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Title: Understanding belief systems of early childhood teachers: an ethnographic study in Mumbai
Researcher: Sengupta, Joyeeta
Guide(s): Datta, Vrinda
Keywords: Social Sciences
Teacher education
Upload Date: 15-Sep-2011
University: Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Completed Date: 2008
Abstract: Early childhood education has been given its due importance due to changes in the global and Indian context. In India, the prevalence of an explosion of services in the field; the lack of regulatory mechanisms, especially in the private sector and the increasing number of children in the early years being exposed to some form of education created the background for the study. The teacher has long been considered the centrepiece for improving quality of services but rarely has her voice been valued. This ethnographic study focused on ten teachers teaching in nursery classrooms in private centres across Mumbai. The objective of the research was to understand belief systems i.e. beliefs, attitudes and values of the teachers. The attempt was to capture descriptive account of teachers telling their own stories and reflecting upon their own classroom practice. Data was collected through participant observation within classrooms to capture practices, and in-depth interviews. Video recording was used to initiate reflective dialogues to understand connections between beliefs and practices. The resulting profiles of the teachers were analyzed for patterns and themes capturing the belief systems regarding children, learning, their profession and the activity of teaching. Results indicated that: (1) teaching was a way of life for the teachers with beliefs about children linked to their maternal roles; (2) although learning to teach was influenced by past experiences, it was highly dependent on workplaces / school system; and (3) pedagogical practices were driven by belief systems about the goals for children. A combination of practices (based on different perspectives) was used in the classrooms. The study highlighted the role of the socio-cultural context on choosing the profession, influences on teaching, beliefs about children, curriculum and pedagogy. It showcased the difficulty of classroom teachers to articulate the theoretical and pedagogical connections between their beliefs and practices, hence, demonstrating the complexity of reflection. The conclusions confirmed existing research on the influences of teacher’s belief systems on their classroom practice. It drew attention to the strengths of teachers – their passion for teaching, the importance of values, and their caring attitude. It acknowledged the vulnerabilities in terms of the confusion in pedagogical practices, ideological stands and the dependence on school systems rather than formal training. The study suggested the imperative need for all stakeholders to take ownership and build partnerships so that teaching gains the professional status it so deserves. An alternative, emergent model of teacher education has been presented.
Pagination: viii, 286p.
Appears in Departments:School of Social Sciences

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01_title.pdfAttached File62.64 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
02_acknowledgement.pdf69.88 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
03_dedication.pdf87.74 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
04_preamble.pdf91.09 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
05_abstract.pdf52.1 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
06_contents.pdf56.67 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
07_chapter 1.pdf190.54 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
08_chapter 2.pdf205.93 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
09_chapter 3.pdf215.06 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
10_chapter 4.pdf3.19 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
11_chapter 5.pdf176.79 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
12_references.pdf238.15 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
13_appendix.pdf121.18 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

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