Preparing Early Childhood Educators to Teach Young Children in International Contexts (Nepal)
What are college student’s perceptions of the child-in-cultural-context in Wyoming and Nepal? How do college students understand the young child-in-cultural-context? How can curriculum be developed to help American early childhood college students teach in international contexts?
With the increase of internationalization in education there is a need to prepare early childhood educators to understand the child-in-context, global concerns for children’s rights, and how to develop curriculum related to the local practices, customs, and norms of the educational setting. The purpose of this project is to gather data from preschools in Kathmandu, Nepal that can be used to develop curriculum for college students to understand the child as culturally constituted and examine notions of socially-just teaching practices when working with young children in international contexts. The goal is to produce early childhood educators who can implement educational practices with young children in international contexts and make meaningful connections between the local values and global concerns for children’s rights, which is noted by the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (2013). Building off this notion, this research will be used to continue ongoing collaborative relationships among UW faculty and Nepali preschools and university faculty with a central focus on understanding best practices for young children in local contexts that support the cultural and national values of the child’s culture.
Phase One of this project will video teachers and children in the three early childhood settings in Nepal with the goal of gathering footage that demonstrates how teaching the young child is embedded in the local context. The video data will be used as a provocation for Phase Two. Phase Two of the project will use video from Phase One at early childhood education courses at the University of Wyoming and the University of Wisconsin-Stout with the purpose of examining college students’ perceptions of the Nepali early childhood preschool and child-in -context. Students will participate in the following: 1) One individual 30 minute pre-focus group interview, 2) Two-hour focus group with the video from Nepali preschools, and 3) One individual 30 minute post-focus group interview. Phase Three will use data from Phase Two to develop college curricular modules that address the cultural aspects of the young child that will be used in university courses. Curricular modules will be used to prepare early childhood educators to teach young children in international contexts drawing on the local customs, values, and routines to create socially just early childhood practices that address the global concerns about the rights of the child.
The first phase of this project was to collect video data that would be used as a “provocation” for Phase 2. Outcomes can’t be determined after Phase 2. However, this project did build upon on Dr. Madrid research that examined six university students’ experiences as they participated in an early childhood teaching internship in a Nepali preschool in 2014 (Madrid & Baldwin, 2015; Madrid, Baldwin, & Belbase, under review) This data showed the university students lacked an in-depth understanding about teaching as a cultural activity and knowledge about young children as culturally constituted. Moreover, we found that the college students emotional responses were related to a discourse of the Privileged-Westerner and Marginalized-Other and were grounded in ethnocentric emotional actions and reactions. When teaching young children in a cross-cultural context it’s imperative that teachers understand their own emotional reactions, attachments, and investments. This is particularly relevant when teachers find themselves within unfamiliar cultural settings where locally based teaching practices reflect a set of values, norms, and beliefs about childhood that are distinctively different from their own culturally constructed knowledge about teaching young children.
Madrid, Samara, "Preparing Early Childhood Educators to Teach Young Children in International Contexts (Nepal)" (2016). CGS Faculty Awards 2015. 9.