Research News

Paper by UW’s Graue named Distinguished Article of the Year by JECTE

August 25, 2015

UW-Madison’s Beth Graue is the lead author of a paper that was recently named the 2014 Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education’s (JECTE) Distinguished Article of the Year.

Graue and co-authors Kristin Whyte and Kate Kresin Delaney wrote, “Fostering Culturally and Developmentally Responsive Teaching through Improvisational Practice.”

Beth Graue
Graue is the Sorenson Professor of Childhood Studies and chair of the nation’s No. 1-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Whyte and Delaney were graduate students working on National Science Foundation-funded professional development research with Graue in early childhood education.  Whyte is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University working with Cynthia Coburn, and Delaney recently completed a post-doc program and starts as an assistant professor at the University Toledo this fall. 

According to the paper’s abstract: “In this article we explore an effort to rethink curricular decision-making with a group of public pre-K teachers working in a context of curriculum escalation and commitment to play-based pedagogy. Through a professional development program designed to support developmentally and culturally responsive early mathematics, we examine how teachers took up the idea of engaging in mathematics with 4-year-olds in a way that married content knowledge and home practices.”

It continues: “We look specifically at three teachers as they negotiated our vision of responsive practice, using the notion of improvisation as a metaphor to understand how they took up this new role. We found that just having the knowledge about developmentally responsive practices, funds of knowledge, or early math was a first step but it was not enough. How teachers took up the elements of the professional development was contingent on their capacity to improvise in their teaching, responding to children’s resources and interests in authentic ways.”

"Being recognized by the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Education is an honor -- but it also means that there is a high likelihood this work will reach teacher educators and practitioners,” says Graue. “That’s even better than the award itself.”