Type of Document Dissertation Author Oren, Meral Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-07102006-235359 Title Child Temperament, Gender, Teacher-Child Relationship, and Teacher-Child Interactions Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Childhood Education, Reading and Disability Services, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title ITHEL JONES Committee Chair CHARLES WOLFGANG Committee Member SANDE MILTON Committee Member VICKIE LAKE Committee Member Keywords
- Gender Differences in Teacher-Child Relationships
- Early Childhood Education
- Teacher Talk
- Individual Differences
Date of Defense 2006-06-29 Availability unrestricted AbstractCHILD TEMPERAMENT, GENDER, TEACHER-CHILD RELATIONSHIP, AND TEACHER-CHILD INTERACTIONS
Name: Meral Oren
Department: Childhood Education, Reading, and Disability Services
Major Professor: Ithel Jones
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Term Degree Awarded: Summer, 2006
This study examined the relationships between child temperament, gender, teacher-child relationships, and teacher-child interactions. Children’s temperament and teacher-child relationships were assessed by teacher ratings. Teacher-child interactions were assessed through natural observations during free play/centers time. The sample consisted of 61 (29 boys and 32 girls) 4- to 5-year-old children who attended one of the four classrooms which participated in the study. The preliminary analyses revealed classroom differences in child temperament, teacher-child relationships, and teacher-child interactions.
The results indicated that the temperament factor, Task Orientation was related to closeness of teacher-child relationship. Children with high task orientation had closer relationships with their teachers, while children with low task orientation, who are more active, distractible and less persistent, had less close relationships with their teachers. Reactivity was the most important temperament factor affecting conflictual relationships.
The findings also revealed gender differences in teacher-child relationships. One of the teachers reported greater closeness in her relationships with girls than boys. Two of the teachers reported more conflict in their relationships with boys than with girls. Furthermore,
boys were observed to receive more behavior management interactions from their teachers than girls.
Behavior management was the only teacher-child interaction category which was related to temperament in all of the classrooms. Task orientation was the most important temperament factor affecting behavior management. Other categories of teacher-child interactions’ relationships with temperament characteristics indicated classroom differences. The first teacher elaborated children with positive temperament characteristics more frequently than children with negative temperament characteristics. The second and third teachers initiated interactions more frequently with more reactive children. Reactivity was positively related with child initiated interactions and total interactions, elaborations, and praise in the fourth classroom. Therefore, there might be other factors affecting the relationship between temperament and teacher-child interactions; such as, teacher temperament, classroom structure, and curriculum.
This study confirms that differences in temperamental characteristics of preschool children are recognized by teachers and that temperamental characteristics are related to teachers’ relationships and interactions with children. Therefore, temperament, particularly task orientation factor, may be an important individual difference in preschool children’s experiences in a preschool classroom.
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