Global perspectives on Early Childhood Education

by Professor Michael Patte, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Adjunct Professor of The University of the West Indies-Family Development Centre

A colleague and I recently visited the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy, with 20 undergraduate students to explore the city’s world renowned philosophy of preschool education. This constructivist pedagogical approach that endorses experiential learning was developed following World War II by psychologist Loris Malaguzzi and parents from the surrounding communities. At its core is the belief that children are endowed with a hundred symbolic languages (drama, painting, sculpting, etc.) for expressing themselves in everyday life. The study abroad summer practicum immersed the university students in the Italian culture and provided multiple opportunities through professional development workshops and preschool visits to experience the Reggio Emilia approach first hand. During evening reflection sessions, my colleague and I facilitated rich discussions that compared and contrasted the American educational philosophies with those of Reggio Emilia. One of the major differences identified between the American and Italian educational contexts was the vital role of the classroom environment. 

National Tests and Diagnostic Feedback: What Say Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago? (Part 2)

by Launcelot I. Brown, Duquesne University
Laurette Bristol, Charles Sturt University, Australia
Joyanna De Four-Babb, University of Trinidad and Tobago, American University in Cairo, Egypt
Dennis A. Conrad, State University of New York at Potsdam

[Editor's note: This is Part 2 of the series 'National Tests and Diagnostic Feedback: What Say Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago?' To read Part 1, click here.]

National Tests and Diagnostic Feedback: What Say Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago? (Part 1)

by Launcelot I. BrownDuquesne University
Laurette Bristol, Charles Sturt University, Australia
Joyanna De Four-Babb, University of Trinidad and Tobago, American University in Cairo, Egypt
Dennis A. Conrad, State University of New York at Potsdam

The authors explored teachers’ and principals’ perceptions of the feedback report from the National Tests in Trinidad and Tobago and the extent to which they used the report in making curricular decisions to impact student learning. The sample comprised 133 primary school teachers (79 from low-performing and 54 from high-performing schools) and 10 principals. Results of the quantitative and qualitative data indicated that while many teachers were uncomfortable with interpreting the data presented in the report, teachers in higher performing schools were more inclined through department-wide collaboration to use the report to make pedagogical and curricular decisions. The major conclusion drawn was the need for teacher training in the use and interpretation of assessment data. Other issues emerging from the data and a possible subject for further research included the branding of schools as good schools and bad schools based on the school performance on the tests.

Keywords: assessment, Caribbean, feedback, national tests, Trinidad and Tobago

Play and Creativity: A Spiritual Side

by Professor James Johnson, CREN Contributor

Research on resilient children reveal that usually having an imagination is far from enough to pull oneself up by the bootstraps. Among other factors research points to how very important having a mentor and role model is, someone who takes a special interest in a ‘hard luck’ kid. But still, having a playful spirit and being imaginative and creative are workable ingredients and can inspire the resourceful teacher who wishes to make a difference in such a child’s life.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year from The UWI Family Development Centre! We were honoured to have our Adjunct Professor, Professor Launcelot Brown of Duquesne University join us as we plan for the exciting year ahead. As always, feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.with ideas or requests for workshops. Stay tuned to and our Facebook page for updates on upcoming events and publications!

cren staff 2018

Parent-Child Play Across Cultures - Advancing Play Research

by Professor Jaipaul L. Roopnarine and Kimberly L. Davidson

In this article, the authors argue for a greater understanding of children’s play across cultures through better integration of scientific thinking about the developed and developing societies, through consideration of socialization beliefs and goals, and, finally, through the use of more complex models in research investigations. They draw on theoretical propositions in anthropology and psychology to describe and interpret the meaning of parent-child play activities in the context of everyday socialization practices in societies in various stages of economic development.

Theoretical Considerations and Cultural Perspectives

Two theoretical perspectives on psychocultural processes in childhood socialisation that have been useful in studying and interpreting play phenomena in diverse cultural settings have their roots in both psychology and anthropology. The early twentieth-century Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky and the American anthropologists John and Beatrice Whiting were forerunners in stressing the primary importance of the social context and cultural processes (e.g., parentchild practices, belief systems) in interpreting the meaning of children’s social activities and play behaviours (Vygotsky 1978; Whiting and Edwards 1988; Whiting and Whiting 1975).