Factors influencing preschool teachers' perceptions of behavior support strategies for addressing young children's emotional and behavioral problems Open Access
Factors Influencing Preschool Teachers’ Perceptions of Behavior Support Strategies for Addressing Young Children’s Emotional and Behavioral ProblemsPreschool teachers play an important role in the process of early identification and intervention for young children who are at-risk for or have emotional and behavioral problems. However, various factors may impede or promote preschool teachers in initiating the process of early identification and intervention for emotional and behavioral problems. This study focused on positive behavior support (PBS) as a system approach to preschool teachers’ identification and intervention for emotional and behavioral problems in young children.This study used quantitative methods to investigate early childhood education factors that influence preschool teachers’ perceptions of the importance and feasibility of behavior support strategies for addressing young children’s emotional and behavioral problems. Participants were 141 early childhood general and special education teachers who taught 3-5 year-old classrooms in a large, middle Atlantic state during the 2014-2015 school years. The teachers completed a paper-based comprehensive survey that consisted of demographic sections and several validated measures including the Behavior Support Questionnaire. Data were analyzed to examine relative relations among program, teacher, and child factors and the teachers’ perceptions of behavior support strategies, to identify which potential factors (program setting, teaching beliefs, and severity of problem behaviors) best predict the teachers’ perceptions of behavior support strategies, and to determine whether there were significant differences in the perceptions of general education teachers and those of special education teachers regarding behavior support strategies.Statistically significant findings revealed that preschool teachers across early childhood education settings perceived behavior support strategies as important more than feasible, and that special education teachers perceived behavior support strategies as more important than general education teachers. The findings also showed that professional development, teacher age, and years of teaching experience seemed to influence teachers’ perceptions of the feasibility of behavior support strategies. Program setting appeared to influence teachers’ perceptions of the importance of behavior support strategies. Furthermore, the findings suggested that teaching beliefs tended to influence the teachers’ perceptions of both the importance and feasibility of behavior support strategies, and that the teaching beliefs by far were the strongest predictors of the teachers’ perceptions of the importance and feasibility of behavior support strategies.
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