Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Vol. 34, Issue 3, p. 249–267, 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of the study was to determine the particular preservice and in-service variables that best explained variations in the participants’ confidence and competence beliefs.
The study was conducted at the Center to Inform Personnel Preparation Policy and Practice in Early Intervention and Preschool Education (CIPPPPEIPE) at the University of Connecticut.
The participants were 1,668 Part C early intervention practitioners’ and Part B(619) preschool special education practitioners in 45 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Data were collected through an online survey.
The findings reveal that preservice preparedness to work with young children and their families, appears to be an important indicator of one’s belief that she or he has acquired the knowledge and skills to effectively perform profession-related tasks.
In regard to in-service training and practitioners’ belief appraisals, the relationship found in this study is best understood by knowledge of which types of training activities were more and less intense in-service training.
The findings from this study have several implications for preservice and in-service professional preparation and research.
Routinely assessing feelings of preparedness during preservice professional preparation could be used as a metric for monitoring how well coursework, field placements, and other preservice experiences contribute to feelings of whether early childhood teachers and therapists believe they are being adequately trained to practice their crafts.
One implication for in-service training is the need for a shift in emphasis away from training that is likely to have little or no effect on changing or improving practices toward more in-depth in vivo training in the settings in which practitioners work to make the training immediately applicable to real-life challenges.
Another implication is the need to transform in-service training as currently offered in early intervention and preschool special education to align it with contemporary research (Bruder et al., 2009).
The authors conclude that this framework makes explicit the importance of the training–belief–practice relationship by highlighting the fact that the characteristics of preservice and in-service methods and practices contribute to students’ and practitioners’ beliefs that they are well prepared to practice their craft and can do so with a sense of mastery.