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New Perspectives on Theory-to-Practice



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New Perspectives on Theory to Practice Implications for Transforming Teacher Education and Child Outcomes Karen VanderVen Abstract Noting the importance of the relationship between theory and practice to the quality of early childhood education this paper deals with two issues 1 translating available empirical and theoretical knowledge into effective practice and 2 what Lilian Katz s work collectively would then indicate for a model of teacher and caregiver preparation that would yield the best possible practitioners The paper points out that to transform teacher preparation certain streams of thought can be considered as a way to reconceptualize the theory to practice issue in a way that can serve to generate a conceptual schema for framing Lilian Katz s far ranging work in early childhood education into a new transformational model for teacher preparation Among the notions to be considered are a reciprocal process for integrating theory and practice the concept of the mental model hermeneutics in developmental work and nonlinear dynamical systems theory The paper then discusses the Katzian Early Childhood Teacher Preparation System including guiding principles goals curriculum delivery professional development indirect practice and faculty characteristics Let s call a one year moratorium on dinosaurs Lilian Katz As a nation we re simply not taking advantage of how much we have learned about early development over the past 40 years This statement by Jack Shonkoff chair of the committee formed by the National Academies 2000 and produced by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine http nationalacademies org along with the increasing body of compelling evidence that proper preparation of early childhood teachers and caregivers is directly related to positive developmental outcomes for children e g Children at the Center 1979 Buell 1999 pose a profound challenge to early child education today This challenge is to take what we already know about what



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