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Teacher Shyness and Self-Efficacy When Working with Shy Children in Early Childhood Education: A Mixed Methods Study
This study explored teachers' shyness levels and self-efficacy when working with shy children in preschool through third grade. An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was chosen to understand the central research question: How do the findings from the interviews and observations of early childhood education teachers provide an enhanced understanding of the quantitative results of the relationship between teacher shyness and self-efficacy for working with a particular shy child in the classroom? Shyness refers to an individual's feelings of uneasiness or hesitation when faced with a novel or unfamiliar situation (Coplan and Armer, 2007). Limited research has examined teacher shyness in the classroom and only three previous studies have looked at the link between teacher shyness and working with shy children (Coplan, Hughes, Bosacki, & Rose-Krasnor, 2011; Lao, Akseer, Bosacki, & Coplan, 2013; Swenson, 2015). Eighty early childhood education teachers were surveyed to explore the relationship between teacher shyness levels and self-efficacy for working with a teacher-nominated shy child in the classroom. Then, six preschool teachers, who were identified as having high and low levels of shyness, were observed in the classroom and interviewed regarding this shy child. Although no significant statistical relationship between teacher shyness and self-efficacy for working with shy children was found, three qualitative themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: Teacher Support, Teacher Comfort Level, and Differential Treatment. These themes highlight the importance of understanding the daily lives of shy children in the classroom, as well as the influence that teacher personality may have on shy children. Overall, this study found little relationship between teacher shyness and self-efficacy for working with a shy child, contrary to what previous research on this topic has found (e.g. Lao, et al., 2013; Coplan et al., 2011; Swenson, 2015). The current study adds to the limited research on this topic and captured some of the experiences of teachers as they worked with shy children. This study has future implications for teacher training and learning better strategies for interacting with shy children. However, more research is needed to explore the unique experiences that teachers have with shy children in the classroom.
Educational psychology|Personality psychology
McWilliams, Sara Elizabeth, "Teacher Shyness and Self-Efficacy When Working with Shy Children in Early Childhood Education: A Mixed Methods Study" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI13858503.