A cultural perspective on professional beliefs of childcare teachers


Preschool is an institution for cultural preservation, which responds to social change. Guided by this assumption, this study used a recent video of Chinese preschool in conjunction with the questionnaire from Preschool in Three Cultures, a study by Joseph Tobin and his colleagues in the 1980s, to examine the cultural and professional beliefs of three groups of U.S. early childhood educators (preservice, inservice non-Head Start, and inservice Head Start). We examined participants' cultural beliefs, critical comments on the preschool, and group differences in their comments. Results show that participants' beliefs about necessary qualities for a teacher remained stable from the 1980s in the U.S. But a shift occurred in beliefs about why society needs preschools. More education and longer employment were linked significantly to more critical comments of Chinese practice. There was a marked difference in professional and cultural beliefs by educators' group affiliations. © Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006.

Publication Title

Early Childhood Education Journal