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Ask Dr. BKW: how to use research-based approaches to improve teaching

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As early childhood educators it is important to read research-based articles ensuring you are staying abreast of the most current techniques/strategies that can be implemented to improve teaching and learning. These articles may be a little intimating but do not feel that way because educators encourage students to challenge themselves and they will over that concept thought could not be accomplished. Yes, you can read, comprehend, apply and analyze to improve approaches for teaching and learning.

Remember, the information will have been studied over a period of time, observation data, surveys, reviewed by peers in the field of early childhood education (scholarly) and so forth. Here are some helpful tips to use research-based approaches to improve teaching and learning.

1. Subscribe to early childhood education journal such as Young Children, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Education Leadership and Early Childhood Research and Practice where you can receive electronically or a hardcopy.

2. Visit your local or University libraries and at computer station type in the search box specific topic(s) of interest (e.g., working with pre-k dual language learners) for on-site resources (journals, books) or online journals that can be printed, saved or emailed to reference later.

3. Read the information as many times as needed to gain an understanding then plan how to implement. In a composition notebook or create a spreadsheet with headings such as date read, title, authors, summary, implementation to improve teaching and learning and comments after implementation. Remember, if techniques/strategies are for specific student(s) record information in their portfolio through anecdotal recordings and/or their individual plan sheet relating to short-range to long-range goals.

4. After reading, implementing and recording information you can share with colleagues at staff meeting or professional learning community with other educators who are seeking assistance on the same or similar topic(s).

5. Maintain a personal reflective journal that your thoughts are written on reading, research-based subject, implementation, modification if needed, sharing with colleagues, parents or community at large to improve teaching and learning based on individual students’ learning styles. In addition, the techniques and strategies must be culturally developmentally age appropriate practices.

Reading research-based information as part of your regular reading becomes easier and second nature to see how information can be used. It is part of the educator’s role to help every student become a productive citizen of society.

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