Early Childhood Teachers' Behavior Intention to Apply Teaching Aids
Kuo, Chuen-Tzay, Journal of Instructional Psychology
This research aimed to investigate the behavior intention of early childhood teachers to apply teaching aids. The survey method was used to collect data from 281 early childhood teachers currently working at early childhood education institutes. The data was analyzed by t-test, Chi-square analysis, and Pearson coefficient to examine the differences and correlation on various dimensions in different backgrounds. Stepwise regression-coefficient was analyzed to investigate the predictability of self-efficacy on behavior intention of teaching aids application of early childhood teachers. The results showed that: a. all early childhood teachers agreed that teaching aids acquired multiple functions; b. environmental conditions of teaching aids provided by early childhood education institutes located in different cities were different; c. most teachers showed both positive self-efficacy and high behavior intention of applying teaching aids in their teaching; d. behavior intention of applying teaching aids was influenced by the restriction of environmental conditions; e. teachers with higher self-efficacy also had higher behavior intention to use teaching aids in teaching; f. the major reason for not using teaching aids was because teachers had too many chores to prepare. Finally, some suggestions were proposed according to the results for the reference of relevant organizations and staff.
Keywords: Early childhood teachers, teaching aids, behavior intention
Research Background and Motivation
Early childhood is a stage when physical and mental functions such as body, cognition, language, social relation and emotion are wholly developing. Therefore, many countries devoted a large amount of men and money on promoting early childhood education. For the past few centuries, employment population of women workforce has increased due to the prosperous economy, therefore, children must be taken care of by nannies or early childhood education institutes. Therefore, the numbers of day-care centers and early childhood education institutes have been redoubled in recent years. To guarantee the quality of early childhood education institutes and the rights of children, early childhood education has gathered people's attention. "Good teachers make a strong nation" is an old Chinese proverb, which showed the importance of the quality of early childhood teachers as they will impose the initial influence to the whole lives of children (Carol & Nita,1990 ; Shi,1999).
What professional knowledge should an excellent teacher acquire? From the teaching model designed by educators, it should include: analyzing students' attributes, deciding teaching goals, editing or choosing teaching materials, choosing suitable teaching media, guiding students to give feedback, and teaching evaluations (Qin, 2004). Apart from these, how to choose an appropriate teaching media to suit with the nature of teaching materials and professional knowledge and skills for applying teaching aids in teaching. Early childhood educator, Montessori (1870-1952), suggested an early childhood education environment should be equipped with three elements: a fine environment, excellent teachers, and suitable teaching aids. He argued an excellent teacher not only has to look after children but to design a fine environment and also to apply different teaching skills (such as changing teaching methods, designing and choosing appropriate teaching aids), so as to nurture holistically developed children. Wu (1997) also believed teachers can not teach by mouths only, they should apply multimedia to cooperate with their teaching. By providing visual, audio, and tactual sensational experiences, teachers can inspire students' learning motivation and produce excellent teaching results. Therefore, teachers should acquire respectable professional knowledge, such as: excellent expressive ability; able to understand students' attributes; knowing how to cooperate teaching methods with suitable teaching aids; estimating if teaching aids are suitable for students' to handle and operate; evaluating if teaching aids match teaching situation; and if time allowance is sufficient, etc.
While teaching the "Early Childhood Teaching Aids Design and Manufacture" course, the researcher of this paper investigated early childhood teachers currently working for early childhood education institutes, and found the number of people applying teaching aids were far fewer than expectation. This was particularly obvious on those self-manufacturing teaching aids. One of the research objectives was to investigate the reasons behind the situation mentioned above. Apart from this, there are very few references relating to the research of early childhood teachers applying teaching aids. Domestic research papers mainly focused on research of using teaching aids in teaching at elementary school stage (Chang, 2005; Chou, 2005; Zhong, 2004). It was difficult to find a relevant paper on the research of using teaching aids at early childhood stage. Since the application of teaching aids can promote learning performance of children, and it is one of the essential teaching professional equipments for early childhood teachers, plus the lack of relevant literatures on the research of this issue, this led to the second objective of the research.
This research aimed to investigate behavior intention to apply teaching aids in teaching of early childhood teachers. Based on the above research motivation, the objectives of the research are listed as follows:
1. To understand functional cognition of early childhood teachers while using teaching aids in teaching.
2. To understand the environmental conditions provided by early childhood education institutes to early childhood teachers.
3. To investigate the cognition of self-efficacy and behavior intention of early childhood teachers for using teaching aids in teaching.
4. To investigate differences in environmental conditions of teaching aids provided by the institutes where the teachers with different background were working.
5. To investigate the relation of self-efficacy and behavior intention of early childhood eachers using teaching aids in teaching.
6. To conclude and make suggestions based on the finding, and to provide references to elevant institutes and teachers for teaching aids application.
Early childhood teachers
The early childhood teachers mentioned in this research were those teachers or childcare workers working at legally registered public or private kindergartens or day-care centers.
The term "teaching aids" means teaching equipments used to enhance teaching performance and to facilitate learners' cognition and …
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Publication information: Article title: Early Childhood Teachers' Behavior Intention to Apply Teaching Aids. Contributors: Kuo, Chuen-Tzay - Author. Journal title: Journal of Instructional Psychology. Volume: 37. Issue: 2 Publication date: June 2010. Page number: 170+. © 2009 George Uhlig Publisher. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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