A Comparison of English and Turkish Early Years/Kindergarten Teachers’ Understandings of and Practices in Outdoor Activities
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My thesis presents a comparison of English and Turkish Early Years/Kindergarten teachers’ understandings and practices of outdoor activities. Comparative research provides a wider understanding of the two different cultures’ current circumstances in outdoor activities. Such research provides in-depth understanding of educational aspects in different cultures, and produces enhancement opportunities for educational pedagogies (Alexander, 2001). I had been conscious of possible differences in cultural perception of childhood and its temporal effects on historical developments as well as on the way children play and engage in outdoor activities and this informed my approach. This thesis was based on ethnographic research involving two sets of observations and interviews exploring English and Turkish teachers’ perceptions and practices of outdoor activities. The observations and interviews were held both before and after an intervention that I introduced. This intervention used social media to allow teachers to exchange photographs and comments about their outdoor learning practices and share ideas across the two countries. Four main themes emerged from the research: professional learning in the early years, barriers, freedom and pedagogic roles. The interaction that allowed them to see different practices had a notable impact on the teachers; enhancing their approach to outdoor activities and contributing to their professional development. Therefore, this research reveals the importance of cross-cultural research as well as the practicality of the new model: The Online Interactive Professional Learning Model based on the Experiential Learning Theory (ELT).
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