How does teaching experience affect attitudes towards literacy learning and teaching in the early years?

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Abstract

Teachers bring a complex array of beliefs and attitudes to the teaching of literacy. The purpose of the study reported in this article was to investigate the nature of teacher attitudes towards the learning and teaching of writing in the first year of school and to identify any broad underlying attitudinal dimensions. The secondary aim was to examine the influence of experience on these attitudinal dimensions. Government school teachers (n=228), from two Australian states, were surveyed using an instrument consisting of attitude statements which related to the learning and teaching of early literacy and more specifically early writing. An exploratory factor analysis was undertaken which indicated that, although most items appeared to be unrelated, a set of eight items coalesced to form a scale referred to as Teacher Attitudes towards Language, Thinking and Scaffolding. Analyses of variance were conducted to examine the relationship between teaching experience in general as well as specific early years teaching experience with the teacher attitude measure as the dependent variable. General teaching experience was not found to be significantly related to teacher attitude but increased amounts of early years teaching experience were found to significantly relate to support for a Vygotskian approach to the learning and teaching of writing in the first year of school. The outcomes identify the potential impact of accrued early years experience on teacher attitudes towards the learning and teaching of literacy to young children. While many of the teacher attitudes appeared to be disparate, the identified dimension indicates that there may be a consistent pattern of attitudes related to a Vygotskian approach to learning and teaching early writing. A second implication may be that longer periods of early years teaching experience may foster positive attitudestowards a Vygotskian teaching approach more quickly than general teaching experience in other settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-293
Number of pages13
JournalIssues in Educational Research
Volume21
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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