Changes in Beliefs Regarding Good Teachers and the Characteristics of Child Development of Primary Education Students
In a longitudinal study, we determine the beliefs of primary education students regarding the factors of academic achievement, good teachers, and the developmental characteristics of children, and we present which experiences mostly shape these beliefs. The same group of students (N = 59) completed the same questionnaire at the beginning of their first year and then at the end of their postgraduate studies. At both measurements, the students stated that the pupils themselves are the most responsible for their academic achievement (approximately 33%). At the beginning of the study, the students mostly showed idealised beliefs regarding what makes a good teacher, such as he/she is self-controlled and calm in all situations; he/she likes all children equally, etc. At the end, the results showed a reshaping of most idealised beliefs about what makes good teachers towards more realistic ones. Regarding the developmental characteristics of children, at the beginning and at the end of
their studies the students had similar beliefs that heredity and environment contribute to an individual’s development. At the end of their studies, the students are significantly less convinced that experience from an early age decisively influences their further development, that there are no major differences in cognitive abilities of pupils of the same class, that
a child who knows a lot of information is clever, and that school is not a place for the expression of emotions. According to the students, direct experiences in the classroom have the most significant influence on the beliefs among all the factors that we have examined in the study.
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