Implementation of different teaching approaches in early childhood education practices in Estonia
The aim of this study was to describe the activities of Estonian preschool teachers in the context of different teaching approaches and to compare the assessments of teachers of their own teaching with the assessments of observers of their teaching. For the data collection, the Early Childhood Classroom Observation Measure (ECCOM) and a structured questionnaire were used. A total of 25 teachers participated in the study. The research concluded that teachers mostly applied the principles of a child-centred approach, but that teacher-directed and child-dominated approaches were also present in their teaching practices. Senior teachers scored better than novice teachers on the child-centred education scale, while novice teachers scored higher on the child-dominated scale. By comparing the consensual results of two independent observers and the assessments of the teachers, it became evident that the teachers gave themselves a higher rating in all categories regarding the implementation of child-centred teaching practices, compared to the rating given by the independent observers. Thus, changing the daily practices of teachers involves more than changing the curriculum and other national documents and providing theoretical training on the new approach to learning. It also requires specific guidelines on how to change practice and how to provide feedback for teachers on their work. (author abstract)
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