Preservice early childhood educators' pedagogical beliefs
Di Santo, Aurelia
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Preservice early childhood educators begin postsecondary programs with established beliefs about children, children’s learning, and their roles as future educators. The present study examined 26 first-year students’ beliefs about children, classroom practice, and guiding children’s behavior. Participants completed the Teacher Beliefs Q-Sort (Rimm-Kaufman, Storm, Sawyer, Pianta, & La Paro, 2006) at three time points over the course of their first year of studies. We compared responses across the three time points to explore whether the students’ beliefs changed over time. Findings are presented under three main themes: 1) beliefs about children; 2) beliefs about classroom practice; and 3) beliefs about behavior management. Overall, findings reveal that for all three themes, at each time point, practices that are most characteristic of the participants’ beliefs are child-centered, whereas beliefs that are least characteristic of their beliefs are teacher-directed. To support students’ application of theory to practice, they should be given opportunities during their studies to voice, explore, and critically examine their beliefs in relation to philosophies and teaching approaches.