The use of information and communication technology (ICT) can have positive effects on the learning and development of children. Adults and peers have a critical role in harnessing the potential. The authors’ attention in this article is on teacher practices. Through case studies of four early childhood teachers’ pedagogical roles and practices while children were using ICTs in Shanghai preschools, the authors reveal four main roles: facilitator, observer, guide and knowledge transmitter. Teachers were predominantly instructing and transmitting knowledge and were rarely observed to take responsive mediating approaches, despite proactive Chinese ICT policies which however lack specific curriculum guidance on pedagogy. Teachers were falling back on their traditional training and practices, leading to misalignment between policy which advocates guidance and democratic practice, and teachers’ actual practices. Drawing on Vygotsky’s concept of mediation, the authors advocate further learning about sociocultural approaches that have been shown to be beneficial in supporting teachers to take active and dynamic pedagogical roles and to employ a range of interactive and democratic strategies to empower children’s learning. Further investigation is needed to ascertain whether such teachers are rejecting interactive pedagogical approaches, or have not yet learnt about effective interactive strategies.
- young children
- early childhood teachers