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A Mixed methods study of teacher-child interaction quality and teacher beliefs in early childhood education /

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2017
Çobanoğlu, Rahime
This study examined teacher-child interaction quality in preschool classrooms, some aspects of early childhood teachers’ beliefs (i.e., beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice, beliefs about developmentally inappropriate practice, teacher self-efficacy, and general teaching efficacy), and the interplay between them through a mixed methods research design. Data were collected through teacher survey and interviews, and structured and unstructured classroom observations. A sample of 47 teachers selected via cluster random sampling and two samples each of which involved four teachers selected through extreme case sampling addressed the main research questions in the study. Descriptive statistics and correlational, canonical, path, and content analyses were utilized in data analyses. The quantitative results unfolded that teacher-child interaction quality in preschools in public pre-primary schools of Ankara, Turkey was not high especially in the domains of instructional and emotional support. The qualitative findings consistently revealed several instances of ineffective teaching characterized with unproductivity, lack of enriching activities for children, yelling, and the use of feedback extensively for praising children. Teachers attributed ineffective classroom practices to parents’ view on early childhood education, teacher qualifications, and work conditions in the study. As regards to teacher beliefs, teachers reported a high sense of self-efficacy for teaching and general teaching efficacy and espoused developmentally appropriate practice more strongly than developmentally inappropriate practice. Although some pieces of quantitative and qualitative data revealed that these beliefs influenced educational practice in preschool classrooms, it was overall concluded that teacher beliefs were not strongly related to the observed classroom quality in early childhood education.