Date of Award

Spring 5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Hollie G. Filce

Committee Chair Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Rose Jones

Committee Member 2 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 3

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. Sandra Manning

Committee Member 5

Dr. Marybeth Evans

Abstract

A study of the relationships between emotional understanding, the dispositional attributes to think critically, receptiveness to new learning and willingness to change using structural equation modeling was conducted. Data from 186 preprimary teachers were analyzed to confirm the relationships between the constructs yielding four key findings addressing the individual and collective relationships between the variables expressed. Specifically, the findings and interpretations of this study produced the following conclusions: 1) one’s willingness to change may stem directly from the individual’s emotional understandings; 2) there is a strong relationship between emotional understanding and critical thinking dispositions; 3) receptiveness to new learning precedes one’s willingness to change; and 4) there is a statistically significant relationship between the interactions of emotional understanding, critical thinking dispositions, receptiveness to new learning and willingness to change. Overall, a strong relationship was revealed between the constructs explored. The recommendations drawn from the findings serve to foster consideration of the variables that are important when addressing preprimary teacher learning and willingness to change. The recommendations further suggest that if the aim is to meaningfully impact quality early childhood preschool experiences and provide germane training for teachers, a deeper analysis is needed of the attributes and quality of preprimary teachers as well as the means by which we teach teachers.

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