A mixed methods study of early childhood preservice teachers: beliefs about poverty, perceived learning from specific instructional strategies, and preparedness to serve children and families in poverty

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amy V. Johnson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Danielle Crosby

Abstract: A large number of young children experiencing poverty are receiving some type of formal early care and education. Effective early childhood teachers are an important component to providing high quality early childhood education. Yet, limited research has examined from the preservice teacher perspective how early childhood teacher preparation programs are preparing teachers to serve children and families experiencing poverty. Therefore, using a mixed method design the current study had two aims. Aim one was to explore early childhood education preservice teachers’ beliefs about poverty. The second aim was to describe their perceived preparedness by their teacher preparation program to serve children and families in poverty including specific instructional strategies (lecture, readings, class discussion, field experiences) preservice teachers perceived as influential in learning about poverty. Eighty undergraduates in their final two semesters of an early childhood teacher preparation program completed an online survey and 11 of the 80 participants completed the qualitative interview. Results were discussed in terms of qualitative themes. Themes that emerged about preservice teachers’ beliefs about the causes and perpetuation of poverty include holding both systemic and within person reasons, the role of luck, and the intersection of race and poverty. In addition, results indicate at trend level that students who have never personally experienced poverty are slightly more likely to hold more within person beliefs about the causes of poverty. Regarding aim two, findings suggest preservice teachers may perceive they learn about topics related to serving children and families in poverty through all types of instructional strategies, but that class discussions, assigned readings, and field experiences may be perceived as most influential in their learning. Themes that emerged about preservice teachers perceived preparedness to serve children and families in poverty include: the importance of family, possible experiences while in poverty, teaching with empathy, responsibility to provide children’s basic needs, and differences between teacher preparation or personal upbringing and real life experiences. The results are described and discussed in relation to recommendations for future research and implications for practice.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Beliefs, Early childhood education, Instructional strategies, Poverty, Preparedness, Teacher preparation
Student teachers $x Attitudes
Early childhood teachers $x Training of
Teachers of children with social disabilities $x Training of
Early childhood education $x Study and teaching

Email this document to