Preschool teachers' perspectives of the teacher-child relationship within the context of a diverse classroom

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH SUMMARY : Research has shown that a positive teacher-child relationship in early childhood have an influence on future academic performance (Madil, Gest, & Rodkin, 2014), success (Pianta & Struhlman, 2004) as well as behavioural development in later life (Runions, et al., 2014). Teachers are responsible for the holistic development of the children in their classroom, including not only cognitive development but also social and emotional development. Bronfenbrenner model for human development explains that children live in a holistic system and development does not take place in isolation (Swart & Pettipher, 2016). Different systems have an influence on the child and development. For development to take place there needs to be person-environment interactions. These interactions are described as proximal processes (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006). The teacher-child relationship is seen as a proximal process. A positive teacher-child relationship provides emotional security to a child (Howes & Hamilton, 1993) and teachers need to ensure that their classrooms are emotionally supportive. Preschool children spend at least five hours a day interacting with their teachers. These interactions are important for the children’s holistic development. Although teachers are aware of the impact they have on academic development they are often not aware of the importance of a positive teacher-child relationship. The quality and consistency of early relationships and interactions are essential for early attachment and emotional well-being (Whitebread, 2012). Children learn to be independent and strong through building positive relationships (UK Department for Education, 2017). The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (La Paro, Pianta, & Stuhlman, 2004) was developed to observe the quality of the interactions between the teacher and children in the classroom. This system was used during this research to observe the interactions between the teacher and children in the classroom. The 21st century classroom is one of diversity and in South Africa this reflects the multicultural nature of the country. Teachers need to be able to support all the diverse needs of the children in their class. Diverse learning needs are prevalent in all classrooms all over the world. Diversity in a classroom includes language, culture, race, religion as well as diverse learning needs. It is important that teachers are able to support the diverse learning needs children experience to ensure effective learning and development. The question then arise whether the teacher-child relationship changes when children experience diverse learning needs. This study aimed to understand preschool teachers experiences of the teacher-child relationship in diverse classroom setting. The study was based on qualitative research methodology and an instrumental case study design was chosen in order to give the researcher insights into the teacher-child relationship in diverse classrooms. An interpretive paradigm was chosen to ensure that the researcher could interpret and explore the different perspectives of the participants. This research study showed that these preschool teachers where very aware of the importance of building a relationship with all the children in the classroom and embracing their diversities. Although teachers made a big effort to form relationships with all the children it became clear that where children had behavioural and emotional needs, teacher struggled to form positive relationships.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Navorsing toon daarop dat ‘n positiewe onderwyser-kind verhouding in die vroeë ontwikkelingsjare ‘n groot invloed het op kinders se akademiese prestasie (Madil, Gest, & Rodkin, 2014), skolastiese sukses (Pianta & Struhlman, 2004) en gedragsontwikkeling in die toekoms (Runions, et al., 2014). Onderwysers is verantwoordelik vir die holistiese ontwikkeling van al die kinders in hulle klaskamer. Dit sluit in kognitiewe ontwikkeling sowel as emosionele- en sosiale ontwikkeling. Bronfenbrenner se model vir menslike ontwikkeling verduidelik dat kinders deel vorm van holistiese sisteme en dat ontwikkeling nie afsonderlik plaasvind nie (Swart & Pettipher, 2016). Verskillende sisteme het ‘n invloed op die kind se ontwikkeling. Vir ontwikkeling om effektief plaas te vind moet daar persoon-omgewing interaksie plaasvind. Hierdie soort interaksies word beskryf as proksimale prosesse (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006). ‘n Positiewe onderwyser-kind verhouding bied emosionele sekuriteit vir die kind (Howes & Hamilton, 1993) en onderwysers moet verseker dat klaskamesr emosioneel ondersteunend is. Onderwysers is gewoontlik bewus van die impak wat hulle op kinders se akademiese ontwikkeling het, maar is ongelukkig nie altyd bewus van die belangrikheid van ‘n positiewe onderwyser-kind verhouding nie. Die kwaliteit en konsekwentheid van vroeë verhoudings en interaksies is belangrik vir vroeë emosionele welstand (Whitebread, 2012). Kinders leer om onafhanklik te wees deur sterk, positiewe verhoudings te vorm (UK Department for Education, 2017). Die “Classroom Assessment Scoring System” (La Paro, Pianta, & Stuhlman, 2004) is ontwikkel om die kwaliteit van onderwyser-kind interaksie te observeer en is in hierdie studie gebruik om interaksies tussen die onderwyser en kind waar te neem. Die 21ste eeu klaskamer is een wat die diversiteit van die land weerspieël. Onderwysers moet oor die vermoë beskik om alle diverse behoeftes in hulle klaskamers te ondersteun, sodat effektiewe leer kan plaasvind. Diverse leerbehoeftes kom in alle klaskamers reg oor die wêreld voor. Diversiteit in klaskamers kan insluit; taal-, kultuur-, rasen geloofsverskille sowel as verskillende leerbehoeftes. Die vraag ontstaan dan of die onderwyser-kind verhouding verander, of anders lyk, as leerders diverse leerbehoeftes het. Hierdie navorsingstudie het beoog om voorskoolse onderwysers se ervaringe van die onderwyser-kind verhouding in ‘n diverse klaskamer te verstaan. Alhoewel die onderwysers in hierdie studie baie bewus as van individuele leerders se behoeftes en baie klem geplaas het op die uniekheid van kinders, het dit duidelik geword dat die onderwyser-kind verhouding met kinders wat gedragsprobleme het ‘n groot uitdaging is vir onderwysers.
Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
Teacher-student relationships, Preschool teachers -- Attitudes, UCTD