Date of Conferral
Joe Anne Hinrichs
Limited information exists on early childhood first year teachers' training for accommodations for diverse student abilities in classrooms. This mixed methods sequential explanatory study examined the self-efficacy of 28 first year early childhood teachers from Midwest urban schools. Vygotsky's social learning theory and Gardner's multiple intelligences were used as the conceptual framework. Email survey data were collected and analyzed using a t-test to answer the quantitative questions on the relationship between perceived efficacy and type of and amount of special education training provided in preservice programs. Qualitative questions on self-efficacy to instruct diverse students within the regular classroom were examined using interviews with 28 first year teachers and analyzed for patterns and themes. Quantitative results indicated no relationship between perceived efficacy and amount of special education training provided in preservice programs. Qualitative analysis revealed that teachers with perceived high efficacy were more prepared through university preparation to work with diverse students in the classroom than those teachers who perceived themselves to have low efficacy with such students. This study contributes to social change by providing insight into requirements for effective preservice diversity training of early childhood teachers. The qualitative aspect of this study supports other research for more special education training that would be beneficial for preservice early childhood teachers along with better placements in field experiences that include inclusive classrooms. Higher education can improve teacher education programs by implementing such changes that will improve education for all children and make early childhood educators better able to attend to all students' needs.