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

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
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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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Le Mare, Lucy
Thesis advisor: Winne, Philip
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etd10596_HHammerman-Lapidot.pdf 5.28 MB

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