its attendant required credentials. For example, preschool teachers who work in settings in which teacher certification is required command higher salaries and compensation packages than teachers who work in settings in which lower levels or no certification is required. Setting and its attendant requirements are not the only variable that influences compensation; it also varies by geo- graphic region, with early childhood educators in southern states receiving the lowest levels of compensation (Center for the Child Care Workforce, 2006). In addition to low wages, many ECE teachers do not receive health insurance benefits from their employers. Specifically, 28 percent of center- based early childhood educators received health insurance benefits from their employer between 2002 and 2004, and 21 percent of ECE teachers reported that they had no health insurance during this time (Herzenberg,
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 293 Price, and Bradley, 2005). Lack of health insurance is a significant issue; it may influence early childhood educatorsâ interactions at work, their overall financial status, and thus their ability to remain in the field over time, fuel- ing heavy personnel turnover rates. Stability and Turnover The turnover of early childhood teachers is quite high in some settings. A longitudinal study in California by Whitebook and colleagues (2001) found that 76 percent of the teachers employed by centers in 1996 and 82 percent of teachers employed by centers in 1994 had left these jobs by 2000 (Whitebook et al., 2001). Such high turnover rates have often been associ- ated with low compensation (Whitebook and Sakai, 2003). For example, Whitebook and colleagues (2001) found that early childhood educators re- ceiving higher than average wages were more likely to remain in their jobs, and those who left the field were more likely to go to higher paying jobs. Wage levels are often directly associated with the program type or sector in which the individual is employed. One national study showed that, on average, center-based teachers were in their current programs for 6.8 years, teachers in programs in pub- lic schools and religious settings were working in their programs for 7.8 years, and teachers in for-profit centers were in their programs for 5.6 years (Saluja, Early, and Clifford, 2002). Confirming these data, a five-state study found that publicly operated prekindergarten programs were found to have lower turnover rates than privately operated programs (Bellm et al., 2002). On average, publicly operated prekindergarten programs offered higher wages than privately operated programs (Gilliam and Marchesseault, 2005), which may be an explanation for the difference in turnover. Moreover, when ECE teachers are compared with K-12 teachers, the salaries for K-12 teachers are significantly higher (Kagan et al., 2008) and turnover is lower (Provasnik and Dorfman, 2005). Teacher turnover is relevant for all students, and it is particularly important for young children because of the impact on their development and learning. High levels of unpredictable turnover have been linked to poorer developmental outcomes for children, as well as to lower quality service (Helburn, 1995; Howes and Hamilton, 1993; Howes, Phillips, and W Â hitebook, 1992; Phillips et al., 2001; Whitebook, Sakai, and Howes, 1997, as cited in Kagan et al., 2008). â Although health insurance data were not collected for the remaining 51 percent of early childhood teachers, some probably received health insurance through a spouse when a spouse was present and had health coverage, purchased it privately, or purchased it through Medicaid (Mark Price, personal communication, January 12, 2009).
294 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD For example, one study, The Cost, Quality and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers (Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes Study Team, 1995), found that higher quality programs, in which children demonstrated more advanced language and premathematical skills, were associated with lower turnover rates. Furthermore, the children showed better nonacademic out- comes than did children in high turnover programs. The children had more positive self-concepts, better relations with their teachers, and demonstrated more advanced social behavior and more positive attitudes toward child care situations. The effects of program quality are obvious for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds, but children from low-income backgrounds are especially influenced by the quality (or lack thereof) of their child care (Helburn, 1995). Finally, turnover is important in early childhood settings because many ECE teachers who leave the field are replaced by individuals with less training and experience; thus, turnover has long-term effects on teacher and program quality. While high turnover is often associated with instability and poorer outcomes for children, it is important to note that turnover is not always a negative factor (Kagan et al., 2008; Whitebook and Sakai, 2003). It may be beneficial when individuals who enter the early childhood educa- tion field and find that it is a poor fit for their skills or occupational goals leave (Whitebook and Sakai, 2003). Also, many studies do not distinguish between job turnover, which is defined as the rate at which teachers leave programs to take new positions in the early childhood education field, and occupational turnover, which is defined as the rate at which teachers leave programs to retire or enter a new field of work (Kagan et al., 2008). Clearly, more data are needed on turnover in the early childhood field. The Work Environment In any industry, the environment in which one works is likely to influ- ence oneâs on-the-job attitude and performance. Work environment is de- fined as the physical setting, the reward system, clarity about expectations and roles, agency in decision making, supervisor support, and communi- cation (Hatch, 2006; Stremmel, Benson, and Powell, 1993; Whitebook, Howes, and Â Phillips, 1990). While the measures of work environment vary for different studies, the research shows that the work environment of early childhood educators plays a role in teachersâ quality and effec- tiveness (ÂKagan et al., 2008). For example, the Child Care Services AssoÂ ciation (2003) found that 22 percent of preschool teachers throughout North Carolina planned to leave the field within three years, yet only half as many teachers who worked in supportive environments reported hav- ing the same plans. The supports that were presumably related to more positive work environments include: (1) orientation, (2) written job de- scriptions, (3) written personnel policies, (4) paid education and training
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 295 expenses, (5) paid breaks, (6) compensatory time for training, and (7) paid preparation/planning time (Child Care Services Association, 2003). Not surprisingly, teachers were more likely to stay in their positions when they understood the responsibilities of their position and the expectations that their supervisors and colleagues had of them, and there were improvements in compensation. Interestingly, improvements in the work environment have also been related to better psychological functioning, as defined by less emotional exhaustion (Stremmel, Benson, and Powell, 1993). Teachers are required to interact closely with children (Kagan et al., 2008); however, those who show lower levels of emotional well-being are less likely to spend time en- gaged with children (Hamre and Pianta, 2004). Children who have teachers who are less engaged may have fewer opportunities to learn from teacher- guided situations. The supervision and leadership that are provided to ECE teachers also make a difference in the quality of the work environment and subsequently in teachersâ quality and effectiveness (Kagan et al., 2008). Supervisors must have the management skills and leadership abilities necessary to support early childhood educators. Moreover, they must support teaching staff, but they also need support to continue to develop positive management styles and leadership abilities for themselves. Research by Jorde-Bloom and Sheerer (1992) suggests that professional development programs for supervisory staff improve the overall workplace climate and classroom quality. Fostering these skills in the supervisory staff has the potential to positively impact childrenâs learning through classroom quality and work- place climate. Teachersâ Beliefs About Early Childhood Education Like the variables discussed above, early childhood educatorsâ beliefs and values are important to understand. Teachersâ beliefs and values about teaching and learning not only shape classroom practices (Fang, 1996; Kagan, 1992; Stipek et al., 2001), but also serve as a filter through which meaning is derived. As such, values and beliefs have a powerful influence on educational change and innovation. Attempting changes in pedagogy without considering teachersâ pedagogical beliefs and values about educa- tion may lead to resistance in implementation of a new practice if teachers do not agree with the underlying educational value (Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b; Ryan, 2004). Thus, any effort to change educatorsâ classroom prac- tices must include consideration of how those teachers view their roles, the children they teach, and the purpose of the setting in which their interac- tions take place. Historically, the field of early childhood education has placed great emphasis on supporting childrenâs social and emotional development, with
296 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD somewhat less of an emphasis on academic learning as an outcome of ex- periences in ECE settings (Kowalski, Pretti-Frontczak, and Johnson, 2001). Academic subjects were believed to be less important at this age because young children should investigate and explore their interests so that they d Â evelop a love of learning (Lee, 2006). However, in the past decade, there has been a groundswell of focus on academic learning as a legitimate, desir- able, and appropriate outcome of preschool enrollment (particularly in pub- licly funded programs, such as Head Start or state-funded preÂkindergarten). This movement, challenging teachersâ conventional beliefs, has created pressure on early childhood education systems and personnel to address academic achievement more focally and intentionally. Preschool programs that provide children with social, emotional, physi- cal, and academic learning opportunities are ideal learning environments. Educating the âwhole child,â including social and emotional development, and providing preschool children with opportunities to engage in develop- mentally appropriate mathematics is essential to childrenâs immediate and later school success (Duncan et al., 2007; National Association for the Edu- cation of Young Children and National Council of Teachers of Mathemat- ics, 2002; National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008). It is important to note, in this regard, that the third edition of the National Association for the Education of Young Childrenâs (NAEYC) (2009) guidelines for devel- opmentally appropriate practice emphasize that pre-academic and cogni- tive skills, including those in mathematics, are essential to developmentally appropriate instruction. Teachersâ educational goals and pedagogical beliefs are also influenced by the backgrounds and characteristics of the children themselves. For example, socioeconomic status (SES) has been found to be related to ECE teachersâ instructional practices (Lee and Ginsburg, 2007a, 2007b; Stipek and Byler, 1997). Children from low-SES backgrounds are often behind their more affluent peers in mathematics achievement as early as kinder- garten (Clements, Sarama, and Gerber, 2005; Denton and West, 2002; Griffin and Case, 1997; Jordan, Huttenlocher, and Levine, 1994; Lee and Burkam, 2002; National Research Council, 2001b; Saxe, Guberman, and Gearhart, 1987; Starkey and Klein, 1992, 2008; Stipek and Ryan, 1997), and awareness of this disparity may influence teachersâ educational goals, beliefs, and instructional practices with children from economically disad- vantaged backgrounds. Children coming from low-SES homes, although increasingly enrolled in and benefiting from early childhood education, also require more intensive and appropriate educational interventions in â Developmentally appropriate mathematics includes a child-centered and positive nonÂ evaluative mathematics environment, developmentally appropriate mathematics activities and manipulatives, and authentic mathematics assessment (as cited in Lee, 2005).
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 297 order to perform at levels consistent with their more advantaged and skilled peers (Hamre and Pianta, 2005). In short, less advantaged children need programs that actually accelerate learning if they are to enter school not behind at the start. However, preschool and kindergarten teachers of low-SES children rate memorizing facts and rote tasks (procedural knowl- edge) as more important educational goals than problem solving and tasks involving reasoning (conceptual knowledge), and they tend to agree with a more basic skills teaching orientation than teachers of middle-SES children (Stipek and Byler, 1997). THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE AND MATHEMATICS The teaching of mathematics has been considered a part of the early childhood educatorsâ portfolio, along with many other developmental and disciplinary domains (e.g., social and emotional development, physical de- velopment, literacy, social studies) that they must address. To understand how the early childhood workforce currently views and addresses math- ematics, we examine early childhood teachersâ beliefs about mathematics, their mathematics knowledge, and how these beliefs and knowledge actu- ally impact what they do in the classroom. Teachersâ Values and Beliefs About Mathematics Education in Early Childhood Generally, early childhood teachers believe that social-emotional and physical development are more important to young childrenâs development and learning than academic activities, including mathematics (Ginsburg et al., 2006a; Lin, Lawrence, and Gorrell, 2003; Piotrkowski, Botsko, and Matthews, 2001). In a recent review of the research, Ginsburg and colleagues (2008) found that preschool teachers report social-emotional development, literacy, and then mathematicsâin that orderâas important educational goals for young children to achieve. A second set of beliefs focuses on the nature of mathematics instruction. Early childhood educators generally believe that mathematics education should focus on numeracy and arithmetic through some direct instruction (Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b). They also tend to believe that young children should engage in games and other activities in which mathematics learn- ing is fun and involves interesting toys or materials in small groups and that mathematics learning should not be highly demanding, nor should it be pushed on young children before they are âreadyâ (Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b). Finally, a third set of beliefs regarding instructional practice is driven by childrenâs characteristics, particularly SES. Research examining ECE teach-
298 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD ersâ beliefs about instructional practices as a function of SES is a nascent area; however, recent studies shed light on how this characteristic shapes beliefs about teaching practices. For example, one study showed that early childhood teachers of children from low-SES backgrounds believed that mathematics instruction was an excellent way of preparing children for kin- dergarten and that children should engage in mathematics activities, even if they initially showed little or no interest (Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b). Con- versely, teachers of middle-SES prekindergarten children were more likely to state that, instead of having an academic focus, prekindergarten education should be child-centered and child-initiated and encourage childrenâs social- emotional development (Lee, 2006; Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b). In large part, this belief was in response to the notion that middle-SES parents put significant academic pressure on their children at home (Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b). It should be noted that, while SES-related differences were found in both early childhood educatorsâ beliefs about instructional practices and their educational goals, the field of early childhood education tends to stress social-emotional development rather than academic subjects. There are multiple reasons that early childhood teachers may not be inclined to focus on mathematics. One explanation is related to ECE poli- cies that put a premium on early literacy at the expense of other subject areas (which is discussed later in this chapter). Another reason stems from the education and training many ECE teachers receive, which has histori- cally placed more emphasis on social-emotional development. Specifically, some researchers suggest that this focus on social-emotional development is rooted in misconceptions or limited knowledge of the young childrenâs developmental capacities. For example, early childhood educatorsâ beliefs that young children are too cognitively immature for mathematics learning may be based on Piagetian theory, which states that young children in the preoperational stage (ages 2 to 6) are not likely to use or understand ab- stract ideas to make sense of their experiences (Ginsburg, Pappas, and Seo, 2001; Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b). However, Gelman and Gallistel (1986) found that young children do think abstractly in regard to counting objects (e.g., the abstraction principle: any discrete object can be counted, from stones to unicorns). Heuvel-Panhuizen (1990) found that early childhood educators significantly underestimated 6-year-oldsâ mathematical capabil- ity. Specifically, teachers, counselors, and teacher trainers held significantly lower expectations for childrenâs knowledge of symbols, the counting se- quence, and adding and subtracting than what child outcomes showed (Heuvel-Panhuizen, 1990). Others suggest that such beliefs may rest on mistaken assumptions that young children are neither interested in, nor capable of, learning mathemat- ics. In fact, young children from birth to age 5 have informal mathematics knowledge (Clements and Sarama, 2007b; Ginsburg et al., 2006b) and,
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 299 given developmentally appropriate experiences, enjoy mathematics learn- ing (Gelman, 1980; Irwin and Burgham, 1992). This informal knowledge includes the ideas of more and less, shape, space, pattern, as well as number and operations, and several other important areas (Gelman, 2000). Moreover, some researchers suggest that teachersâ fundamental knowl- edge about mathematics and mathematics instruction may be limited. For example, most teachers in the United States believe that mathematics is a static body of knowledge that mainly involves manipulating rules and procedures. From this point of view, the main objective in mathematics is to learn about discrete knowledge and arrive at the correct answer (Ball, 1991). Little thought is given to mathematics as a problem-solving process; rather, the outcome (i.e., getting the correct answer) is seen as the most important part of learning mathematics (Thompson, 1992). This belief is reflected clearly in early education instruction that is rote and feedback processes that focus solely on right and wrong answers (Pianta et al., 2005). Traditionally, early childhood educators have been taught that mathematics is a subject that requires the use of instructional practices that are devel- opmentally inappropriate for young children (Balfanz, 1999). In short, it is often the case that preschool teachers believe the content of meaningful mathematics is too difficult for themselves as well as for their students. The Impact of Teachersâ Beliefs and Knowledge on Instruction Given these beliefs and knowledge, we examine how early childhood teachers beliefs and understandings about mathematics impact mathematics instruction. Early childhood educatorsâ beliefs are clearly associated with their teaching practices (Charlesworth et al., 1991, 1993; Pianta et al., 2005; Stipek and Byler, 1997; Stipek et al., 2001). Pianta and colleagues (2005), for example, in their multistate study, found that, even after adjusting for teachersâ experience or degree status and program factors, such as teacher- student ratio or full-day/part-day classes, prekindergarten teachersâ beliefs about children were the factor most related to global classroom quality as measured by the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS, which reported on two dimensions, instructional climate and emotional climate). What instructional practices are teachers engaged in? Not only is em- phasis on social and emotional development in early childhood settings a belief, but also it is borne out in reality. Pianta and La Paro (2003), char- acterizing findings from standardized observations in more than a thousand early education settings, note that many early childhood classrooms are socially positive yet instructionally passive. Generally speaking and not surprisingly, preschool teachers spend less instructional time on mathemat- ics than they do on literacy (Clements and Sarama, 2007b; Early et al.,
300 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD 2005; Layzer, Goodson, and Moss, 1993), a finding not much different from what is observed in the early elementary grades (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Network Early Child Care Re- search Network, 2002, 2005; and see Chapter 7 of this report for further discussion of instruction). Early childhood educatorsâ pedagogical beliefs direct and constrain their instructional practices, which subsequently shape childrenâs academic and social environments. When addressed, early childhood mathematics is usually constrained to basic ideas in number and operations, such as 1-to-1 correspondence, simple addition and subtraction, and number symbols or numerals (Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b). Geometry and measurement are noted less frequently (Clements, 2004). In addition to rote memorization and basic skills, such as memorizing the first 10 or so counting words, young children are capable of understanding more sophisticated mathemat- ical concepts, such as cardinality. The content of young childrenâs math- ematics can be both deep and broad, and, when provided with engaging and developmentally appropriate mathematics activities, their mathematics knowledge flourishes. Yet these research findings are largely not represented in practice. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE WORKFORCE The professional development of early childhood teachers is nuanced and complicated. We begin our discussion with an overview of professional development, looking at the nature of quality professional development and the context for the delivery of professional development, both in-service and pre-service. We address the impact of professional development on teachersâ performance generally. We then turn to a discussion of the profes- sional development for teaching mathematics to young children, addressing the need for mathematics preparation; mathematics content and teacher preparation; efforts at in-service mathematics support, including the out- comes of such support; and efforts at pre-service preparation for teachers in mathematics. To aid the discussion, we define key terms as follows: â¢ Professional development: an umbrella term that refers to both for- mal education and training. â¢ Formal education: refers to the amount of credit-bearing coursework a teacher has completed at an accredited institution, including two- or four-year colleges and universities. â¢ Training: refers to educational activities that take place outside the formal education process. Such efforts may include coaching, men- toring, and workshops.
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 301 â¢ Pre-service education: refers to the formal education and training that one receives prior to having formal responsibility for a group of children. â¢ In-service education: refers to the formal education and training that one may receive while having formal responsibility for a group of children. â¢ Credentialing: refers to the process of demonstrating and receiving formal recognition from an organization for achieving a predefined level of expertise in education. The Nature and Quality of Successful Professional Development Efforts An examination of the literature from the fields of elementary edu- cation, early childhood education, and early childhood mathematics ed- ucation reveals some common principles that characterize high-quality professional development experiences. Research indicates that professional development efforts are most successful when they are focused on produc- ing long-lasting change, longer in duration, focused on content knowledge rather than teaching strategies alone, involve active learning, and are part of a coherent set of professional development experiences (Birman et al., 2000). According to Clements (2004, p. 65), six themes related to profes- sional development emerge from reviews of the research: 1. Professional development should be standards-based, ongoing, and embedded in the job (i.e., practical, concrete, immediate, gradually connecting research and theory). 2. Teachers must have time to learn and work with colleagues, espe- cially a consistent group. 3. Teachers should be provided with stable, high-quality sources of professional development that includes observation, experimenta- tion, and mentoring, with plenty of time for reflection. 4. Professional development experiences should be grounded in a sound theoretical and philosophical base and structured as a coherent and systematic program. 5. Professional development experiences should respond to each indi- vidualâs background, experiences, and current context or role. 6. Professional development experiences should address mathematics knowledge as well as mathematics education. It should be grounded in particular curriculum materials that focus on childrenâs math- ematical thinking and learning, including learning trajectories. These principles pertain to professional development of all types, in- cluding pre-service education and in-service professional development, be-
302 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD cause they reflect sound practices in adult learning, as well as data on the practices that ultimately lead to improved outcomes in the classroom. While their application may be tailored to a particular cohort or setting, these principles should guide development of personnel preparation programs in early childhood mathematics. The following section describes the overall context of professional development as it pertains to the early childhood workforce. The Context for the Delivery of Professional Development The professional development of early childhood and elementary school teachers happens both prior to teachersâ assuming classroom responsibilities through pre-service training and while they are teaching through in-service training. Unlike the professional development of most elementary school teachers, which occurs formally prior to their becoming teachers, many early childhood educators receive the majority of their professional devel- opment while they are already working. Moreover, for most elementary school teachers, there is a common entry floor into the profession, typically consisting of the achievement of a B.A. or B.S. degree and the successful completion of the Praxis exams. No such common entry floor for early educators exists. In fact, the range of entry-level requirements for early educators varies from the holding of a health clearance certificate and being 18 years of age to meeting requirements equivalent to those for elementary school teachers. Although efforts are under way to elevate the quality and consistency of entry-level requirements and professional development opportunities for early educators, abundant variations of requirements and professional development delivery mechanisms exist. Moreover, there is considerable variation in what is required of, and offered to, early educators as profes- sional development, depending on the program sponsor and funding stream or the state or locality in which the early educator practices her work. Complicating this picture, new public policies, some at the federal level but mostly at the state level, mean that early educator teacher and professional development requirements are in constant flux. In this section we elaborate on the unique sociopolitical context in which professional development for early educators exists. On one hand, the news is quite promising. There is a broad consensus emerging that the professional development of the early childhood work- force is a priority (Kagan et al., 2008). Increasingly, policy makers and the public are recognizing the importance of early experiences on childrenâs brain development, success in school, and general well-being (Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2007; Martinez-Beck and Zaslow, 2006; National Research Council, 2000, 2001a). In addition, in- creasing attention has been given to closing the achievement gap between
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 303 children from diverse economic and racial/ethnic backgrounds that has been documented prior to the start of school (Clements, Sarama, and Gerber, 2005; Starkey and Klein, 2008). Mounting evidence of the central role that teachers play in supporting childrenâs development and learning through relationships and teaching interactions in general has added to a sense of urgency to improve the quality of professional development (National Re- search Council, 2001b). To that end, a number of federal efforts have supported professional development. The Head Start Program, continuing its historical commit- ment to professional development, has expanded these efforts by calling for higher professional requirements for its teachers. Good Start, Grow Smart, a presidential initiative launched during the Bush administration, specifi- cally charges all states with developing plans to offer education and training to preschool and child care personnel to receive Child Care Development Fund dollars. In addition, Title II of the No Child Left Behind Act provides competitive grants for the creation of training and educational opportuni- ties for early educators through the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program. At the state level, qualifications for teachers are being increased, as are support and incentives for teachers to seek additional professional de- velopment (Tout, Zaslow, and Berry, 2006). The creation of professional development systems and quality rating systems are now abundant nation- ally and are driving reform in pre-service and in-service education for early educators (Kagan et al., 2008). These changes and initiatives are occurring in a broader climate of increased accountability and standards in education (Kagan et al., 2008), further underscoring the need to provide the early childhood workforce with the knowledge and skills they will need to meet standards for early mathematics learning. Access.â Not only have mandates for degrees expanded, but access to higher education has also expanded in many states. Scholarship programs, such as the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Educa- tion Grant Program, online degree programs at both the associate and baccalaureate levels, better opportunities for working professionals to link or articulate their community-based training, Child Development Associate (CDA) programs, and other degree programs are all having an influence on the ability of early childhood educators to enter the higher education system and to convert their prior professional development into academic credit. The landscape of early childhood teacher education programs in genÂ eral.â An overview of the general landscape of early childhood teacher education provides a context for considering how ECE teachers are, and might be, prepared for their responsibilities in the domain of mathematics. According to estimates based on data collected in 2004, approximately
304 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD 1,350 institutions of higher education offer some kind of degree program in early childhood education (Maxwell, Lim, and Early, 2006). Of these, roughly 44 percent offer a bachelorâs and/or graduate degree and 56 percent offer an associateâs degree, with some institutions offering both. Graduation rates in these programs produce at least 40,000 early childhood teachers per year. Associate degree programs.â There are more than 750 early childhood associate degree programs in the United States (Maxwell, Lim, and Early, 2006). Most are located in community colleges, although some are under the umbrella of a university. In the early childhood degree program (some- times called child development), a major influence on course offerings is whether the focus is on transfer to local baccalaureate programs in early childhood or elementary education (transfer programs) or whether students are primarily being prepared for work in child care, Head Start, and other settings immediately upon graduation (terminal programs). Although na- tional organizations discourage classifying associate programs as transfer or terminal, in reality many still fall into these categories. Programs primarily aimed at transfer often have very few courses in early childhood curriculum and methods, aiming mainly at giving students a general education founda- tion with transfer potential. Programs with greater emphasis on immediate career opportunities include many more child development/ECE courses and field experiences. Bachelorâs degree programs.â Like associate degree programs, bachelorâs degree programs that prepare future early childhood educators are diverse. Some of this diversity derives from state teacher certification categories, which for most programs serve to define the scope of their efforts. For example, some states define early childhood for licensure as birth to age 8; others birth to age 5; others ages 3 to 8; others preschool to Grade 2, and so on. Programsâ identities and the organizational features of the different higher education institutions in which these programs are situated also play a role in creating program diversity. For example, baccalaureate-level early childhood departments or programs may be part of a school or college of education, or the program may be in a different college entirelyâfor example, a college of human development or a child and family studies department. These institutional arrangements, along with state require- ments, may influence what is expected of students in all areas, including mathematics. On the other hand, despite these promising developments, the overall early childhood educator professional development context is hampered by intransigent workforce challenges. First, given the salary and compensation
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 305 limitations of the field, those who have achieved professional degrees and teacher certification are often not attracted to early education. In an effort to remedy this situation, some new programs are compensating qualified early education teachers at rates comparable to elementary school teachers. Second, the rampant turnover rate in the field cannot be denied, and depart- ing early educators are being replaced with individuals who are less quali- fied, making the need for professional development even more important. Third, there are serious questions regarding the quality of the professional development content itself. There are barely a handful of certifications for individuals who provide early childhood mentoring, coaching, or profes- sional development. The few states that do have such credentials have remarkably low bars for those who deliver in-service professional develop- ment. Compounding these contextual challenges, there are few consistent delivery mechanisms, except institutions of higher education, that deliver high-quality early educator professional development. Finally, for those wishing to avail themselves of professional development experiences, either out of desire or mandate, there are serious issues of quality of educational opportunity and inequity in access to training. As this review suggests, the context for the professional development of early educators is complex. The Impact of General Professional Development on Teacher Quality and Effectiveness What is the role of a teacherâs education in her teaching? Several studies have found that the level and nature of early educatorsâ formal education is related to the overall quality of their teaching (e.g., Barnett, 2003; Tout, Zaslow, and Berry, 2006; Whitebook, 2003). Teachers with higher levels of formal education have also been linked to higher quality programs and more positive teacher-child interactions (Howes, 1997; Tout, Zaslou, and Berry, 2006). However, more recent, multistate studies have found that the evidence on formal education and its link to teacher effectiveness is questionable (Early et al., 2006, 2007), with teacher knowledge, attitudes, and specific teaching practices more predictive of child outcomes. While Early and colleagues (2007) did not find a significant relationship between teachersâ level of education and young childrenâs academic outcomes, they suggest that their findings should not dissuade early childhood educators from pursuing postsecondary education. Early and colleagues (2007) did not examine the course content or rigor of early childhood education pro- grams, which may be related to teachersâ knowledge, skills, and behaviors. Thus, available data do not provide a comprehensive investigation of the host of variables that are likely to be related to teacher quality or effective- ness (Early et al., 2007; Kagan et al., 2008).
306 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD Questions about degrees and child outcomes.â Much attention has been focused on several recent studies that have renewed the controversy over the value of degrees as guarantees of quality in early childhood teaching or of positive child outcomes (Early et al., 2006, 2007). Although the results need to be interpreted in light of the limited measures available and other constraints (as discussed earlier in this chapter), these studies call into ques- tion the assumption that having a degreeâespecially an early childhood degreeâmust produce better developmental and learning outcomes for children. An important next step is to look carefully at the quality of early childhood degree programs (Hyson, Tomlinson, and Morris, 2008). Another challenge in discerning the relationship between formal educa- tion and teacher outcomes is definitional in nature. Kagan et al. (2008) note that, often in the literature, the term âteacher qualityâ refers to the positive actions and behaviors of teachers, particularly with regard to their interac- tions with young children. To distinguish this definition from studies that focus on actual child outcomes, Kagan et al. (2008) use the term âteacher effectivenessâ to refer to the impact of teachersâ actions and behaviors on the accomplishments of the children they teach (Kagan et al., 2008). Given these distinctions, there is some evidence of a relationship between teacher effectiveness and formal education for FCC providers. Clarke-Stewart and colleagues (2002) found children in the care of providers who had not at- tended college scored lower on cognitive tests than children in the care of providers who had attended college. One explanation for these findings is that FCC homes usually have only one adult present to care for children, and this adult has a significant amount of influence on childrenâs learning and development. Center-based settings, in contrast, have many adults with whom children interact and thus no single teacher will have as much influence on them. To gain a clearer understanding of teacher quality and effectiveness, it will be important to examine teacher preparation and sup- port in preparation programs (Early et al., 2007; Kagan et al., 2008). Although some early childhood educators receive a formal education to prepare to work with young children, others obtain preparation through general training. It is important to note that training can take place prior to their entering the classroom, but it often occurs after teachers have begun teaching. General training, defined as educational activities that take place outside the formal education system (Kagan et al., 2008), has also been found to impact teacher quality and the quality of classroom environments (Ghazvini and Mullis, 2002; Honig and Hirallal, 1998; Tout, Zaslow, and Berry, 2006). For example, Honig and Hirallal (1998) found that train- ing, independent of education and experience, had a large impact on the quality of services that teachers provided (e.g., positive language interac- tions, greater support for concept learning). In addition to research linking training to teacher quality, one study suggests that training is linked to
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 307 teacher effectiveness. Burchinal and colleagues (2002) found that teachersâ attendance in workshops predicted global quality and childrenâs receptive language. In addition to the research examining the relationship between gen- eral training and teacher quality, several studies have shown that overall program quality improves when early childhood teachers have specialized training or education in child development (Blau, 2000; Phillips et al., 2001; Tout and Zaslow, 2004; Tout, Zaslow, and Berry, 2006). Furthermore, spe- cialized formal education, defined by an emphasis on child development and early childhood education, has also been linked to improvements in teacher qualityâspecifically, that teachers who had more child development education were more sensitive, less harsh, and more responsive to children (Howes, 1997). Separate studies have been conducted on FCC settings and the impact of training. Generally, training for FCC providers has shown similar trends to those found for center-based providers. That is, this training is related to higher scores on measures of global environmental classroom quality (Burchinal et al., 2002; Clarke-Stewart et al., 2002; Norris, 2001). Fur- thermore, providers who received more training were more likely to offer a variety of activities and toys for children, balance their time indoors and outdoors, and actively interact with them (Norris, 2001). Training was also linked to teacher effectiveness in FCC settings. Specifically, children in the care of individuals who had participated in training in the past year scored higher on cognitive tests (Clarke-Stewart et al., 2002). Overall, these findings indicate that formal education and training gen- erally have a positive impact on teacher quality and effectiveness. However, the studies on which these conclusions are based are largely correlational, preventing the ability to draw conclusions about a causal relationship between training and/or formal education and teacher quality and effec- tiveness. Furthermore, questions regarding the impact of certain types of training, hourly requirements for training, or specific formats or content are essentially not addressed (Tout, Zaslow, and Berry, 2006). Despite these limitations, the data indicate that, in general, teacher quality and effective- ness are measurably better when teachers have higher levels of education and training, which in turns lends support for using these pre-service and in-service preparation systems as a means for improving practices and out- comes related to early childhood mathematics. Professional Development and Mathematics Education for Young Children The Joint Position Statement of the NAEYC and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) on Early Childhood Mathematics
308 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD (2002) names five critical areas of knowledge that early childhood teach- ers must have to be effective in teaching mathematics to young children: (1) knowledge of the mathematical content that they will be teaching, (2) knowledge of childrenâs learning and development, (3) knowledge of effec- tive mathematics pedagogy, (4) knowledge of effective means for assessing childrenâs development and learning, and (5) knowledge of the resources and tools available for teaching early childhood mathematics. In addition to acquiring these areas of knowledge, teachers also need to have a posi- tive attitude toward mathematics (National Association for the Education of Young Children and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2002), believe that young children are competent mathematics learners, and believe that mathematics is appropriate in the early childhood classroom (Ginsburg et al., 2006a; Lee and Ginsburg, 2007b). Themes related to the need for, and the nature of, such preparation are discussed in the following sections. Early childhood educators need preparation in mathematics for several reasons. Unlike their elementary school counterparts, most early childhood teachers, including those with degrees in early childhood education, have received no prior preparation in teaching mathematics (Copple, 2004; Ginsburg et al., 2006b) Therefore, virtually all early childhood teachers need professional development to build their knowledge and skills around mathematics. This is especially important in light of the recent attention that researchers, funding agencies, major early childhood professional orga- nizations, and policy makers are focusing on targeting improved mathemat- ics outcomes in early childhood, particularly for children from low-income backgrounds (National Association for the Education of Young Children and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2002; National Math- ematics Advisory Panel, 2008). As stated by Copple (2004): Practically all teachers need to know more about mathematicsâthe nature of the beastâand how to work with children in mathematics. They need to know much more about what mathematics young children are interested in and capable of doing; many vastly underestimate the range of young childrenâs interests and the extent of their capabilities. (pp. 86-87) Mathematics Content and Early Childhood Teacher Preparation A good deal of the research in early childhood mathematics has focused on the content that is necessary to be taught in teacher preparation pro- grams, including both in-service and pre-service programs. That is, this re- search has focused on (1) mathematics knowledge, (2) mathematics beliefs, and (3) childrenâs mathematical development and curricula to support it. Mathematics knowledge.â Virtually no empirical research exists directly examining teachersâ mathematics knowledge (Ginsburg and Ertle, 2008;
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 309 National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008). However, Ginsburg and Ertle (2008) provide several key reasons that professional development should target teachersâ mathematics knowledge. First, teachers need to understand the mathematics that children are learning and how they may be thinking. According to Ginsburg and Ertle (2008), âto understand . . . studentsâ mathematical thinking and then build on it in a way that encourages con- tinued enjoyment of the subject, the teacher must therefore understand the mathematics that the thinking involvesâ (p. 55). Second, teachers will be more effective implementers of mathematics curricula, as recommended by NCTM and NAEYC, if they understand the mathematics well themselves. At the pre-service level in particular, this means that teachers may need coursework related to deeply understanding the important mathematical concepts of early childhood rather than simply general mathematics courses that might be appropriate for college students, such as calculus. Third, teachers can take advantage of teachable moments in mathemat- ics only if they carefully observe, accurately interpret, plan, and implement appropriate activities to further learning, all of which require deep math- ematics knowledge. Given that, until recently, teachers may not have had to teach mathematics in early childhood settings, that few have received professional development in early childhood mathematics education, and that many early childhood educators have limited professional preparation in general, researchers and professional organizations have recommended that professional development address teachersâ knowledge of mathematics (National Association for the Education of Young Children and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2002). Mathematics beliefs.â As noted earlier, teachers have quite strong beliefs about mathematics, with many feeling it lacks key significance in early childhood programs. Ginsburg and colleagues (2006a), in describing ef- forts to provide training to teachers using the curriculum, Big Math for Little Kids, stress the importance of directly addressing the emotionally charged beliefs that teachers may have around mathematics. In fact, many early childhood teachers report they are uncomfortable with mathematics (Copley, 1999) and identify it as their weakest subject (Schram et al., 1988). In the prekindergarten settings in which the Ginsburg et al. (2006b) study took place, there appeared to be more resistance to mathematics than is typically found in kindergarten and elementary school, in which mathemat- ics has long been expected to be taught. Childrenâs mathematical development and curriculum.â Naturally, pro- fessional development in early childhood mathematics includes helping teachers learn about childrenâs developmental progression in various areas of mathematics, the specific learning experiences they can plan, and the
310 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD teaching strategies, materials, and supportive environment they can provide to promote mathematical development. A study with California elementary school teachers showed that those who received professional development in which teachers worked directly with curriculum materials associated with NCTM standards were more likely to report reform-oriented teaching practices in mathematics. Furthermore, results suggested that a professional development curriculum that overlaps with the curriculum of students improves instructional practices and student outcomes (Cohen and Hill, 2000). In early childhood mathematics, few studies exist demonstrating the causal effects of professional development on childrenâs outcomes. NeverÂ theless, two programs of research in early childhood mathematics have demonstrated a causal link between the delivery of professional develop- ment to implement a mathematics curriculum and positive child outcomes (Clements and Sarama, 2007a, 2008; Sarama et al., 2008). This research demonstrates the effectiveness of curriculum-based professional develop- ment methods at the early childhood level, which complements and extends the existing data on effective approaches at the elementary level (Cohen and Hill, 2000; Sarama and DiBiase, 2004). Because experimental research is quite limited in this area, no studies comparing alternative approaches to professional development (i.e., curriculum-based versus non-curriculum- based) have been conducted. However, there is a strong rationale for the use of a mathematics curriculum to provide young children with carefully sequenced mathematical experiences in the classroom. Thus, although addi- tional research would broaden understanding of the best means for provid- ing professional development in early childhood mathematics, the current curriculum-based research provides evidence to support the link between curriculum and professional development (Clements and Sarama, 2007a, 2008; Sarama et al., 2008). In-Service Mathematics Support Efforts Research on early childhood mathematics has largely been focused on understanding childrenâs mathematical development and the types of experiences that facilitate this learning. This work has also led to the development of an array of early childhood mathematics curricula. How- ever, little research has been done to date on the best methods to prepare educators to support childrenâs mathematical development or how to best provide training on mathematical curriculum implementation. As a result, questions about how to effectively scale up efforts to meet the needs of the early childhood workforce, as described in this chapter, have not yet been adequately addressed. The data that do exist can provide an example of effective practices and are presented below.
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 311 Research using the Technology-enhanced, Research-based, Instruction, Assessment, and professional Development (TRIAD) model (Sarama et al., 2008) provides the clearest evidence from the early childhood mathematics literature regarding specifically tested approaches to providing professional development to diverse groups of teachers from various types of programs serving diverse groups of children. TRIAD is a model for developing and scaling up a research-based curriculum. It is during the latter phases of this process that the focus of the research shifts from curriculum development and efficacy testing to the specific testing of the best methods for training and implementation, at first on a small scale and then to larger and more di- verse populations (Clements, 2007). TRIAD is focused on successful change of classroom practices around mathematics for the long term. In that spirit, the professional development of teachers is just one component of the over- all change process, and teachers are only one of the key players involved. Successful change requires the support not only of teachers, but also of administrators, parents, and children themselves (Clements, 2007). Evaluations of the TRIAD model have proven it to be effective in im- proving the quality of the mathematical environment and child outcomes (Clements and Sarama, 2008; Sarama et al., 2008). For example, in one study, mathematics outcomes of children participating in the experimental group demonstrated significant gains over children in the control group (effect size, 1.07, Cohenâs d) and comparison classrooms (effect size, .47, Cohenâs d) (Clements and Sarama, 2008). Another TRIAD-based in-service training experiment provided evidence that teachers in the experimental group reported doing more mathematics in the classroom, rating mathemat- ics as more important than did control teachers, and feeling more prepared to teach mathematics. Key components of the in-service professional development as demon- strated by the TRIAD studies are (1) training is job-specific and tied directly to the use of a curriculum; (2) the training is extensive and ongoing, includ- ing an initial training at the outset of the school year, with follow-up ses- sions; (3) teachers are supported through onsite coaching once per month, aimed at helping with curriculum implementation and discussion of any problems or concerns that teachers have regarding its use; and (4) teachers have opportunities for hands-on practice, discussion, and collaboration with others, as well as for reflection on their practice. In-person coaching is the primary resource for teachers, in contrast with the combination of coaching and web media support offered through Building Blocks. Two early childhood mathematics curricula, which include in-service professional development, that have been rigorously evaluated are SRA Real Math Building Blocks (Clements and Sarama, 2008) and Pre-K Math- ematics (Starkey, Klein, and Wakeley, 2004). An intervention that combined elements of these two curricula has also been tested through experimental
312 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD research (Sarama et al., 2008). Each is a research-based curriculum that has been evaluated using randomized control-group designs, and both curricula have met the What Works Clearinghouse criteria for inclusion, demonstrating their effectiveness in meaningfully improving child outcomes in mathematics (What Works Clearinghouse, 2007). The documentation provided to programs adopting Building Blocks details elements of the training and support offered to teachers using the TRIAD model (Clements and Sarama, 2008; Sarama et al., 2008). Building Blocks training and support, which has been demonstrated to be effective through research, consists of three elements over the course of one school year: (1) 34 hours of focused group training, (2) 16 hours of in-class coach- ing and mentoring, and (3) electronic communications, including the use of an interactive project website (Clements and Sarama, 2008). Understanding mathematical learning trajectories (which are called teaching-learning paths in this book) is a particular focus of the training, as a part of helping teachers learn the âconceptual storylineâ (Clements and Sarama, 2008). In addition, trained coaches provide teachers with regular coaching and mentoring as well as individualized feedback and address any concerns or problems with implementation. The Building Blocks Learn- ing Trajectory web application provides best practice exemplars, video- based illustration of childrenâs mathematical thinking and development, and resources for lesson planning. Finally, teachers receive resources for documenting student progress. Thus, training is fairly extensive, ongoing, hands-on, specific, job-embedded, and tied to curriculum. Furthermore, training is provided by highly qualified trainers, and distance learning fa- cilitates reaching participants in multiple locations. The documented gains in outcomes for teachers, classrooms, and children confirmed the efficacy of this approach to professional development (Clements and Sarama, 2008). In sum, the research from these examples indicates that professional development in mathematics in early childhood settings is most successful when it is a component of an overall change process that is supported by all key players. They demonstrate that, although teachers can make highly significant improvements in childrenâs mathematics outcomes, learning the knowledge and skills needed to do so requires an ongoing effort with sup- port to achieve this success. Frequently, the number of contact hours in professional development that produces success is substantially greater than typically offered by curriculum publishers, an issue that should be ad- dressed. Mentoring or coaching also appears to play an important role in helping teachers to solve problems as they learn to apply new knowledge and skills, as well as helping to sustain the change process over time. Evi- dence also shows that providing teachers with knowledge of mathematics and childrenâs mathematical thinking and development, as well as how to apply this knowledge through the use of a particular curriculum, is highly
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 313 effective at the early childhood level. These early efforts to bring profes- sional development efforts to scale also indicate that technology may play an important role in overcoming logistical barriers to delivering high- quality training to a large, diverse workforce. Outcomes of Mathematics In-Service Preparation in Elementary Education To date, there is not much research examining the relationship between in-service preparation and the effectiveness of mathematics teaching for preschool age children. However, one way to examine how formal in- service preparation in mathematics impacts the teaching of mathematics is to investigate the relationship between such preparation and K-12 math- ematics outcomes. Research on the K-12 system has found effects between teacher content preparation and teacher effectiveness. For example, Monk (1994) found a positive relationship between mathematics and science secondary teachers who received content-specific preparation and their studentsâ mathematics and science achievement. It should also be noted that the effects of content-specific preparation faded over time, suggesting that professional development opportunities throughout teachersâ careers are necessary. It seems, then, that early childhood educators must have a deep knowledge of mathematics as it applies to young children and must have their learning periodically reinforced. Research on mathematics preparation at the early elementary level also provides some useful implications for early childhood education, because the research is particularly focused on professional development itself, rather than on training as a component of curriculum implementation. A recent review of how professional development affects student achievement at the K-12 level examined over 1,300 research studies and identified only 9 that met the evidence criteria of the What Works Clearinghouse (Yoon et al., 2007). Five of the nine studies targeted mathematics outcomes, either solely or in combination with targeting outcomes in other learning domains. Studies that demonstrated effects on mathematics had an average effect size of 0.57 in mathematics outcomes, evidence of a significant impact on student mathematics learning outcomes. Together, they averaged slightly more than 53 contact hours of training over a period of four months to one year, which is substantially more hours than the typical elementary school teacher would have available for professional development (Yoon et al., 2007) or in which they would typically participate (Birman et al., 2007, as cited in Yoon et al., 2007). Across all nine studies, 14 contact hours or more produced gains in various other domains of student achievement, such as literacy, indicating that mathematics-focused efforts were more sustained or intensive (or both) than those targeting other domains.
314 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD Sarama and DiBiase (2004) described the effectiveness of several research-based professional development models for elementary school teachers in mathematics. The authors discuss three models in particular: Teaching to the Big Ideas (TBI), Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI), and Project IMPACT. While these programs have a number of features, one key cross-cutting element is their emphasis on understanding childrenâs mathematical thinking. There are a number of differences between early childhood and elementary school settings, such as expectations and beliefs about mathematics education and the educational levels of teachers, which make generalizations between them problematic. However, understanding how professional development can effectively help teachers understand the developmental progressions in childrenâs mathematical thinking has important implications for professional development at the early childhood level. According to Sarama and DiBiase (2004), âstarting with theory and research is not as effective as starting with practice, and then integrating theory and research into reflections on this practiceâ (p. 427). This empha- sis on helping teachers to understand childrenâs mathematical thinking can inform professional development efforts at the early childhood level, above and beyond adopting and learning a curriculum. Pre-Service Teacher Preparation in Mathematics The examples of effective in-service professional development indicate the depth and breadth of preparation that all teachers need to address childrenâs mathematics learning effectively, including those who pursue pre-service education. Specifically, teachers need preparation that (1) con- siders their beliefs about mathematics; (2) provides them with knowledge about mathematics, about childrenâs mathematical development, and how to apply it in the classroom (mathematics education); and (3) affords them opportunities to practice these skills in a classroom setting. However, to date, most college and universities offer little by way of training teachers to effectively teach early childhood mathematics (Ginsburg et al., 2004, 2006a). Furthermore, many of todayâs early childhood educators com- pleted their university training or general training when mathematics was deÂemphasized for young childrenâs learning (Early et al., 2007). Thus, many early childhood educators, even the most qualified, degreed teachers, are not sufficiently well prepared to teach young children about mathematics. To date, there are few if any empirical data sets that examine effec- tive practices in pre-service preparation of early childhood teachers in mathematics. We consider data about the range of existing approaches to providing preparation in mathematics based on a preliminary review, which was conducted for this report, of recent college program submissions for accreditation with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), at both the associateâs and bachelorâs degree levels.
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 315 In addition, we discuss the ways in which the pre-service teacher educa- tion could be affected by changes in other related systems. Clearly, more research is needed to determine the effects and the quality of early child- hood pre-service mathematics preparation. The following section addresses: (1) issues affecting pre-service preparation for early childhood teachers, (2) the landscape of early childhood teacher education programs in general, (3) the ways in which these programs can address the needs of teachers to be prepared to promote young childrenâs mathematical development, and (4) the ways in which other related credentialing systems can support the needed changes at the pre-service level for adequately preparing teachers in early childhood mathematics. Issues affecting pre-service preparation for early childhood teachers.â Be- fore focusing on the role of mathematics in pre-service teacher prepara- tion, we examine some more general and potentially relevant trends and issues that affect early childhood educatorsâ pre-service preparation. These trends include degree requirements, the academic content in teacher edu- cation courses, and assessment of the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs. Degree requirements.â Policy makers at the federal and state levels con- tinue to increase their requirements for early childhood educators to possess degreesâand, increasingly, the baccalaureate degree. Thus, one might ex- pect an ever-higher percentage of early childhood educators to pass through the higher education system, creating more opportunities to enhance their mathematical competence through that system. Academic content.â State and federal governments have placed greater em- phasis on academic content in teacher education. This is reflected in some statesâ requirements for all education students to have an academic major and in statesâ limiting the number of credits that can be taken in more ap- plied areas, such as pedagogy. This trend potentially expands opportunities to enhance mathematics content for future early childhood educators, but it may also limit studentsâ opportunities to apply their content knowledge through field experiences and related pedagogical coursework. A related trend, prompted by concerns about the achievement gap in childrenâs lit- eracy skills, has been an increase in state and institutional requirements in the areas of literacy and reading. The potential for competition among literacy, mathematics, and other content areas creates dilemmas for the design of early childhood teacher preparation programs. Assessing competence.â There is a growing tendencyâspurred to a great extent by NCATEâto focus less on counting time for seatwork assignments and more on assessment of future teachersâ competence (including their ef-
316 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD fects on childrenâs learning), when judging whether a teacher preparation program is effective. This emphasis is posing new challenges for programs as they consider how to conduct standards-based, valid assessments in key areas. Preparing Teachers to Promote Young Childrenâs Mathematics Development No systematic national evaluation has been conducted to date of the nature and amount of preparation specifically in mathematics that these de- gree programs offer. However, a preliminary review of the NCATE submis- sions of both bachelorâs and associateâs degree programs conducted for this study indicates that programs currently address mathematics in a number of ways that involve required coursework and field experiences (Hyson, Tomlinson, and Morris, 2008). Coursework.â The coursework that degree programs offer to prepare teach- ers to teach mathematics at the early childhood level may consist of general mathematics courses, courses on how to teach mathematics, or mathematics education. Pre-service teacher preparation programs have addressed this in a number of ways. Generally, if an early childhood mathematics course is offered, it often focuses on âmath methodsâ (Ginsburg et al., 2006a). Some programs have general education mathematics requirements, either solely or in combination with course requirements in mathematics education. Associateâs and bachelorâs degree programs may require one or more general mathematics course, such as college algebra, while others offer students the choice of selecting a course in mathematics or in science as part of their degree requirements. For mathematics education coursework, both associateâs and bachelorâs degree programs use a range of approaches, such as requiring one or more courses in teaching early childhood mathematics, embedding mathematics education in a general early childhood curriculum course, or combining mathematics and science education. Some offer mathematics education courses focused only on elementary mathematics. This broad range of ap- proaches indicates that there is considerable variability in the depth and breadth of teachersâ knowledge, exposure, and experiences in mathematics teaching, even among teachers with degrees, who represent the most quali- fied in their field. Overall, the evidence shows that some programs offer in-depth, high- quality early mathematics education, and some programs provide almost no preparation. Pre-service programs should review their coursework in early childhood mathematics to ensure that they are preparing teachers to teach and support their students as effectively as possible. This involves preparing teachers in the following areas:
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 317 â¢ Mathematics.â A deep understanding of the mathematical concepts discussed in Chapter 2 and childrenâs mathematical development as discussed in Chapters 5 and 6 is necessary for teachers to know what and how to teach mathematics effectively to young children. â¢ Curriculum.â Teachers need to learn about the curriculum available to them for teaching mathematics to young children. They also need to study the different pedagogical arguments underlying different curriculum in order to be able to make informed choices when they have their own classrooms (see Chapter 7). â¢ Assessment.â Programs need to prepare teachers to effectively assess young childrenâs mathematical skills and thinking. Furthermore, teachers should be trained to use assessments to inform and improve on their instructional practices (see Chapter 7). â¢ Beliefs.â Pre-service programs should provide teachers with an op- portunity to discuss and explore their attitudes and beliefs about mathematics and the effects of those beliefs on their teaching. Faculty.â Some programs, particularly those at the associateâs level that rely heavily on adjunct faculty, may face challenges with having person- nel qualified to teach early childhood mathematics courses. Because many teacher educators may have been prepared at a time when mathematics was deemphasized for young children, these personnel themselves may require some support to be adequately knowledgeable and prepared to teach the content. Alternatively, programs may take advantage of distance learning and web-based courses offered by mathematics educators at other universities and programs to fill gaps in the mathematics preparation of their students. Field experiences.â Some programs require specific field experiences in mathematics associated with mathematics education coursework, others in- clude it as one component of many in a general student teaching experience or simply do not require any practical mathematics teaching experience at all. Research is clear that effective approaches to professional development in early childhood mathematics require opportunities to practice and use new knowledge and skills and to receive meaningful feedback. Role of credentialing systems in preparing teachers in early childhood mathematics.â To ensure that future degreed teachers have the knowledge and skills that they need to promote early childhood mathematics in the classroom, providers of pre-service preparation programs are likely to need to make changes to their offerings and requirements in early childhood mathematics. While some programs may initiate these changes on their own, in reality four key systems have a great deal of influence over the con- tent and experiences of pre-service education programs in early childhood
318 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD education. They should be updated to reflect current knowledge in early childhood mathematics, along the lines presented in this report. These sys- tems include: state certification and licensure requirements, Praxis exams, NAEYC standards and other credentialing systems outside of states. Currently, 48 states have arrangements such that they will give at least initial licensure to a teacher who has graduated from an NCATE- accredited institution, in a program that has been recognized by the appro- priate national specialty professional association, such as NAEYC (Margie Crutchfield, NCATE, personal communication, April 2, 2008) rather than specifying particular coursework or credits. However, programs with both NCATE and NAEYC accreditation account for less than one third of all early childhood bachelorâs programs (Maxwell, Lim, and Early, 2006). The Praxis exams, which are used in NCATEâs national accreditation/ recognition of early childhood programs, include multiple-choice tests of studentsâ basic skills (Praxis I) and tests of their competence in a specific teaching area (Praxis II). These exams serve as gatekeepers at various stages of studentsâ progress through the pre-service program and entry into the profession. The NAEYC standards are reportedly are used by faculty to guide design and improvement of associateâs and bachelorâs degree programs (Hyson, Tomlinson, and Lutton, 2007). Also, programs participating in NAEYCâs national recognition and accreditation systems are likely to focus on the NAEYC standards. However, while mathematics is explicitly part of the standards (in Standard 4: Teaching and Learning), the current sys- tem for national recognition and accreditation does not require pre-service programs to specifically document their graduates competence in math, nor are the actual learning opportunities offered in mathematics explicitly evaluated. Finally, the Child Development Associate (CDA) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification are two credentialing systems that operate outside of state teacher licensure sys- tems. They are important because much of the early childhood workforce obtains or extends their professional development through them. The CDA is obtained through a combination of fieldwork, coursework, and other reading, writing, and conferencing requirements and is the most frequently required qualification for child care center directors (National Child Care Information Center, 2005). A review of the key materials used in CDA training and assessment conducted for this report revealed a need for addi- tional mathematics-related resources to increase the ability of advisers and instructors to support CDA candidatesâ understanding of and engagement in early childhood mathematics. The NBPTS uses a rigorous review process to certify âaccomplished teachersâ in 26 fields, including the early childhood generalist category,
THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE 319 which covers teachers with bachelorâs degrees who educate and care for children ages 3 to 9. Candidates provide the national board with four portfolio entries that document teaching competence and accomplishments outside the classroom, and demonstrate their content knowledge in a set of âassessment center exercisesâ specific to their certificate area. NBPTS requires that early childhood candidates include a videotaped mathematics- related instructional sequence in their portfolios (with detailed justifica- tion and self-analysis) and that one of two challenging assessment center exercises be in the domain of mathematics. Recent research has linked national board certification with improved child outcomes (National Re- search Council, 2008). Summary of issues related to pre-service teacher preparation in mathÂ ematics.â Early childhood educators who pursue pre-service education prior to their entry into the workforce participate in a range of types of associateâs and bachelorâs degree programs. These programs, in turn, ad- dress mathematics education preparation in a variety of ways, ranging from requiring general mathematics courses or specific mathematics coursework and fieldwork (or both), to combining mathematics with other disciplines, to hardly addressing it at all. While no data on the effects of pre-service mathematics programs on later teaching and outcomes exist, data from ef- fective in-service preparation indicate the content and types of experiences in early childhood mathematics that lead to positive outcomesâspecifi- cally, to be prepared to teach mathematics to young children, teachers need knowledge of mathematics, mathematical development, effective pedagogy, including the use of curriculum, and assessment, as well as opportunities to use this knowledge in early childhood classrooms. In addition, beliefs that may hinder the acquisition and application of this knowledge should be addressed. The influence of systems, including licensure requirements, Praxis exams, NAEYC standards, and credentialing systems, is important to consider. These systems are potential levers for increasing the focus on mathematics in early childhood professional development. SUMMARY The nature of the early childhood workforce is important to understand as perhaps one of the most critical contextual factors to improving the mathematical development of young children. As one of the primary ve- hicles through which children learn mathematics, teachers exert enormous influence. Yet in preparing teachers to take on this challenge, it is critical to face the realities of the workforceânamely that teachers present with a wide range of educational backgrounds, compensation, and work settings but tend to share beliefs and values that are generally less supportive of
320 MATHEMATICS LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD mathematics in the early childhood classroom than social-emotional devel- opment. Compounding the challenge, these teachers, despite their diverse qualifications, have typically received little, if any, preparation to teach early childhood mathematics. Research on the effective delivery of mathematics-specific professional development is fairly new and there continues to be a need for more work in this area. Research indicates that professional development efforts at all levels are most effective when they address teachersâ own mathematics knowledge, beliefs about mathematics, knowledge of childrenâs mathemati- cal thinking and development as well as mathematics pedagogy, knowledge of appropriate mathematical assessment practices, and knowledge of re- sources for supporting mathematics in their classrooms. Of these, a focus on understanding childrenâs developmental progression in mathematics tied to specific activities through a curriculum is the most salient feature of ef- fective professional development in mathematics. Effective approaches to in-service professional development in mathe- matics are ongoing, grounded in theory, tied to a curriculum, job-embedded, at least partially onsite, delivered by a knowledgeable and prepared trainer, supported by administrators, and accompanied by supports for teachers during implementation through mentors, coaches, and technology, mean- ingful feedback, time for hands-on practice and reflection, and opportuni- ties to work and solve problems collaboratively with other teachers and trainers. Professional development in mathematics may require extensive contact hours and a sustained effort. Furthermore, professional develop- ment is but one component of successful teacher/program change. This requires collaboration from administrators, teachers, parents, and children, as well as those from the outside helping to bring about change. While few data are available regarding effective approaches to pre- service education in early childhood mathematics, the range of approaches to providing this preparation that currently exists demonstrates that many program graduates leave with minimal preparation to teach early childhood mathematics. To prepare early childhood educators at the pre-service level, programs need to require coursework and fieldwork in mathematics, focus- ing on the content areas described in this report that all teachers need in this domain. To support these changes in programs, teacher educators will require support. Furthermore, licensure and credentialing systems, assess- ments of teacher competence, and professional and state standards should reflect greater emphasis on mathematics. Although more data are available at the in-service level than at the pre-service level, even the available studies represent relatively small-scale efforts, presenting considerable logistical challenges to meeting the needs of the field. While data indicate that the use of technology, such as interactive websites and distance learning, is effective in reaching large numbers of
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