Using a Dilemma Case in Early Childhood Teacher Education: Does it Promote Theory and Practice Connection?

Koc K.

KURAM VE UYGULAMADA EGITIM BILIMLERI, vol.12, no.4, pp.3153-3163, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Page Numbers: pp.3153-3163


The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of using case analyses on early childhood pre-service teachers' skills on connecting theory and practice, and solving ill-defined problems in teaching young children. In particular, the following research questions were explored: (1) To what degree are pre-service teachers able to make theory-practice connections in response to a written dilemma case of early childhood classroom? (2) What types of solution strategies did the participants suggest? (3) What is the potential value of using a dilemma case in solving ill-defined problems in early childhood education? 48 senior students enrolled in an early childhood education program participated in the study. The participants read, analyze and reflect on case of an early childhood teacher who is having a dilemma regarding a 4-year old child who seems to need special education. The data analysis revealed a notable influence of theoretical knowledge and specific perspective through inclusion provided in class on the students' essays. They suggested two solution strategies (a) strategies that aim to convince the parents to consult a specialist and (b) strategies that aim to support the child's development. The findings were discussed and potential implications were addressed in the paper.