Title page for ETD etd-05012010-155439

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Ruto-Korir, Rose Cheptoo
Email korircheptoo@gmail.com
URN etd-05012010-155439
Document Title Preschool teachers’ beliefs of developmentally appropriate educational practices
Degree PhD
Department Educational Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof I Eloff Co-Supervisor
Dr C Lubbe-De Beer Supervisor
  • pressure for academics
  • childhood education and culture
  • developmentally appropriate practices
  • teachers’ beliefs
  • preschool seesaw model
  • use/and or silencing of materials
  • bioecological systems theory
Date 2010-04-29
Availability unrestricted
Teachers’ beliefs are central to determining children’s optimal educational experiences. However, some studies related to teachers’ beliefs yielded findings that rendered beliefs and practices incongruous. Although the principles of developmentally appropriate practices that synthesize theoretical and empirical research on child development have been adapted to various contexts other than its original United States of America (USA) context, developmentally appropriate practices remain contentious as to its relevance in these contexts. What is appropriate for children’s education seems debatable, largely determined by social expectations of childhood and children. Cultural diversity seems to be the new dispensation in this discourse. Fundamentally, research on preschool teachers’ beliefs about developmentally appropriate educational practices, adds to literature about cultural context variables in preschool provision from different contexts.

Purpose: This study examined how teachers’ practical experiences framed their beliefs and understanding of children’s educational experiences within a developmentally appropriate framework and a bioecological systems theory.

Paradigm/Design/Methods: A constructivist paradigm within the qualitative approach guided this study. Video and photographs became the basis to elicit teachers’ beliefs about children’s educational experiences. Children’s educational experiences were analysed along five constructs related to the concept of DAP; teaching strategy, use of materials, scheduling of children’s learning, assessment, and consideration of children’s individuality.

Findings: Teachers’ beliefs corroborated the DAP framework, but their practices that were more teacher-directed, contrasted the DAP principles. They used formally structured teaching approaches, as materials in three-out-of-four classes observed remained ‘silenced’. The schedules were formally structured, subject-based, with limited flexibility, as assessment for children’s learning focused on limited aspects of the cognitive domain.

Conclusion: Teachers’ beliefs seemed to support educational practices that embrace the principles of DAP. However, some context-related factors, which include pressure from parents, competitive school environments, preparation for the interview, different transition requirements, peer pressure, and perceived lack of time limited their use of DAP. I extrapolate these factors to the bioecological systems theory, to understand the dynamics of early childhood education provision in Kenya.

Practical implications/Originality/Value: This study adds to literature on teachers’ beliefs about children’s educational experiences from a developing country context, as well as adding to studies that have used visually elicited interviews. It also provides the details of children’s educational experiences, in part, to appreciate the current conversation on the status and the nature of focus on standards or skills-based dynamics in preschool provision. Besides, it might be the first study in Kenya to embrace the DAP framework and the bioecological systems theory. The seesaw model advanced in this study synthesizes the originality of the study by conceptualizing the theoretical as well as empirical literature on developmentally appropriate educational practices, as a valuable framework to understand and interpret competing priorities that might affect preschool provision. The seesaw model is also valuable in locating and extending the conversation about different stakeholders’ priorities, not only in Kenya, but also in other societies.

© 2010 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Ruto-Korir, RC 2010, Preschool teachers’ beliefs of developmentally appropriate educational practices, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05012010-155439/ >


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