Giving Teachers a Voice: An Examination of Teachers Lived Experiences in Implementing Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Settings

by Shipley, Tisha, Ed.D., NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY, 2012, 109 pages; 3536605


A top priority for early childhood educators is to teach children to read. When teachers teach literacy through the use of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), they can reflect on each child individually. Current literature in the area of DAP is theory driven. Studies have been conducted in relation to teachers and their experiences, but not in the area of literacy instruction. In this qualitative phenomenological study, the experience of the teacher in relation to implementing developmentally appropriate teaching strategies into literacy instruction was explored. Using a phenomenological design the study was conducted in two separate, publicly funded, rural Oklahoma school districts and early childhood centers. Semistructured face-to-face interviews with six purposively 1st grade teachers, each with at least 2 years' teaching experience, have given insight into how teachers feel about DAP and incorporating it into instruction time. From the data, which was analyzed using the heuristic phenomenological approach, four overlapping themes emerged (a) teachers perception of DAP is positive, (b) collaboration is irrelevant (c) relevant professional development is important and pertinent to helping teachers implement DAP, and (d) all classroom teachers have barriers they face when implementing or using DAP into their teaching practices. From this study teachers, administrators, parents, and community leaders will hopefully gain an understanding of what teachers need, how they need to be supported, and how important professional development and collaboration can be if implemented correctly. A practical application of this research would be that administrators would collaborate with teachers in a way that allows them to use their personal philosophies when they teach so that they are able to incorporate DAP and teaching strategies in a way that will be useful on state mandated testing. The findings of this study contribute to the literature by providing knowledge about the phenomenon and will enable administrators to better support their teachers, colleagues will not feel alone in their profession, and teacher candidates will understand what they may face as they accept teaching positions in a school district.

AdviserDana Cleghorn
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEarly childhood education; Curriculum development
Publication Number3536605

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