Emily Brown Hoffman: Preparing Aspiring Educators to be Classroom Heroes

Dr. Emily Brown Hoffman’s passion for research comes from a core belief.

“I am motivated to make sure that children have the early childhood education they deserve,” Hoffman said. “They deserve education that is high quality. They deserve education that is supportive, enjoyable, and fun. They deserve an education that sets them up for success.”

Hoffman’s current research focuses on improving online learning programs for early childhood educators.

“I consider how traditional and alternative professional learning experiences can empower and improve the instructional capacity of early childhood teachers.”

As an assistant professor of early childhood, youth, and family studies in Ball State University’s Teacher’s College, Hoffman brings classroom experience to her insights, having taught kindergarten in both Gary, Indiana, and Chicago.

She earned a bachelor of science in elementary education from Valparaiso University, followed by an MEd in instructional leadership and a PhD in curriculum and instruction, both from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Hoffman has published research in the Early Childhood Education Journal and in two book chapters, and has presented at numerous conferences.

She has learned through her research that synchronous learning opportunities are beneficial in instructing teachers online. In synchronous learning, students are online at the same time and courses unfold in real time. The classes are “live.”

Online learning is especially important to the preparation of early childhood teachers, now and in the future, Hoffman said. Some future teachers earn their bachelor’s degree online. Furthermore, many current teachers earn additional teaching licenses, certificates, and even advanced degrees online.

Whether online or face-to-face, the essential part of the learning experience remains the same.

“People talk with each other and learn with each other,” Hoffman said. “They are then able to transfer that knowledge to their classrooms.”

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