Date of Award:

12-2010

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Shelley L. Knudsen Lindauer

Abstract

This qualitative study was an exploration of 55 Utah kindergarten teachers' perceptions of challenges in teaching. It investigated written concerns teachers expressed in a statewide survey of kindergarten teachers. Study findings indicated that two main issues were communicated by teachers: a disparity between their developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices in the classroom, and concerns about children's kindergarten readiness and transition to school. About 56% of teachers felt a struggle in implementing their developmentally appropriate beliefs about education, for a variety of reasons: large class sizes, district and state mandates, and lack of resources, particularly time. Furthermore, 53% of educators conveyed concerns regarding children's school readiness and their transition to kindergarten. These teachers articulated transition activities they engaged in and communicated the influence of preschool, both positive and negative, on their incoming kindergarteners. Three other concerns and challenges were also delineated: limited teaching time; feelings that kindergarten curriculum is becoming too academic, particularly that curricular expectations have been raised and an emphasis placed on literacy; and issues surrounding parental involvement, both in and out of school.

Study findings also demonstrated that most teachers who communicated concerns about implementing developmentally appropriate beliefs had been teaching for more than 7 years. The majority of the educators who shared challenges regarding time had taught for 12 or more years, as was the case for those who spoke about concerns with parental involvement. Limitations, implications, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on November 29, 2010.

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