My goal in teaching students at all levels is to create learning environments in which they can not only build on their experiences in working with young children in various capacities but also critically reflect on these experiences through the examination of the social, cultural and historical discourses that influenced their beliefs and assumptions about childhood and early childhood education. In the context of teacher preparation programs, a beginning point for acquiring this type of knowledge is a dialogue. Dialogue provides the milieu for discussion of the most critical questions in the field of early childhood education: How do we construct our notions of the young child and the role of early childhood institutions? What is our understanding of who the young child is, can be and should be? What is the role of early childhood educators, the parents the community and the society in educating and caring for children? I believe my mission as a teacher educator is to engage pre- and in-service teachers in such a dialogue and thus to help them gain a better understanding of what it means to educate children and young people in today's complex world with its uncertainties and conflicting views, values and aims. I am confident that my own cultural background and personal experiences of living and teaching in different cultural settings help students better understand the spectrum of viewpoints about ways of raising and educating children and young people of other ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, language and cultural backgrounds.
In my teaching, I guide students’ learning to pose critical questions, to use a variety of ways to gather information that pertains to these questions, and to present their new understandings to others. I strive to provide students with opportunities to make decisions, to solve problems, to consider different points of view, and to provide alternative solutions. I guide them through different strategies of investigation by creating situations in which they have to apply knowledge, seek various ways of accessing new information, or both. I have high expectations for all my students and am willing to work hard with them to produce quality, meaningful work. I provide students with clear guidelines outlining the steps they need to take. Wishing to encourage choice and creativity, however, I do not prescribe what they should do at each step. The feedback I provide is constructive, guiding students' writing without taking away their personal goals and ideas. As a result, the students have a strong sense of ownership of their work and pride in their accomplishments.
As an instructor of Master’s and Doctoral level courses, I support students to gain confidence in their capacity to become researchers and leaders in the field. In these courses, I strive to create a forum, both face-to-face and online, for dialoging about some fundamental questions the nature of teaching and learning in the global times we live in.