An Exploration of Teachers’ Early Childhood Guidance Beliefs and Practice within Early Learning Classrooms
Child guidance approaches, models, and strategies impact the quality of the classroom environment through teacher-child interactions, positive and negative climates, and the development of self-regulation and autonomy. Teacher beliefs about guidance and their actual guidance practices impact teacher-child interactions which may be further hampered by the administrative decisions and policies regarding classroom management and child guidance. This study proposed to look at both the teachers’ self-reported beliefs about guidance and their self-reported beliefs of their own guidance practices in early childhood guidance as measured by the Early Childhood Guidance Belief Survey (ECGBS-B) and the Early Childhood Guidance Belief Survey- Actual Practice (ECGBS-AP) as well as the quality of teacher-child interactions as measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, Pre-K (CLASS Pre-K) for 46 Head Start and 10 non-Head Start classrooms within a metropolitan area. Correlations and hierarchical multiple regressions were computed to assess the strength of the relationships between predictor and criterion variables. Research question 1 asked about the relationship between early childhood teachers’ self-reported beliefs (ECGBS-B) and practice (EBCGS-AP) about early childhood guidance and actual observed practice (CLASS Pre-K). Findings indicated that when teacher’s beliefs and practices reflect more authoritative strategies of early childhood guidance CLASS scores were positively impacted resulting in greater positive teacher-child relationships. Teacher beliefs of early childhood guidance were found to be positively statistically significant predictors of Total CLASS scores. Research question 2 asked are more positive interactions between children and teachers, as measured by CLASS, found in classrooms where the teachers’ beliefs of guidance are more consistent with their practice. While not statistically significant, teachers’ beliefs of their actual practice had a negative impact on Total CLASS score which may indicate that when teacher beliefs of early childhood guidance and their beliefs of their actual early childhood guidance practices are incongruent there are negative impacts on teacher-child relationships. Research question 3 asked do inconsistencies between administrative policy and teacher beliefs have an impact on teacher guidance practice. Through the addition of discrepancy scores between belief and practice to the hierarchical multiple regression model the explained variance in the total CLASS score was increased by 5.9% indicating that administrative policies may have a small effect on teacher-child relationships. This research will add to the body of literature surrounding teacher beliefs, teacher beliefs of their own practice, the impact of administrative policies and procedures on classroom guidance practices and teacher-child relationships impacted by teacher beliefs.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Instrument copies -- Appendix B. IRB Approval