The contributions of temperament and theory of ‎mind to teaching abilities in early childhood

Date created: 
2018-02-22
Identifier: 
etd10596
Keywords: 
Peer teaching
Peer tutoring
Theory of mind
Temperament
Early childhood ‎education
Cognitive development ‎
Abstract: 

Peer tutoring is an effective evidence-based practice commonly used in early childhood ‎settings. Theoretically, to teach effectively the child must understand particular features of ‎the student's mind, an ability referred to as Theory of Mind (ToM). Despite a conceptual ‎connection between ToM and teaching ability, few studies have empirically examined this ‎relationship. ‎In addition, effective teaching is likely supported by certain dispositions that ‎enable the teacher to interact in a regulated and positive way with the student. In ‎childhood, dispositions such as these are captured under the rubric of temperament. This ‎study investigated the contributions of ToM and temperament to children's ability to teach ‎another.‎Children aged 3-5 years (24 girls; 28 boys) engaged in 2 teaching tasks in which they ‎taught an age appropriate children’s game to an adult. Children also completed 3 tasks ‎assessing ToM and their parents completed the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire, a ‎measure of child temperament. ‎Results showed that although performance on basic ToM tasks did not relate to teaching ‎behaviour, performance on the advanced ToM task did. Children who scored higher on ‎the advanced ToM task demonstrated better teaching skills. In addition, several ‎temperament dispositions were associated with children’s teaching performance. Activity ‎level was negatively associated with teaching ability, while attentional ability was ‎positively associated with teaching scores. Ability to suppress pre-potent responses was ‎also positively associated with teaching behaviour. In a regression model including ‎temperament dimensions and ToM scores as predictors of teaching only the temperament ‎dimension of attention was statistically detectable. ‎

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lucy Le Mare
Philip Winne
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Statistics: