Teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards children affect their teaching, and these beliefs are subject to cultural influences. A study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly explored the beliefs and attitudes of kindergarten teachers in China towards children’s classroom social behaviours.
Yan Li at Shanghai Normal University and colleagues examined 672 Shanghai kindergarten teachers’ responses to a series of short hypothetical scenarios depicting children with different behaviours when interacting with their peers – for instance, shyness, unsociability, physical aggression and relational aggression. Teachers were asked to rate their tolerance and negative emotions towards children in the scenarios, and to predict the children’s academic performance and whether their peers would respond negatively.
The study found the following:
- The most negative views were expressed towards scenarios depicting physical aggression.
- When children in a hypothetical scenario were boys, tolerance towards physical aggression was even less.
- More tolerance was expressed for shyness compared to aggressive behaviours.
- Shy children were predicted to receive most negative responses from their peers.
- Shy children were also predicted to be less likely to achieve academic success than relationally aggressive children.
The authors suggest that these attitudes among Shanghai’s teachers may reflect the influence of Western culture.
Source ：Li, Y., Coplan, R. J., Archbell, K. A., Bullock, A., & Chen, L. (2016). Chinese kindergarten teachers’ beliefs about young children’s classroom social behavior. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36, 122–132.