Pre-primary education from the perspective of the capability approach : an empirical investigation into teachers' beliefs and practices

Potsi A (2013)
Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.

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Bielefeld Dissertation | English
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Otto, Hans-Uwe
Abstract
Abstract PISA scores as well as the OECD reports concerning Greece have influenced the Greek educational policy measures that have been initiated with respect to the entire spectrum of the educational levels, including the pre-primary education. The curriculum outlines the directions for programmes regarding planning and development of activities in the context of a variety of academic subjects. Bearing this in mind, a number of educators and academics are fretting about the schoolification of the early childhood curriculum and of the pre-primary school. Schoolification is named the phenomenon of pushing down primary school academic activities into pre-primary programs as pre-primary school is perceived as a preparatory stage for children’s success in primary school. There have been criticisms that the curriculum is leading to the schoolification of the pre-primary school and is over-focusing on academic objectives (performance-based) rather than the intrinsic value of children’s capabilities (capabilities-based). However, evidence suggests that the “official curriculum may be only loosely connected to what teachers teach in the classroom” (Cohen et al. 1990, cited in: Lee Stevenson & Baker, 1991). Insofar, there has been scarce (if not at all) studies regarding the aspects of curriculum which are endorsed and implemented by teachers. This is due to the conscious exclusion of pre-primary teachers from the planning and designing process of the curriculum and to the lack of assessment regarding teachers’ practices. Teachers’ beliefs, thoughts and decisions on educational matters constitute the most significant part of teaching process. A teacher’s belief usually reflects the actual nature of the instruction the teacher provides to students (Kagan, 1992). In order to have a clearer view on whether schoolification is really occurring in Greek pre-primary school, the lack of research in the area of pre-primary teachers’ beliefs and practices as well as in pre-primary school assessment led the researcher to conduct an empirical study. The basic human capabilities (Nussbaum, 2011) of thought, play, affiliation, senses, imagination and emotions were measured accordingly with scales formulated from capabilities-based beliefs and practices versus performance-based beliefs and practices. The following research questions were investigated: • Are teachers’ beliefs predicted by the antecedent factors (e.g. years of experience, administrative control, self-efficacy, and decision-latitude)? • Do teachers’ beliefs predict teachers’ practices? • Do Greek pre-primary teachers favour performance-based or capabilities-based beliefs? The data from the empirical quantitative study with 341 Greek pre-school teachers as participants–recruited from 3 training programs of novice teachers (PEKs) and 5 retraining programs of well-experienced teachers (Didaskaleia) purposively selected based on their regional diversity–were used in order to test the conceptual model by employing structural equation modelling (SEM). The analysis of the results brought forward that years of experience negatively affects performance-based beliefs, implying that the more experienced teachers get, the more their performance-based beliefs decrease. On the contrary, administrative control and decision latitude positively affect teachers’ performance-based beliefs and therefore the higher they are, the more teachers tend to endorse performance-based beliefs. Self-efficacy influences positively both capabilities-based and performance-based beliefs, implying that although it is a significant factor in the formation of teachers’ beliefs, it does not impact differentially on the formation of capabilities-based or performance-based belief. Moreover, it was deduced that teachers’ beliefs predict teachers’ practices. Specifically, the two sorts of beliefs significantly predicted the respective practices. Additionally, capabilities-based beliefs negatively predicted performance-based practices. This, results in the conclusion that teachers do practice what they preach but also that the more teachers believe in a capabilities-based orientation of pre-primary pedagogy, the less they are likely to practice performance-based activities. Lastly, it was discovered that teachers tend to favour more capabilities-based beliefs; an encouraging finding which demonstrates that teachers are resisting the schoolification tendency favoured by the curriculum and they endorse pedagogy that focuses on the enhancement of children’s capabilities. Implications of these findings are discussed.
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Potsi A. Pre-primary education from the perspective of the capability approach : an empirical investigation into teachers' beliefs and practices. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld; 2013.
Potsi, A. (2013). Pre-primary education from the perspective of the capability approach : an empirical investigation into teachers' beliefs and practices. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Potsi, A. (2013). Pre-primary education from the perspective of the capability approach : an empirical investigation into teachers' beliefs and practices. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Potsi, A., 2013. Pre-primary education from the perspective of the capability approach : an empirical investigation into teachers' beliefs and practices, Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
A. Potsi, Pre-primary education from the perspective of the capability approach : an empirical investigation into teachers' beliefs and practices, Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2013.
Potsi, A.: Pre-primary education from the perspective of the capability approach : an empirical investigation into teachers' beliefs and practices. Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld (2013).
Potsi, Antoanneta. Pre-primary education from the perspective of the capability approach : an empirical investigation into teachers' beliefs and practices. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2013.
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