Although there have been calls in the early childhood field for effective approaches to preparing the workforce to support optimal early child development, there is a gap in understanding how different types of professional development predict teachers’ beliefs about children and their self-reported classroom practices. Using the National Survey of Early Care and Education, a nationally representative sample of the workforce, the present study analyzed the pathways through which different professional development experiences predict teachers’ beliefs and self-reported practices and the extent to which these pathways differed for teachers serving infants and toddlers compared to teachers serving preschoolers. Results indicated that professional development experiences differ among infant/toddler teachers compared to preschool teachers and that these experiences are differentially associated with beliefs and self-reported practices. For infant/toddler teachers, receiving coaching predicted less traditional beliefs and visiting other classrooms predicted a higher frequency of planned classroom activities. For preschool teachers, coaching was similarly related to less traditional beliefs as for infant/toddler teachers, and was also predictive of higher frequency of planned classroom activities, in addition to attending workshops. College coursework was associated with more progressive beliefs for preschool teachers. Implications for professional development are discussed. (author abstract)
The what, how, and who, of early childhood professional development (PD): Differential associations of PD and self-reported beliefs and practices
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