Teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding developmentally appropriate practices: a study conducted in India

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [McMaster University]On: 28 October 2014, At: 11:34Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Early Child Development and CarePublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/gecd20</p><p>Teachers beliefs and practicesregarding developmentally appropriatepractices: a study conducted in IndiaArchana V. Hegde a &amp; Deborah J. Cassidy ba Department of Child Development and Family Relations , EastCarolina University , North Carolina, USAb University of North Carolina at Greensboro , North Carolina, USAPublished online: 01 Oct 2009.</p><p>To cite this article: Archana V. Hegde &amp; Deborah J. Cassidy (2009) Teachers beliefs and practicesregarding developmentally appropriate practices: a study conducted in India, Early ChildDevelopment and Care, 179:7, 837-847, DOI: 10.1080/03004430701536491</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430701536491</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. 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Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/gecd20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/03004430701536491http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430701536491http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>Early Child Development and CareVol. 179, No. 7, October 2009, 837847</p><p>ISSN 0300-4430 print/ISSN 1476-8275 online 2009 Taylor &amp; FrancisDOI: 10.1080/03004430701536491http://www.informaworld.com</p><p>Teachers beliefs and practices regarding developmentally appropriate practices: a study conducted in India</p><p>Archana V. Hegdea* and Deborah J. Cassidyb</p><p>aDepartment of Child Development and Family Relations, East Carolina University, North Carolina, USA; bUniversity of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina, USATaylor and FrancisGECD_A_253510.sgm(Received 30 May 2007; Final version received 26 June 2007)</p><p>10.1080/03004430701536491Early Child Development and Care0300-4430 (print)/1476-8275 (online)Original Article2007Taylor &amp; Francis0000000002007ArchanaHegdehegdea@ecu.edu The study assessed kindergarten teachers beliefs, stated practices and actual practicesregarding developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) in India. Forty kindergartenteachers from the urban city of Mumbai (India) participated in the study. Overall, theresults indicated that teachers beliefs were more developmentally appropriate thantheir stated practices or actual practices in the classroom. Further, teachers congruentin their developmentally appropriate beliefs and stated practices had classrooms withhigher scores on actual practices. Lastly, group size was a significant predictor ofteachers actual practices. The implications of these results for the early childhoodeducation system of India are discussed in detail.</p><p>Keywords: developmentally appropriate practices; early childhood education; Indian education; teacher beliefs and practices</p><p>Introduction</p><p>The position statement on developmentally appropriate practices (DAP), published by theNational Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), has stronglyinfluenced the field of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) (Bredekamp, 1987;Bredekamp &amp; Copple, 1997). DAP is based on the child-centred philosophy of educationwhich is a perspective espousing that children actively learn and construct their ownknowledge by interacting with peers, teachers and materials. It is assumed that in anycountry, DAP can serve as the minimum foundation for quality and be measured as aparameter of quality (La Paro, Sexton, &amp; Snyder, 1998). These quality practices are impor-tant as they are known to influence childrens development. Research has revealed thatchildren placed in these developmentally appropriate classrooms in the United States aremore socially mature, less stressed, more creative and show greater affinity towards schoolthan children who are placed in developmentally inappropriate classrooms (Burts et al.,1992; Hirsh-Pasek, Hyson, &amp; Rescorla, 1990; Jambunathan, Burts, &amp; Pierce, 1999). Thus,DAPs positive impact on childrens development has popularised this concept in variouswesternised countries around the world. However, we are yet to know how these practicesare being implemented and interpreted in other developing countries such as India.</p><p>The National Policy on Education in India states that child-centred or play-based educa-tion be a part of the ECCE system of India. Teacher training institutes also adhere and agreewith this philosophy. However, the reality of the ECCE settings in India is very different.Kindergarten classrooms in India are very formal and didactic in their approach to teaching.</p><p>*Corresponding author. Email: hegdea@ecu.edu</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>McM</p><p>aste</p><p>r U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 11:</p><p>34 2</p><p>8 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>838 A.V. Hegde and D.J. Cassidy</p><p>Thus, teachers trained to be DAP in their approach to teaching may find it difficult to imple-ment or practice this philosophy in their classroom. In other words, there might be a discon-nect between teachers beliefs regarding DAP (their thoughts regarding developmentalappropriateness), their stated practices (how they practice DAP in their own classroomfrom their own perspective) and their actual/observed practices (how they are actuallyimplementing DAP in their classroom from a trained observers viewpoint).</p><p>Link between teachers beliefs and practices</p><p>Research on teachers thinking assumes that beliefs that teachers hold influence their prac-tices (Isenberg, 1990). Clark and Peterson (1986) state that teachers thought processesshare a reciprocal relationship with their actions, reinforcing the idea that there is a veryclose relationship between beliefs and practices. However, in the early childhood literaturethe findings are mixed. Charlesworth, Hart, Burts, and Hernandez (1991), who developeda self-report scale on developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices for kindergartenand preschool teachers, found that teachers beliefs were more developmentally appropriatethan their reported practices, and teachers who felt they had more control over planning andimplementing instructions had the highest ratings on beliefs and practices.</p><p>Jones and Gullo (1999) administered the Teacher Questionnaire to assess teachersbeliefs and practices on developmental appropriateness in first grade classrooms, andsubsequently children were assessed on math, science and social skills. Overall, the resultsrevealed that teachers beliefs were not consistent with their practices. Most of the teachersreported having more DAP beliefs than practices. A few other teachers adopted practicesthat were neither appropriate nor inappropriate. Overall, teachers who revealed consistencyin their DAP beliefs and practices had children with better social and academic outcomes.</p><p>Maxwell, McWilliam, Hemmeter, Ault, and Schuster (2001) assessed 69 kindergartensthrough third grade teachers from public schools using various measures for teachersbeliefs and practices. They found that as grade level increased teachers became less devel-opmentally appropriate in their beliefs. Vartuli (1999) reported similar findings in a studythat was conducted with the early childhood teachers from Head Start through the thirdgrade. Overall, teachers reported more developmentally appropriate beliefs than practices.Head Start teachers reported the most developmentally appropriate beliefs. Additionally,teachers in the Head Start and kindergarten programmes were more congruent in theirbeliefs and practices than the teachers in the primary grades. Furthermore, teachers with acertification in early childhood education were more developmentally appropriate in theirbeliefs and practices than teachers who had a certification in elementary education.</p><p>Buchanan, Burts, Bidner, White, and Charlesworth (1998) examined teachers self-reported beliefs and practices using The Primary Teachers Beliefs and Practices Survey.Results indicated that classroom characteristics in terms of class size, grade level, numberof children with disabilities and number of children with subsidised lunch, as well as teachersarea of certification and perceived relative influence that the teachers have on the classroom,predicted teacher developmentally appropriate or inappropriate beliefs and practices. Allthese findings were significant. Further, primary teachers certified in early childhood educa-tion and those who perceived they had more control over planning the curriculum of theirown classroom were more developmentally appropriate in their practices.</p><p>The aforementioned studies indicate how grade level and teachers training (ECCE orelementary) background can impact teachers developmentally appropriate beliefs andpractices. Following research will highlight teachers individual characteristics that areknown to impact and influence teachers beliefs and practices.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>McM</p><p>aste</p><p>r U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 11:</p><p>34 2</p><p>8 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Early Child Development and Care 839</p><p>Individual characteristics</p><p>Snider and Fu (1990) found that teachers knowledge of DAP was related to their level ofeducation. Teachers having knowledge of child development and early childhood educationcould identify and rate accurately vignettes on teacherchild interactions as developmen-tally appropriate and inappropriate. Moreover, teachers who had covered more than 10content areas in child development and early childhood education and had supervisedpracticum experience in early childhood settings scored well on the measure of develop-mentally appropriate beliefs. This study broadens our understanding of how teachersbeliefs originate and describes the characteristics of teachers who hold developmentallyappropriate beliefs. However, it does not examine factors that affect teachers attempts toimplement their beliefs into practice or imply causal relationship between teachers educa-tion level and change in beliefs and practices.</p><p>Cassidy, Buell, Pugh-Hoese, and Russell (1995) conducted a study that highlights thecausal relationship between teachers exposure to college level coursework and theirchanges in their beliefs and practices. In this study, childcare teachers who attended commu-nity college were compared to teachers who did not attend college course scholarship andwere later assessed on their self-reported practice, beliefs and subsequent quality scores.They found that teachers who attended college and had taken at least 1220 credit hours ofcollege course work in early childhood education, psychology, child development andexceptional children were more developmentally appropriate in their beliefs and practices.They also had classrooms with better global quality.</p><p>Mangione and Maniates (1993) found that specialised training increased the develop-mental appropriateness of preschool and elementary classrooms. Nine preschool and ninekindergarten teachers participated in an extensive training programme wherein teachers weretrained to implement a developmentally appropriate curriculum in their classrooms. Afterthe training, teachers reported that they had made substantial changes in their classroombased on their new found knowledge of DAP. Thus, the training experience had broughtabout major changes in their beliefs about how children learn, and their classroom practices.</p><p>McMullen (1999) explored characteristics of preschool and primary teachers who weremore or less developmentally appropriate in their practices. Their results indicated thatteachers with high internal locus of control and developmentally appropriate beliefsengaged in more DAP. Additionally, teachers with high DAP scores had an academic back-ground in early childhood education or child development at some point in their career,compared to teachers who had low scores on DAP. Furthermore, primary teachers with adegree in early childhood and work experience in a preschool setting were more develop-mentally appropriate in their practices than teachers who had the same academic back-ground, but had no experience of working in a preschool setting. Additionally, preschoolteachers with high personal teaching efficacy (measured using standardised instruments)were more developmentally appropriate in their practices.</p><p>Similarly, McMullen (1997) found that early childhood professionals with moreeducation and experience in the field of early childhood education were more developmen-tally appropriate in their beliefs than teachers or students who had just entered the earlychildhood field. Additionally, teachers appropriate beliefs regarding DAP was signifi-cantly correlated to their high educational and teaching efficacy scores. That is, teacherswho personally believe they can bring about a change in their students performance throughtheir own teaching ability (educational efficacy) and believe that in general teachers canaffect students performance (teaching efficacy) have more appropriate beliefs regardingDAP.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>McM</p><p>aste</p><p>r U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 11:</p><p>34 2</p><p>8 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>840 A.V. Hegde and D.J. Cassidy</p><p>To conclude, education seems to be one determining factor regulating teachers beliefson developmental appropriateness (Cassidy et al., 1995; Snider &amp; Fu, 1990; Vartuli, 1999).Furthermore, ongoing in-service professional development in early childhood and success-ful teacher training programmes can be considered equally important in bringing aboutchange in teachers thoughts and their teaching beliefs (McMullen, 1997). Additionally,research suggests that teachers confidence in their own teaching abilities may allow themto implement DAP in their classrooms even in the most challenging circumstances(McMullen, 1999).</p><p>Literature clearly demonstrates that implementation of D...</p></li></ul>

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