Early childhood educators' qualifications and beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice
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A number of research studies in early childhood education have examined the relationship between teachers’ qualifications and teachers’ beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice, and demonstrated that teachers’ educational background and professional development experience are primary predictors of endorsement of developmentally appropriate beliefs. However, the majority of the existing studies have focused on the effect of the qualifications of lead teachers in private preschool settings. For this reason, in this dissertation study, I investigated how publicly operated prekindergarten teachers’ beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice relate to the teachers’ educational background, their professional development experience, and their teaching position. To conduct this research, a measure of teachers’ beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice was utilized as the dependent variable. Predictor variables were teachers’ educational level, professional development experience, and teaching position (lead teachers and paraprofessionals). Data were analyzed by one-way analysis of variance as well as two-way analysis of variance. The results of the present study indicated that lead teachers agreed more with beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice than did paraprofessionals. In terms of professional development experiences, the present study revealed that teachers who had engaged in professional development agreed more with beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice than teachers who had not engaged in professional development. In terms of educational level, the results indicated that there was not a significant difference between teachers with a master’s or a specialist degree and teachers with an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree on their beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice.