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Jordanian early childhood teachers' perspectives toward science teaching and learning

The purpose of this study was to examine Jordanian early childhood teachers' perspectives toward science teaching and learning and understand the contextual lived science experiences as realized by teachers in early childhood settings. The study has utilized mixed methods approach. An Arabic-validated version of the Early Childhood Teachers' Attitudes toward Science Teaching questionnaire was completed by 101 early childhood teachers who were randomly selected from preschools and kindergartens in Zarqa city; one of the biggest and highly populated cities in Jordan. Follow-up in-depth interviews were then conducted with 15 teachers who were randomly selected from the teachers whose permission was granted through collected questionnaires. Findings of the quantitative part of this study indicate that Jordanian early childhood teachers hold, in general, positive attitudes toward science. None of the variables (i.e., number of years of experience, qualification level of the teachers and number of science courses taken) had significant effect on the teachers' attitudes. Despite the reported positive attitudes, most teachers in this study reported that they allocate an average of less than 30 minutes per week to the teaching and learning of science in their early childhood classrooms. Qualitative data analysis helped in contextualizing the questionnaire findings. Three major themes emerged through constant comparative analysis of the interviews' transcripts: comfort and confidence in light of contextual experience, science instructional practices, and reasons behind the limited instructional time dedicated to science. This research paper ends by considering the role of the continuous professional development and pre-service teacher preparation programs in upgrading early childhood teachers' attitudes toward science teaching and learning. (author abstract)
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