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PHD - Doctor of Philosophy




Teacher research has been included in university and graduate teacher education programs for the past 2 decades. Recently, associate degree programs have also begun to engage their students in teacher research. What happens when community college early childhood students conduct teacher research as a course assignment? This study involved 8 former community college early childhood education students who had recently completed teacher research projects as part of their coursework in 1 of 3 different courses. Data sources included students’ written reports of teacher research, classroom field notes, photographs of student data, and interviews with each participant. The study was informed by theories of reflective thinking (Dewey, 1933), reflective practice (Schön, 1983, 1987), transformative learning (Cranton, 2006b; Mezirow, 2000), the voice-centered method (Brown & Gilligan, 1992), and narrative knowing and inquiry (Bruner, 1986; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000a). The study found that the teacher research projects enabled students to question their assumptions about children and teaching and benefitted both the college students and the children in their classrooms. Participants spoke in the voices of both learners and teachers, and their teacher voices were confident and committed to teaching children and caring for their well-being. Teacher research created a context in which these students demonstrated both voice and power, which they used on behalf of the young children in their classrooms. The findings of this study can contribute to the conversation about teacher research in community college early education programs, as well as inform teacher education and early childhood education research and practice.



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