Understanding the Gaps Between Turkish Teachers' Beliefs and Practices for Dealing With Preschoolers' Peer Relationship Problems

Sendil C. O., Erden F.

EARLY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT, vol.30, pp.608-638, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Research Findings: This study explores the beliefs, self-reported practices, and observed practices of Turkish preschool teachers toward children's peer relationship problems as well as the gap between their beliefs and practices. Five female teachers of 5-year-old children were selected as participants for this multiple case study. Approximately 79 hr of observation was conducted on the children's daily routines and activities in a natural classroom environment, which specifically included the teachers' problem-solving strategies while confronting peer relationship problems. The participants were also interviewed regarding their beliefs and strategies for solving peer relationship problems. The findings of this qualitative investigation indicated that the teachers' beliefs and self-reported practices included both teacher- and child-related factors. However, the observed practices included several teacher-initiated strategies; child-initiated strategies appeared, albeit less than teacher-initiated ones. This affirms the teachers' stress on children's role in managing peer problems. Although some of the teacher practices and beliefs were consistent, certain inconsistencies may indicate the presence of external constraints. Practice or Policy: The results of this study highlight the importance of teacher education programs providing preservice and in-service teachers with the knowledge and skills required to understand children's peer relationships, guide their interactions, and apply appropriate intervention strategies for various peer relationship problems.