Views of teacher candidates on their preparedness and motivation to teach pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten
Elementary and Early Childhood Education
In the US state of Georgia, teachers licensed to teach children from birth through Kindergarten (B–K, ages 0–5) or pre-Kindergarten (pre-K) to Grade 5 (p-5, ages 4–10) can teach pre-K and K in the public school system. Concerns have been raised about the unequal job opportunities for B–K candidates in the public school system because of the conflicting nature of certification for grade ranges and the preparedness of p-5 candidates to teach pre-K. The perceptions of these candidates about the value of B–K certification and their preparedness and willingness to teach pre-K and K were studied. Of 149 teacher candidates, 32 B–K and 117 p-5 candidates responded to the survey. Using chi-square analysis, statistically significant differences between the two groups were observed in every variable studied, except the candidates’ willingness to teach K. Preliminary qualitative results showed that the B–K candidates’ motivation to teach pre-K was more child-oriented than that of the p-5s. Significance of the findings is discussed in terms of the importance of child-centered reasons for teaching along with the teacher efficacy theory, which maintains that teachers’ motivational structure can be built upon their preparedness for teaching and value expectancy of behaviors.
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