Preschool teachers' beliefs about classroom practices and how preschool students learn

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University of Alabama Libraries

The researcher in this study investigated how preschool teachers' beliefs about teaching practice, children, and discipline and behavior management related to the preschool teachers' level of education, type of teaching certification, years of teaching experience, and race. The method consisted of each preschool teacher completing the Teacher Belief Q-Sort (TBQ), either in an online format, or by using a paper and pencil form of the measure. The TBQ was chosen to reduce preschool teacher bias by having teachers rank order their priorities concerning their teaching practices. The data were the teachers' rank-ordered responses to the TBQ measure. The data were analyzed using Chronbach alpha statistical analysis techniques. The results indicated low internal consistency among the various types of teacher beliefs. The researcher concluded social desirability may be one reason internal consistency was low. Additionally, regional cultural differences in how preschool teachers approach behavior management could be a factor. Preschool teachers who participated in this study reside in the southern region of the United States. Many adults in this area of the country hold traditional values for how children should be treated, especially in regards to how they should be disciplined and punished. These traditional values sometimes clash with research findings on the types of adult-child interactions foster optimal child development. It is possible the preschool teachers in this study held some more "progressive, enlightened" beliefs about the practice of teaching and how to treat children regarding discipline and behavior management. However, these preschool teachers may also have held traditional beliefs, which resulted in wide variability to item answers on a scale measuring these types of beliefs. Furthermore, preschool teachers may have answered some items honestly and other items in a way which makes them look favorably to funding or licensing agencies. The researcher further concluded that besides the existing data on the TBQ, additional research with the TBQ is needed to establish the measure's internal consistency, reliability, and validity.

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Education, Early childhood education, Developmental psychology