Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 29, Issue 2 April 2008 , pages 146 – 156
This article describes preschool teachers' espoused mental models (EMMs) or, in other words, their na ve understanding of young children's learning. Our research goal was to examine differences within the teachers' EMMs regarding the minds and learning of young children from different cultural backgrounds. The subjects included 18 preschool teachers from the center of Israel, all of whom belonged to the mainstream cultural background and taught in the national school system.
Their classes consisted of 5- to 6-year-old children from the mainstream cultural group as well as children from Ethiopian immigrant families. We conducted individual semistructured interviews that were transcribed and analyzed to identify the original EMM structure. While analyzing the parts of the narratives that referred to Ethiopian children, we discovered a metacategory that did not exist in the original model: Culture. This finding contributes to the construct of espoused mental models for teachers of children from diverse populations.