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Early childhood Special education teachers’ self-efficacy in relation to individual children: Links to children’s literacy learning
Using data from 73 early childhood special education (ECSE) teachers and 837 preschool children, this study examined whether teachers experienced differences in self-efficacy in teaching children with and without disabilities, as well as whether they experienced differences in self-efficacy when teaching children with different types of disabilities. Additionally, we investigated the relations between ECSE teachers’ self-efficacy toward individual children and children’s print knowledge, as well as the extent to which children’s disability status moderated these relations. Our results showed that ECSE teachers felt less self-efficacious with children with disabilities versus children who are typically developing and experienced the lowest efficacy for teaching children with autism spectrum disorder among children with disabilities. ECSE teachers’ self-efficacy in relation to individual children served as a significant predictor of children’s print knowledge. Results did not support a moderation role for children’s disability status. These findings illustrate the importance of examining teacher self-efficacy at the child level and indicate that higher teacher self-efficacy is beneficial to early literacy development for all children in ECSE classrooms, including those with disabilities. (author abstract)
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