Early childhood teachers in Lebanon : beliefs and practices
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between the beliefs and practices of Lebanese early childhood teachers and whether they differ in relation to school’s socioeconomic status, class size, grade level, extent of teachers’ educational background, their teaching experience or other situational factors. The study is comprised of 135 preschool and kindergarten teachers who responded to a questionnaire that is based on the Teachers Questionnaire devised by Charlesworth et al. (1991; 1993). Twenty – one schools representing part of the private schools in Lebanon were purposively selected based on their socioeconomic status and their regional diversity. Six participants were interviewed using semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions. Eighteen teachers were observed using the CPI inventory (Hyson et al, 1991) to compare self-reported classroom practices with actual observed practices. Factor analysis revealed seven factors related to appropriate and inappropriate self-reported beliefs and eight factors related to appropriate and inappropriate selfreported practices. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) showed a moderate association between Lebanese early childhood teachers’ developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices (r= 0.47, p=0.001). A stronger correlation was found between teachers’ self-reported inappropriate beliefs and practices (r=0.62, p=0.001). The findings were consistent with previous studies done in the United States. When observed, teachers’ beliefs appeared more developmentally appropriate, but they follow a more developmentally inappropriate practice. Appropriate and inappropriate beliefs and practices can be predicted by certain teacher characteristics and school characteristics. Multivariate Analysis (MANOVA) revealed that teachers’ level of general education, training, age, salary, and parent’s and principal’s support were related to beliefs and practices of teachers. In addition, teachers’ beliefs and practices significantly differ depending on school’s socioeconomic status, class size, and grade level they teach in. Table summaries, interview data and classroom observation supported much of the information gathered through the questionnaire.