Author: Hammerman-Lapidot, Hilla
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.
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Thesis advisor: Le Mare, Lucy
Thesis advisor: Winne, Philip
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