This section of Voices of Practitioners: Teacher Research in Early Childhood Education is designed as a resource for teacher educators who are interested in incorporating teacher research into their professional preparation programs or refining or expanding their current teacher research efforts. Contributors to this section explore current thinking on using teacher research in two and four year, and graduate early childhood teacher preparation programs and as in-service professional development in early education settings. They consider questions such as:
- How does the teacher educator help make teacher research a viable option for the infant/toddler, preschool and primary level teachers?
- How do teacher educators facilitate the reflection of teachers into their own teaching/learning situations and practice?
For the Teacher Educator highlights ways to support teacher research in both on-campus and off- campus programs. Articles might address topics such as designing teacher research courses and programs. Topics can also include innovative strategies for helping early childhood students and practicing teachers learn and use the skills of teacher research --identifying their own research questions that can be investigated empirically, designing the study, collecting and analyzing data, and communicating the results.
Another goal of For the Teacher Educator is to encourage teacher educators to create supportive networks off-campus in early childhood settings (for example, university–school collaborations) to provide opportunities and support for teacher research and collaborative dialogue among teachers. These networks might include teacher researcher groups meeting in centers and schools. Or, they could involve community organizations or programs through which teachers voices about how and what to teach and the nature of learning are included in educational decision-making and policies.