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Through the teacher's eyes, literacy development in the early childhood years : a qualitative research project from an ethnographic perspective.

Kinkead-Clark, Zoyah (2013) Through the teacher's eyes, literacy development in the early childhood years : a qualitative research project from an ethnographic perspective. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to follow the development of literacy acquisition in a group of early childhood students and to understand how a socio-cultural understanding of literacy affects my understanding of home / school literacy practices. Conducted on a small island in the Commonwealth Caribbean, my primary aim was to understand what happens to children in order for them to learn to read and write, and to follow their linear progress of this over the course of an academic year. Additionally I also wanted to understand the role of homes, families and communities in this process and to examine how my practices as a teacher impacted on this. Using qualitative methodology from an ethnographic perspective, this dissertation explored the varying factors that have implications on literacy acquisition. The study was based on my observations as a kindergarten teacher, along with the perspectives of my co-constructors (parents and student participants). Six students and their parents/ guardians were used as case studies to illuminate the findings, I was able to use interviews, artefacts collected and my observations of them over the course of a year both in their primary learning environment, the home, and at school. Four questions guided this research process; 1. What literacy skills are my students expected to master in kindergarten? 2. What is my role as the teacher in facilitating literacy acquisition, what experiences do I provide for my students in the classroom and how do I use the home and family literacy practices to enhance the instructional process? Through the teacher's eyes, literacy development in the early childhood years: a qualitative research project from an ethnographic perspective. 3. At the end of kindergarten what are the literacy skills my students possess? How does this compare to the skills they possessed when they began kindergarten? How do home/ family literacy experiences facilitate this development? 4. How does a socio-cultural understanding of literacy affect my understanding of home/school literacy practices? My research findings highlight that literacy serves a unique purpose to families. Children's experiences with literacies reflect their cultural identities and the value they place on its role in everyday family experiences and practices. These family literacy experiences are unique, varied and rich and serve as the model and the impetus for children as they aim to develop foundational literacy skills. A cross- case analysis of my co-constructors revealed five main themes that emerged from the findings; literacy as a socially and culturally constructed, dominant parent influences, globalisation as a need for change and perceptions on the purposes of literacy. Though the findings of this study are not generalisable, the findings have implications for practice and policies in the Paradise Cays. I conclude that literacy instruction be culturally responsible and relevant to the needs of children. Additionally, I also posit that pedagogical practices employed take into account the family experiences of children and use them as a means to enhance the learning experience.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.577634
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 10:31
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2017 10:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14665

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