Linking Early Childhood Teachers' Characteristics to their Perceptions of Students' Abilities and Responsiveness to Online Professional Development

Furnari, Emily, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Kinzie-Berdel, Mable, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Whittaker, Jessica, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

With this dissertation, I investigate the associations between early childhood teachers’ characteristics (i.e., demographics, beliefs, and skills), and (1) their perception of students’ abilities, (2) their engagement and learning in a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC), and (3) their use and perceptions of online curricular supports. I begin with a linking statement, in which I describe the rationale for this three-manuscript dissertation, and the conceptual links among the three manuscripts. In the first manuscript, I examine teacher characteristics (i.e., demographics, beliefs, and skills) and student characteristics that are related to pre-kindergarten (pre-k) teachers’ perceptions of students’ mathematics abilities. With the second manuscript, I examine the association between early childhood teacher characteristics (i.e., demographic and professional backgrounds, as well as psychological beliefs), and their engagement and learning in a MOOC focused on effective teacher-child interactions. Finally, in the third manuscript, I examine associations between pre-k teachers’ characteristics (i.e., demographic backgrounds, readiness for professional development, teacher-child interaction quality, and technology comfort and habits), and their use, and perceptions, of online curricular supports provided as part of an intervention for early childhood mathematics and science education.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
instructional technology, teacher education, professional development, early childhood education, online learning
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