Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Family, Consumer, and Human Development
The purpose of this study was to examine students’ beliefs and practices about developmentally appropriate practice with infants and toddlers. This study examined whether coursework in child development, combined with a lab experience engaging with children of the same age group, was related to developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices of student teachers. In particular, the study examined how coursework and practicum taken concurrently may have differed from taking the coursework alone. The relationships between descriptive data and student teachers’ developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices were also of interest. A total of 390 college students participated in this study. These students were enrolled in an undergraduate Infancy and Early Childhood course and some were also enrolled in an Infant Toddler Lab. The students completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the semester and again at the end, which was designed to measure teachers’ developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices in an early childhood classroom. The results showed that there were no statistically significant relationships between college major, marital status, or number of children and pretest beliefs scores. Individual means on practices scores also showed very little difference. The results demonstrated that beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice increased for all of the participants from the beginning of the semester to the end, with those in the class and lab increasing slightly more. On the practices items some of the developmentally appropriate scores went up and some went down. These findings have implications for infant toddler teacher training. When participants were compared based on group membership, whether they were in the class alone or took the lab concurrently, results showed that while not statistically significant, belief scores were higher for those who were in the class and lab combined. Many specific practices items were statistically significantly different between groups, especially at posttest, where those in the class and lab had higher scores of developmentally appropriate practice. However, some results indicate that idealized postulations of developmentally appropriate practice may not be realistic in actual classrooms. Suggestions of how these findings can be used in the training of early childhood teachers are presented. (103 pages)
Haws, Trisha, "Student Teachers' Beliefs and Practices About Developmentally Appropriate Practice for Infants and Toddlers" (2008). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15.
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