A professor stands holding an oversized copy of the book Frederick

I wonder about you – what makes you curious about me, what makes you wonder about teaching and learning, about children and learners of all ages?

Josh Thompson, Ph.D.
Professor of Early Childhood Education

  • Faculty
Curriculum and Instruction
Contact
Website
Office
Sowers Education South 202
Related Department
College Major
Humanities
Year Graduated
2001

Josh Thompson, Ph.D., followed a fascination in infant and childhood development to a career in early childhood care and education. His involvement in professional development, graduate courses, research projects and responsive interactions with young children and their caregivers and teachers have deepened his commitment to the field.

In 2004, Thompson joined A&M-Commerce due to the depth of expertise the faculty had in early childhood education. He stayed because of the quality of the students in Commerce, Mesquite, Navarro College in Corsicana, and CHEC in McKinney.

A Conversation with Dr. Josh Thompson

What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?

Choosing A&M-Commerce demonstrates how smart you are! Among many choices, choosing A&M-Commerce means you are interested in your future. Aligning your personal and professional development with our historic and epic history sets your future on a sure course toward success.

What draws you to your discipline?

Effective teaching can be demonstrated in a number of ways. “Value-added” is one method to enumerate growth, using pre- and post-measures to demonstrate change in the student. On the other hand, research has pointed toward the difference a TEACHER makes in effective teaching. That a teacher CARES turns out to be a significant factor in teaching effectiveness (Goldstein. 2002. Reclaiming Caring in Teaching and Teacher Education. NY: Lang.). I want to be known as a teacher who cares.

What has been your favorite course to teach?

I wonder how children acquire language, without direct instruction, in an early and immature period of cognitive development. Wow! My favorite course to teach, ECE 358 Early Childhood Language Acquisition, helps pre-service teachers learn to look at the phenomenon of early language acquisition. Together we study many factors promoting optimal language development, such as family literacies, manipulation of small objects, collaboration and interaction with responsive peers and adults. Plus, we read aloud a lot of children's books from many genres, and sing songs and nursery rhymes.

Tell us about a project you are currently working on or recently completed

Within the community of child language acquisition researchers, it is known that more competent speakers transmit pragmatic competence to language learners; how they do so is still quite a mystery. The complex, interwoven connectedness of diverse elements and their influence on language acquisition remains unzipped; the double, triple, or infinite helix of pragmemes needs to be realized. Following Naomi Baron’s 1990 structure of Five Language Functions (affection, control, information, pedagogy, and social exchange), my research examines the effectiveness of this structure to describe pragmemes in the early language learning environment of young children.

Early childhood educators are predominantly female; I am exploring gender differences in the ways men parent and teach. I join other researchers and early childhood practitioners (e.g. www.MenTeach.org, www.StrongFathers.com) in seeking what is necessary to attract, recruit, retain and promote men in early childhood education.

Educational Background

Academic Positions

  • Professor, Early Childhood Education, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2021-present
  • Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2010-2021
  • Graduate Faculty member, Graduate School, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2004-present
  • Trainer, Dallas Montessori Teacher Educator Preparation, 2016-Present
  • Academic Coordinator, Curriculum & Instruction, Navarro Partnership in Midlothian, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2010-2016
  • Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2004-2010
  • Adjunct Professor, Teaching and Administration, University of North Texas, 2004
  • Lecturer, Early Childhood Education, The University of Texas at Arlington, 2001-2004
  • Adjunct Professor, Teaching and Administration, University of North Texas, 2000-2001
  • Adjunct Professor, Northwood University, 2000-2001
  • Lecturer, Development, Family, and Early Childhood Education, University of North Texas, 1999-2000

Research Interests

  • Early language learning environment of young children
  • Exploring gender differences in the ways men parent and teach
  • Montessori principles infused throughout early childhood education
  • Changes to Developmentally Appropriate Practice
  • Critical Race Theory in analysis of school engagement of Black fathers
  • Evaluating systemic oppression of BIPOC throughout higher ed

Awards and Grants

  • Ronnie Brooks Mentoring in Education Award, TAMUC Chapter of Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education, 2021
  • CCAMPIS up to $185,000, with Hortman, McCrary, & Pearce, 2021
  • $200,000, Opening Eyes to Early Learning, proposal, submitted February 2020 with Sturdivant, Loewenstein, and Pearce
  • CCAMPIS up to $185,000, with Hortman, McCrary, & Pearce, 2020
  • Men in Education Network M.E.N. Interest Forum $900 membership grant from National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2020
  • Texas AEYC, President’s Trust Fund $500 for Multi-cultural Literature for ECE 358, 2019
  • CCAMPIS up to $185,000, with Hortman, McCrary, & Pearce, 2019
  • Texas Affiliate Grant, $500 for highlighting benefits of NAEYC accreditation in DFW Metroplex, from Texas AEYC, 21017
  • Texas Affiliate Grant, $500 for recruiting membership in Dallas AEYC, from Texas AEYC, 2016
  • Master Leadership Recognition, Childcare Exchange Leadership Initiative, 2015
  • Bill Martin Jr Memorial Symposium, $500. Early Childhood Committee of the Federation of North Texas Universities, 2014
  • International Travel Research & Presentation Grant, RECE Conference to Nairobi, Kenya, $2000, Texas A&M University-Commerce Faculty Development Committee, 2013
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program, $67,000, U.S. Dept. of Education, 2013
  • Bill Martin Jr Memorial Symposium, $500, Early Childhood Committee of the Federation of North Texas Universities, 2013
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program, $67,000, U.S. Dept. of Education, 2012
  • Bill Martin Jr Memorial Symposium, $1500, Early Childhood Committee of the Federation of North Texas Universities, 2012
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program, $67,000, U.S. Dept. of Education, 2011
  • Bill Martin Jr Memorial Symposium, $2000, Early Childhood Committee of the Federation of North Texas Universities, 2011
  • Bill Martin Jr Memorial Symposium, $2000, Early Childhood Committee of the Federation of North Texas Universities, 2010

Professional Organizations

Featured Courses

ECE 366 Learning Environments
ECE 537 Creative Expression in the Art

Selected Publications

  • Parks. L., Thompson, J., & Walker, K. (2020). Saying goodbye to Texas Child Care Quarterly: The Quarterly Journal for Caregivers Everywhere: An Interview with Louise Parks. Early Years: Journal of Texas Association for the Education of Young Children.
  • Thompson, J., & Bourassa, M. (2020). Ten ways a teacher copes, and thrives, during a pandemic. Early Years: Journal of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children 41(2), 21-23. .PDF
  • Pearce, N., & Thompson, J. (2019). A dynamic duo: A partnership between an early childhood center and a teacher education program (Feature Article, also translated into Spanish: Un dúo dinámico: Una alianza entre el Centro de primera infancia y el programa de educación de docentes, pp. 15-18). Early Years: Journal of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children 40(2), 11-14.
  • Thompson, J. (2018). Dads in the carpool lane. Early Years: Journal of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children 39(3), 29-30. .PDF
  • Stanković-Ramirez, Z. & Thompson, J. (2018). Rethinking developmental domains to improve classroom observations. Texas Child Care Quarterly, 42(2), 20-27. Available online https://www.childcarequarterly.com/pdf/fall18_domains.pdf.
  • Golden, F., Guthery, S. & Thompson, J. (2018). Chapter 10: Improving practice of pre-service teachers through inquiry. In L. A. Sharp, E. Hendrix, & L. M. Juarez (Eds.), Texas Association for Literacy Education Yearbook, Volume 5: Connections in the community: Fostering partnerships through literacy (pp. 84-88). Texas: Texas Association for Literacy Education. Available online www.texasreaders.org/yearbooks.html.
  • Thompson, J., & Walker, K. (2017). Rich Words for Free. ACEI Early Years Bulletin: Focus on Pre-K & K, 5(1), 1-5. Available online https://issuu.com/acei/docs/eybfall2017.
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