It's Great to Think about Difficult Issues in a Safe and Supportive Environment: Scenario-based Learning in Early Childhood Teacher Education

By Reesa Sorin.

Published by The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 2, 2015 $US5.00

Early Childhood preservice teachers often experience a theory/practice divide between their university studies and actual classroom practice. Yet, as Adam (in Errington, 2010) notes, “there is a certain 'complementarity' between theory and practice that is perhaps most productive at the nexus between the two” (p. 97). Scenario-based learning (SBL) is a means through which that nexus can be explored; theory applied to practice; and preservice teachers more supported in their transition to professional practice. SBL is based on Lave and Wegner’s (1991) concept of situated learning, where apprentices are ‘schooled’ in the ways of the profession by expert practitioners, in what they term, ‘legitimate peripheral participation’. Scenarios are hypothetical situations created to situate learners in a "real life" context within the safety of the classroom and as a way to practice and trial ways of responding to various professional issues.
In this research, SBL was introduced into an online Early Childhood Education university subject and developed over a number of years using an Action Research framework. Through learner and colleague feedback and critical reflection, scenarios have been refined to more closely align with learner needs and changes to early childhood policy and practice. This paper reports on the process of developing scenario-based learning, from its inception through to its current delivery.

Keywords: Scenario-based Learning, Early Childhood Teacher Education

The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, Volume 21, Issue 3-4, October 2015, pp.9-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 2, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 492.075KB)).

Reesa Sorin

Associate Professor, Education, College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia