Early childhood student teachers’ beliefs about the role of the teacher and how young children learn
Mitchell, J. W. (2001). Early childhood student teachers’ beliefs about the role of the teacher and how young children learn (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14386
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14386
The purpose of this research was, firstly, to explore early childhood student teachers’ beliefs about the role of the teacher and how young children learn. Secondly, it was to examine formative influences on participants’ beliefs and, thirdly, to ascertain any changes or modifications over a three-year period. Seventeen students completed five questionnaires and of these seven, who were the case study students, were interviewed and observed on teaching practice. Stories were written with each of these seven participants and their case studies prepared. Data were coded, analysed and grouped into themes. Changes or modifications to beliefs were charted for group and individual data for all 17 students. The results indicated that the beliefs student teachers’ construct are powerfully informed by experiences prior to the teacher education programme and that the family is perceived as particularly influential. Beliefs were dynamic; they developed and changed over a three-year period. Some of these beliefs were reflected in practice. To demonstrate the dynamic nature of beliefs, a taxonomy was developed to explain the status of the different beliefs held by students. It is argued that it is simplistic to speak of student beliefs as though they all have the same degree of tenacity, power and influence over how a student teacher thinks and acts. Implications for teacher education and further research were discussed.
The University of Waikato
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