Most programs for young children make provision for the continuing education of staff members. Those who provide continuing education may be directors of Head Start programs or day care centers; they may be Child Development Associate (CDA) field trainers, supervisors of student teaching, consultants, curriculum specialists, or others. In the work of all individuals filling such roles aimed at helping others with their teaching, similar situations, issues, and problems arise, and similar decisions and choices have to be made.

The purpose of this discussion is to present some principles, assumptions, and techniques that might be useful for teacher educators, whether working with inservice teachers or caregivers, CDAs, or even prospective teachers. Typically, the participant in inservice education is not in the traditional student role of working with an abstract or theoretical set of topics organized into formal lectures. Instead, the learner is usually an adult with strong involvement in the subject and object of the interaction—namely, his or her own teaching behavior.

Throughout this discussion, the term "principle" is used as defined by R. S. Peters (1970) to mean that which makes a consideration relevant. As such, principles are like decision rules, which help to guide choices among alternative courses of action. They are not ironclad, fail-safe rules to be applied mindlessly, but are intended to be qualified by such phrases as "under some circumstances" or "as the situation warrants." Although these phrases are not mentioned repeatedly below, each principle outlined in the following discussion should be considered with appropriate qualifiers in mind.

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