Early Childhood Educators' Perceptions of Professional Competence in Preschool Settings

Open Access
Author:
Wang, Huei-Ling
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
September 15, 2005
Committee Members:
  • Thomas Daniel Yawkey, Committee Chair
  • Jamie Myers, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • John W Tippeconnic Iii, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • self-desired competence
  • current competence status
  • professional competence
Abstract:
The overall purpose of this study was to examine Taiwanese in-service educators¡¦ perceptions of current status of and self-desire for professional competence in preschool settings. Preschool educators provide daily in teaching and caring for young children, professional competency helps educators to be more comfortable and confident working with children and families. Information on the educators¡¦ views can be used as a reference for their professional growth, and by higher education institutions and in-service training programs in designing ideal curricula to ensure proper learning and developmental outcomes for young children. A survey questionnaire designed by the investigator served as the research instrument for this study. A sample of 211 in-service educators who enrolled in the ECEC department at the Meiho Institute of Technology in Pingtung, Taiwan, was selected for this study. Data gathered were analyzed using the following statistical procedures: (a) Descriptive Statistics; (b) One-Way ANOVA; (c) t-test; (d) the Tukey-HSD post hoc test; and (e) bivariate correlation. Major results included (1) in-service educators¡¦ perceived professional competence was higher on the self-desired competence dimension than on the current competence status dimension, (2) educators¡¦ characteristics, including age, years of teaching experience, numbers of conference attended, and school type did play a role in influencing educators¡¦ perceived current competence status, (3) only one of the educators¡¦ characteristics, years of teaching experience, was a significant factor in educators¡¦ perceived self-desire for professional competence, and (4) when educators¡¦ perceived current competence status was at the higher level, revealing that educators who had a higher level of self-desired competence development related to ECEC. Based on the results, the researcher suggested in four sections¡V¡Vhigher education institutions, public policy, early childcare institutions, and educators¡¦ professional development¡V¡Vwhat types of efforts could be made toward enhancing the educators¡¦ professional competence and self-desired for professional development. It is expected that all of these areas will work together to maximize the positive impact on teacher competence. Finally, recommendations are provided concerning future research that could improve educators¡¦ professional competencies in Taiwan.