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The relationship of beliefs about children, learning, power, and math instruction among preschool and kindergarten teachers

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Title:
The relationship of beliefs about children, learning, power, and math instruction among preschool and kindergarten teachers
Creator:
McConnaughey, Janyne A
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English
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xiv, 176 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Kindergarten teachers -- Attitudes ( lcsh )
Preschool teachers -- Attitudes ( lcsh )
Children ( lcsh )
Learning ( lcsh )
Power (Social sciences) ( lcsh )
Mathematics -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Children ( fast )
Kindergarten teachers -- Attitudes ( fast )
Learning ( fast )
Mathematics -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Power (Social sciences) ( fast )
Preschool teachers -- Attitudes ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 155-176).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
Janyne A. McConnaughey.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Resource Identifier:
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ocm75183457
Classification:
LD1193.E3 2006d M32 ( lcc )

Full Text
THE RELATIONSHIP OF BELIEFS ABOUT CHILDREN, LEARNING, POWER,
AND MATH INSTRUCTION AMONG PRESCHOOL
AND KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS
by
Janyne A. McConnaughey
B.A., Point LomaNazarene University, 1975
M.S., Southwest Missouri State University, 1984
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2006


2006 by Janyne A. McConnaughey
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree
By
Janyne A. McConnaughey
has been approved
by
Donna Wittmer
Alan Davis
Rodney Muth
(p/%l0(p
Date
Tom Umbel


McConnaughey, Janyne A. (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
THE RELATIONSHIP OF BELIEFS ABOUT CHILDREN, LEARNING, POWER,
AND MATH INSTRUCTION AMONG PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN
TEACHERS
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Donna Wittmer
ABSTRACT
The study investigated the relationship between prekindergarten and
kindergarten teachers beliefs about children (philosophical and theological), choices
of methodology (learning theory), and uses of power (classroom management) within
the context of mathematics instruction. Collection of data was through an online
survey, with participation elicited by email. The sample included teachers (n = 262)
from private (for and not for profit), public (including charter), and Christian schools.
Four scales measuring innocence to non-innocence, learning theory, use of
power, and methodology were developed and supported by factor analysis.
Evaluation of correlations between the scales with Pearson Correlation found the
following statistically significant results: Innocence and Power (two-tailed, r = .385,
p < .01), Innocence (beliefs about childrens innocence) and Learning (r = .291, p <
.01), Power and Learning (r = .593,/? < .01), Innocence and Methods (r = .273, p <
.01), Methods and Power (r = .482,/? < .01), Methods and Learning (r = .468,/? <
.01). Additional analyses provided an overview of the teachers and schools religious
affiliations and correlations with the Innocence Scale, alignment of methods with
NCTM Standards, influences on teachers choices, educational background, and years
teaching.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
Donna Wittmer


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to the children in my lifespecifically five boys, Taran,
Josiah, Daniel, and Nolan Magee along with my grandson, Sabien Kinchlow-
McConnaughey, who have waited for the day when my writing would be finished and
I could come out and play.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
My thanks go to my advisor, Donna Wittmer, and committee members, Alan
Davis, Rod Muth, and Tom Umbel who shared their time and expertise during every
phase of this process. Thanks also go to my colleagues Vemell Posey, Jan Duce, and
Marcia Ott who also assisted in their areas of expertise. A special thank you is
extended to my family and the Nazarene Bible College administration, faculty, staff,
and students who cheered me on every step of the way!


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures........................................................xii
Tables.........................................................xiv
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION..................................................1
Statement of the Problem..................................1
Theoretical Framework.....................................3
Research Question.........................................5
Methods...................................................5
Definition of Terms.......................................6
Limitations and Delimitations of the Study................8
Summary and Arrangement of Chapters.......................9
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.....................................11
Mathematical Abilities of Young Children.................11
Appropriate Math Content and Methods for Young Children.13
Teacher-Directed and Child-Initiated Learning...........14
Characteristics of Appropriate Math Curriculum..........16
The Mathematics Methods Course
17


Mathematics Classroom Experiences of Preservice Teachers..18
Effects of Transmission Methods on Preservice Teachers....20
Moving from a Transmission to Constructivist Viewpoint......22
Can Teachers Choices Change?..............................24
The Use of Power.............................................26
Overview of the Study of Power...............................27
The Use of Power Resulting in Capitulation.................28
The Use of Power Resulting in Willingness
to Follow or Engage........................................29
Implications of the Use of Power.............................30
Obedience to Authority.....................................31
The Development of Obedience...............................32
Power Relationships in the Classroom.........................33
Classroom Type A: The Teacher is the Authority/Power .....36
Classroom Type B: Teacher and Students
Share Authority/Power......................................40
Classroom Type C: The Child Holds the Authority/Power.....43
Learning Theory and Methodology in the Classroom.............44
Classroom Type A: Teacher-Directed Methodology ............45
Traditional Classroom...................................45
Direct Instruction......................................47
Classroom Type B: The Learning Community...................50
vm


Classroom Type C: Child-Initiated Methodology...........54
The Teachers Philosophical and Theological View of the Child... 56
Philosophy and Theology.................................59
Original Sin, Baptism, and Augustine.................60
Imago DeiImage of God and Augustine ................61
From Non-Innocence to Innocence.........................62
Non-Innocence........................................62
Innocence .......................................... 63
Between Non-Innocence and Innocence..................66
Effects of the Views....................................69
Parenting and/or Classroom Management ...............70
Teaching.............................................74
Conclusion................................................77
3. METHODOLOGY..................................................79
Research Design...........................................80
Sample .................................................80
Questionnaire Development and Data
Collection Procedures...................................82
Pilot Survey.........................................82
Survey Distribution..................................84
Response Rate...........................................85
IX


Demographic Data.
86
Geographic.................................................86
Types of Schools...........................................86
Teaching Levels, Experience, and Education Background......87
Religious Affiliation......................................89
Measurement..................................................90
Development of the Scales for Analysis.......................91
Descriptive Statistics for Innocence, Power,
Learning Theory, and Methods Scales........................99
Validity ..................................................99
Analysis of Scale Data ..................................100
Conclusion..................................................101
4. RESULTS ........................................................102
Descriptive Data Analysis ..................................102
Influences on Teaching....................................102
Math Skills ..............................................105
Teaching Methods..........................................106
Philosophy of Teaching....................................109
Correlational Analysis......................................110
Chi-Square Tests and Correlations for Scales..............110
Analysis of Four Scales and Religious Affiliation.........115
x


Conclusion
119
5. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS.........................121
Implications of Research .......................122
Implications for Math Education...............122
Implications of Teacher Beliefs ..............126
Implications for Christian Schools............129
The Christian School as a Community of Learners....132
Limitations of Study ..............................138
Summary and Recommendations for Future Study.......138
APPENDIX
A. QUESTIONNAIRE.....................................140
B. COVER LETTERS.....................................150
C. NCTM STANDARDS FOR PREKINDERGARTEN
THROUGH SECOND GRADE...............................152
D. INNOCENCE SCALE OF THEOLOGIANS
AND PHILOSOPHERS...................................153
E. DENOMINATIONAL HISTORY CHART......................154
REFERENCES ..............................................155
xi


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1.1 Theoretical framework of research ....................................4
2.1 Power research overview ..............................................29
2.2 Power continuum adapted for the classroom ............................34
3.1 Percentage of teachers with Bachelors degrees.........................88
3.2 Religious affiliation of teachers.....................................90
4.1 Box plots for comparison of correlation of innocence scale and
sequenced lessons and scripted lessons................................109
4.2 Scatter plots of correlations for innocence, power, learning, and
methods ...............................................................114
4.3 Religions/denominations by modem day groupings........................116
4.4 Box plot for correlation of religious
affiliation and innocence scale........................................119
5.1 Degree of satisfaction with math teaching methods.....................124
5.2 Degree of use for math activities or experiences that allow
children to construct their own methods for solving problems...........125
5.3 Degree of use for scripted lessons with questions/ answers,
drill, and/or flashcards ..............................................125
5.4 Comparison of two contrasting statements................................131
5.5 Acceptance of the classroom as a learning community.....................132
Xll


5.6 Responses for innocence of the child................................134
5.7 Consensus on view of learning in a
cultural/social setting.............................................136
X1U


LIST OF TABLES
Table
2.1 Variations in classroom structure ......................................35
3.1 Types of schools represented ...........................................87
3.2 Prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers...............................87
3.3 Length of teaching experience............................................87
3.4 Education levels of all who taught preschool.............................89
3.5 Questionnaire content....................................................92
3.6 Principle component matrix for view of the child.........................94
3.7 Reliability analysis for innocence scale.................................95
3.8 Principle component matrix for learning theory...........................96
3.9 Reliability analysis for learning theory scale...........................97
3.10 Principle component matrix for student-teacher
interactions (power).....................................................98
3.11 Reliability analysis for power scale.....................................98
3.12 Descriptive statistics for four scales...................................99
3.13 Reliability coefficients for four scales.................................99
4.1 Influences on teaching..................................................103
4.2 Influences of professional resources....................................104
xiv


4.3 Importance of math skills.............................................106
4.4 Methods used in the classroom.........................................107
4.5 Correlations of methods with the innocence scale......................108
4.6 Identified teaching philosophy........................................110
4.7 Count for innocence and power crosstabulations........................111
4.8 Chi-square table for innocence and power..............................Ill
4.9 Count for power and learning crosstabulations.........................111
4.10 Chi-square table for power and learning...............................112
4.11 Count for innocence and learning crosstabulations.....................112
4.12 Chi-square table for innocence and learning...........................112
4.13 Pearson correlation table for innocence, power, and learning scales..113
4.14 Pearson correlation table for methods,
innocence, power, and learning scales.................................115
4.15 ANOVA for religious affiliation and power, learning
Theory and innocence scales...........................................117
4.16 Student-Neumann Keuls post-hoc comparison for religious affiliations in
respect to innocence..................................................118
5.1 Variance in the religious groups beliefs about innocence..............134
xv


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Despite the joint recommendations from the National Council of Mathematics
(NCTM) and The National Association for the Education of the Young Child
(NAEYC) as to the type of methods that promote mathematical understanding for
young children (2002), transmission methods still dominate many classrooms
(Meuwissen, 2005). This is also true, in varying degrees, for the use of methods that
promote social development and community in the classroom (OBrien, 2000). Both
methodology and an appropriate classroom environment are necessary to develop a
community of learners that will conceptually build an understanding of mathematics
(Cooper & White, 2004). Yet, many teachers, even when presented with the research,
use methods that do not meet educational goals (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000;
Kennedy, 2005).
Statement of the Problem
The overarching purpose of this study is to provide a more complete picture of
the underlying influences on teachers instructional choices when teaching
mathematics in early childhood, prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. Many
factors influence teachers choices of methodology in the classroom. Teachers tend to
1


use traditional transmission methods with which they are familiar and comfortable
(Harper & Daane, 1998; Ricard, Brown, & Sanders. 2002; Stein, Silver and Smith,
1998). Teachers not trained in early childhood methods also tend to use teaching
strategies that are not developmentally appropriate for young children (File & Gullo,
2002). Standards driven teaching (Helm & Gronlund, 2000), school policies
(McDaniel, Isaac, Brooks, & Hatch, 2002), and curriculum (Deuink, 2004), also
influence teacher decisions.
Despite all these influences, ultimately the teacher decides what methods to
use when teaching math in the classroom (Maslovaty, 2000; Meuwissen, 2005; Orton,
1996; Raths; 2001, Spanneberg, 2001; Woolley & Woolley, 1999). Various studies
have examined the effects of teacher beliefs, including their effects on the choice of
action in moral decision making (Maslovaty, 2000), student learning (Orton, 1996),
and classroom management (Book & Putnam, 1992, Richardson & Fallona, 2001).
One theme throughout the literature is the importance of the teachers view of
the child (Kohn, 1996; Raths, 2001) but few researchers directly address the
philosophical and theological bases for those views (Adams, 2001; Berliner, 1997).
The purpose here is to expand this research literature as it applies to how teachers
views of the child affect instruction choicesspecifically the teachers philosophical
and theological views of the child and their relationship to methodology choices and
the ensuing use of power in the classroom. An understanding of the relationship
between beliefs and instructional choices will help teachers reflect upon their
2


practices in light of the research. As Yero (2001) states, because teachers cannot
help but teach what they believe, self-reflection will help them understand how their
beliefs influence the taught, learned, and implicit curriculum (para. 4).
Theoretical Framework
The basis for the Theoretical Framework for this study is the literature in the
fields of mathematics education, learning theory, leadership, psychology, and
theology as they apply to teachers views of the child, choices of methodology, and
uses of power in the classroom. A synthesis of the literature reveals three types of
classrooms (referred to as Types A, B, C in this study) in which choices made by
teachers follow distinct patterns. These choices involve the use of power (as
displayed in classroom management choices) and teaching methodologies (based on
behaviorist/direct instruction, social constructivist, and developmentally appropriate
constructivist learning theories). The philosophical and/or theological view of the
child falls into similar patterns when viewed from the perspective of the adults belief
in the innocence or non-innocence of the child. This study proposes that, while other
influences on teachers choices exist, the relationships between the view of the child,
learning theory, and the use of power is an important piece in understanding teacher
decision-making (see Figure 1.1 for Theoretical Framework of Study which will be
explained and developed in Chapter 2).
3


Continuum of Power-types in the Classroom
Question:
Who is in charge of Teacher Teacher and Students Student
learning?
Subtype of Coercion Authority Influence
power
Interaction Force Dialectical Negotiation Motivational Facilitation
Result Capitulation Voluntary Agreement Enqaqement by Choice
Models of Teacher Teacher Teacher
Power V7 w A
V Student M Student lA Student
Classroom Type A Classroom Type B Classroom Type C
Learning Behaviorism Social Constructivism Cognitive/developmental
Theory -Skinner -Vgotsky -Piaget
Methodology Teacher-Directed Community of Child-Initiated Learning
Learning Learners Emphasis on individual
Transmission Scaffolding child
Direct Instruction ZPD-Zone of Free choice
Mastery Learning Proximal Teacher Sets Up
Large Group Development Environment for
Instruction Interactive Problem Learning
Rote Solving Learning Based on
Memorization Developmental Stage
Drill and Prior Knowledge
View of the The child is The child leams while The child, provided with an
Child as a dependent on the being part of the appropriate environment
Learner teacher for control, classroom learning will make choices that
motivation, and community result in learning
learning
Theological The child is bom with The child has a sin The child is bom without
View of the original sin and is nature, but also retains sin and is innocent. The
Child sinful or non- the image of God, child retains the image of
innocent. The image though marred. God.
of God is Destroyed
Figure 1.1 Theoretical framework of research
4


Research Question
Does a (statistically significant) relationship exist between a teachers view of
the child and the teachers choice of instructional methodology and learning theory
and use of power in the classroom?
Methods
The primary purpose of this study was to determine if a statistically significant
relationship exits between a teachers view of the child, the teachers choice of
instructional methodology and learning theory, and the teachers use of power in the
classroom. The data for the study were collected with an online questionnaire that
included demographic data for the teachers and schools, an overview of teaching
practices, and three sets of statements (Learning Theory, Student Teacher
InteractionsUse of Power, and The View of the Child) which the teachers were
asked to state agreement or disagreement on a five point scale.
While the focus population of this study was the Christian school
prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers, the research subjects include teachers
from Christian, private, and public schools.
A questionnaire provided demographic information as well as information
about classroom teaching methods and the teachers views (see Appendix A). Three
sets of agree/disagree statements provided data for the development of scales for the
purpose of correlation: Learning Theory, Power, and Innocence. Factor analysis was
used to develop the scales and determine reliability. Chi-square analysis and
5


correlations determined relationships between the scales and between the scales and
other methodological data obtained from the questionnaire.
Definitions of Terms
The definitions of the variables used for analysis for the purpose of this study
are as follows:
1. The View of the Child refers to the beliefs that teachers have as to the
innocence and non-innocence of the child.
2. Learning Theory refers to developed theories of learningspecifically
behaviorist, social constructivist, and constructivist.
3. Methodology refers to teaching strategiesspecifically transmission, rote
learning, direct-instruction memorization, drill, small and large group
instruction, problem solving, staging the environment for learning, and child-
initiated choices.
4. Use of Power refers to The potential or capacity to influence the behavior of
some other person or persons. Compliance gaining, or behavior alteration, is
the realization of that potential (Barraclough & Stewart, 1992, p. 4). Within
this context, the use of power includes two categories: The use of power
resulting in capitulation and the use of power resulting in willingness to
follow or engage.
5. Religious Affiliation refers to major religious affiliations (i.e., Christian,
Jewish, Orthodox, Islam, Buddhist) and Christian denominations (i.e.,
6


Assembly of God, Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene) were
used in this study (see Chapter 4 for complete list).
For the purpose of this study, the following definitions of schools are adapted
from the National Center for Educational Statistics (2005):
1. Catholic school is a private school over which a Roman Catholic church group
exercises some control or provides some form of subsidy.
2. Charter school is a self-governing, publicly funded school that, in accordance
with an enabling statute, has been granted a charter exempting it from selected
state or local rules and regulations.
3. Christian school is a religious school based on Christian beliefs. It may be part
of a church ministry or independently administered (usually designated as
non-denominational).
4. Kindergarten is the first year of elementary school, and provides a beginning
educational experience for children ages 5-6. It may be part of a public or
private school.
5. Prekindergarten is preprimary education for children ages 4-5 who have not
yet entered kindergarten and it is usually part of a preschool program.
6. Preschool is a school enrolling children who are 5 years old or younger. It is
organized to provide educational experience under professionally qualified
teachers in cooperation with parents during the year or years immediately
preceding kindergarten (usually includes prekindergarten).
7


7. Private school is a school whose curriculum and operation are independent of
religious orientation and influence in all but incidental ways.
8. Public school is an institution that provides educational services for at least
one of grades K-12 (or comparable ungraded levels), and receives public
funds as primary support.
9. Religious private school is a school with a designated religious orientation or
purpose, which is not supported primarily by public funds. (This includes
Christian and Catholic schools, also defined separately.)
Limitations and Delimitations of the Study
As will be explained in Chapter 3, communication with the sample population
was by electronic mail. Electronic mail addresses were obtained by eliciting
participation from personal and professional contacts who either completed the
survey or sent it on to prekindergarten or kindergarten teachers, and Internet Searches
of private, faith-based, and public association websites and information directories
One limitation of this study was that I assumed that all respondents had
Internet access and electronic mail accounts. An initial concern was that a lack of
Internet accessibility among preschool teachers might result in an imbalance between
the number of respondents for Prekindergarten and kindergarten. This was not the
case, as Prekindergarten teachers constituted almost exactly 50% of the respondents
(teachers who had taught prekindergarten, n= 188; teachers who had taught
kindergarten, n = 189; teachers who had taught at both levels, n= 115).
8


Another limitation was that because of the nature of an online survey, there
was no possible way to ensure the identity of the teacher completing the survey,
though the likelihood of anyone else completing the survey sent to individual teachers
or through administrators would seem unlikely.
Delimitations were the following restrictions which I imposed on the study:
(a) All data was collected electronically and downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet,
eliminating data entry errors; (b) The availability of the online survey was limited to
three weeks; and (c) Survey results were limited to teachers who indicated they
presently or previously had taught either prekindergarten or kindergarten classes.
Summary and Arrangement of the Chapters
As this introduction to the paper has shown, this study merges three areas of
study, teachers view of the child (theological and philosophical), teachers choices of
methodology (learning theory) and teachers uses of power (classroom management).
Chapter 2 develops the Theoretical Framework introduced in this chapter. The stage
for the study begins with a review of the mathematics education and power literature.
Development of the three classroom types, based on learning theory and
methodology, builds upon that foundation. The final section gives a historical
overview of the philosophical and theological view of the child and their effects on
parenting/classroom management strategies and teaching.
Chapter 3 provides an overview of the methodology used in developing and
administrating the questionnaire to prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers.
9


Chapter 4 provides the results and analysis of the research, followed by conclusions,
implications, and suggestions for future study in Chapter 5.
10


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
The purpose of this research study is to examine the underlying influences on
teachers choices of methodology in their classrooms. The specific context for the
study is math education for prekindergarten and kindergarten students. This first part
of this review of the literature provides background in both appropriate mathematics-
teaching methods for young children and issues involved in moving teachers from
transmission methods to appropriate methodology.
Following this, the Theoretical Framework for this study is developed based
on three areas that influence teachers classroom teaching: uses of power,
methodology (learning theory) choices, and the view of the child. The final section of
this chapter integrates these three areas as they apply to teaching and classroom
management.
Mathematical Abilities of Young Children
There is a wealth of research about the mathematical abilities of young
children. From early in life, children possess relatively abstract, as well as concrete,
understanding of numbers and mathematical concepts (Siegler, 2003, pp. 219-220).
During the last fifteen years, our knowledge about infants mathematical abilities has
been documented by many researchers (Dehaene, 2001; Levine, 1998; Mix, Levine,
11


& Huttenlocher, 1997; Simon, 1997; Sinclair, Stambak, Lezine, & Rayna, 1989;
Simon, Hespos, & Rochat, 1995; Starkey & Cooper, 1980; Starkey, Spelke, &
Gellman, 1990; van Loosbroek & Smitsman, 1990; Warfield, 2001; Wynn, 1992a,
1992b, 1995, 1996).
In addition, researchers have learned much about what young children know,
how they choose strategies for solving problems, and how they learn new concepts
(Baroody, 2000; Clements, 2003; Copley, 2000; Geist, 2002; Gelman, 1998;
Ginsburg & Seo, 2004; Griffin, 2002; Griffin, Sarama, & Clements, 2003; Olson &
Olson, 2002; Pepper & Hunting, 1998; Royer, 2003; Samara, & Clements, 2003;
Sophian, 2000, 2002, 2003,2004; Sophian & Garyantes, 1997; Sophian & Madrid,
2003; Sophian & Vong, 1995). Tolchinsky (2003) proposes that,
looking at numbers, attending to their names, perceiving the ways in which
they are commented are, for the developing child, experiences as real as the
sensorimotor experiences with balls, cars, sand, or people. Numbers, as well
as writing and other notational artifacts, are territories for exploration as real
as conceptual environments, (p. 98)
Bruer (1994) states that most children have progressed a considerable
distance on the trajectory toward mastery of numbers before reaching school. Their
first, formal math instruction, if it is to be effective and intelligible, should build on
this informally acquired knowledge (p. 275). Data from the Early Childhood
Longitudinal Study: Americas Kindergarteners, indicates the following:
Nearly all (94%) first time kindergartners are proficient in number and shape
(recognizing numbers, shapes and counting to 10), 58 percent are proficient in
understanding relative size (sequencing patterns and using nonstandard units
12


of length to compare objects) and 20 percent are proficient in understanding
ordinal sequence (identification of the ordinal position of an object in a
sequencee.g., fifth in line). (West, Denton, & Germino-Hausken, 2000,
p.vi)
This understanding of the early abilities of young children and how they
construct mathematics has reinforced the need for changes in mathematics education,
as proposed by NCTM (2006). The next section will overview those recommended
methods.
Appropriate Math Content and Methods
for Young Children
Several professional organizations, including NCTM (2006) and NAEYC
(2004) have published recommendations for the math education of young children.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) founded
Project 2061 in 1985 to help all Americans become literate in science, mathematics,
and technology (Bowman, 1998, para. 1). (See Appendix C for NCTM Standards for
Prekindergarten through Second Grade.)
An overview of the research provides a picture of the wide range of methods
that are appropriate for young children. Integration of math in the everyday routines
helps children gain experience with math concepts (Grace, 1995; Thatcher, 2001).
Arnold, Fisher, Doctoroff, and Dobbs (2002) found that integrating math concepts in
daily activities increased both student interest and understanding of math concepts.
Teaching math concepts with childrens books is a method suggested by several
authors (Thatcher, 2001; Thiessen, 2004; Whitin, 1994; Whitin & Mills, 1994). In
13


addition, the use of questions for encouraging math connections during daily
activities is an important component of math instruction for young children (Howes,
1999). The teachers use of scaffolding techniques and encouraging children to learn
from peers are also effective (Curtis, 2000). A rich environment with appropriate
manipulatives is also essential (Clements, 2000; Ginsburg, 1992; Krech, 2000).
Clements and Sarama (2002), Hewitt (2001) and Weiss (1997), all stress the
importance of block play for young children. The block-building center is a major
center and the cornerstone of a mathematically rich environment (Smith, 1998). It is
essential that children be allowed to move freely in their environment since motion
and movement are necessary for the development of mathematics understanding in
general and spatial sense specifically (Andrews, 1995, 1996; Ham, 1999; Royer,
2003).
The general picture of appropriate teacher methodology that becomes
apparent in the literature is one of active engagement based on childrens experiences
and interests. Both the methods used by teachers and the environment they prepare
plays an important part in developing young childrens understanding of
mathematics.
Teacher-Directed and Child-Initiated Learning
One essential change recommended for teachers by both NCTM and the
National Council for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is moving from
teacher-directed to child-initiated teaching methods (Bredekamp & Rosegrant, 1995;
14


NAEYC, 2004). These professional organizations recommend that math instruction
emphasize the availability of appropriate materials, freedom for exploration,
communication, and scaffolding (Baroody, 2000; Baroody & Benson, 2001;
Clements, 2001; Clements & Sarama, 2000a; Clements, Sarama, & DiBiase, 2004;
Copley, 2004; Davis, 1990; Elkind, 1989; Geist, 2002; Ginsburg & Seo, 2004).
Child-initiated learning is an important part of this paradigm of
Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) for young children (Banks, 2001). The
High/Scope Preschool Comparison Study documents advantages of child-initiated
learning:
Scripted teacher-directed instruction, touted by some as the surest path to
school readiness, seems to purchase a temporary improvement in academic
performance at the cost of a missed opportunity for long-term improvement in
social behavior. Child-initiated learning activities, on the other hand, seem to
help children develop their social responsibility and skills so that they less
often need treatment for emotional impairment or disturbance and are less
often arrested for felonies as young adults. (Schweinhart & Weikart, 1997, p.
2)
Because of their research, Schweinhart and Weikart (1997) found that children in
direct-instruction programs intellectually outperformed children in child-initiated-
activities programs during and up to a year after the preschool program, but not
thereafter (p. 1).
While these results are clear, one must note that these studies involved
children living in poverty. In addition, while direct-instruction appears more
successful with older children, this may have been partly because elementary-school
15


children were better able than preschoolers to adhere to its strict rules of behavior and
principles of mastery learning, and partly because elementary-school teachers more
fully embraced its methods than did preschool teachers (Schweinhart & Weikart,
1997, p. 3). Despite these possible limitations, taken together, the research favors
DAP. In general, child-initiated environments were associated with higher levels of
cognitive functioning. Coupling this information with the findings on stress and
motivation provides a strong argument for DAP, especially for low-income
childrenthe very children whose parents may prefer academically oriented
programs. While academic environments sometimes may result in higher levels of
achievement, this achievement may come at emotional costs to the child (Dunn &
Kontos, 1997).
Characteristics of Appropriate Math Curriculum
One particular concern for educators is that the math presented to young
children not be a watered down version of elementary mathematics. Early childhood
mathematics should not involve push-down curriculum. Young children need a
mathematics education that is developmentally appropriate and enjoyable (Balfanz,
Ginsburg, & Greenes, 2003, p. 265). In addition, Clements (2003) emphasizes that
math curriculum for young children should be built on childrens everyday
experiences and interests (Baroody, 2000; Ensign, 1997; Fudge & Doucet, 2004;
Page, 1994; Perlmutter, Bloom, Rose, & Rogers, 1997).
16


The Mathematics Methods Course
The methods recommended by the National Association for the Education of
Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
(NCTM) (Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings, 2002) are
those that I used when teaching kindergarten in a Christian school. I watched the
children in my classroom understand concepts in a way that I, as a child, never
understood them.
During my second decade of teaching mathematics methods courses to
preservice teachers, I began to wonder about the lasting effects of my courses in the
pedagogical choices of my former students. My entry into mathematics education, as
the junior member of the Teacher Education Department in a Bible college, was more
by default than choice. Despite this, the longer I taught, the more I realized that, if I
had learned math in ways in which I was now teaching my students, I probably would
not have had any hesitation in teaching the math courses.
The nagging realization that many of my students were completing their
student teaching experiences at schools in which traditional teaching methods
(transmission methods, memorization, drill, and practice) were still very much the
norm did temper my enthusiasm. Since most learned math in this traditional way, it
was very easy for them to teach using those methods. I also knew that most would
teach in schools where the curriculum was transmission based and dictated most of
17


their teaching day. It was crucial that I teach the courses in ways that would help
these students transfer what they learned into their future classrooms.
Steffe (1991) delivers the challenge of moving toward a teaching pedagogy
based in constructivist thought, stating that, as mathematics educators, we have a
choice between using mathematics of children or conventional school mathematics as
the basis on which to teach mathematics. Choosing the former is a fundamental
requirement of constructivism for mathematics education (Steffe, 1991, p. 181).
It has been fifteen years since Steffe (1991) made this statement, but the
choice remains the same. As a teacher educator, I understand the difference between
children constructing their own mathematical knowledge and the practice of
transmission of knowledge that Steffe (1991) calls conventional school
mathematics. However, understanding alone is not adequate to provide the basis on
which preservice teachers can begin to construct their own ideas of what constitutes
doing mathematics in the elementary classroom.
Mathematics Classroom Experiences
of Preservice Teachers
Despite the research both on how children learn mathematics and ways to help
teachers change their perceptions of math instruction, the pedagogical practices in
classrooms across the United States seem to have not changed substantially
(Meuwissen, 2006). Many mathematics teachers perceive their main role as that of
transmitting information that is written in mathematics textbooks to their students.
18


This form of instruction has not yielded much success in developing the childrens
mathematical understanding (Tirosh, 1990, p. 422).
The majority of teachers who taught math to preservice teachers as they were
growing up used methods similar to those described above (Burton, 1998; Harper &
Daane, 1998; Meuwissen, 2006). In a study analyzing math anxiety in preservice
teachers, the instructional practices leading to increased anxiety were emphasis on
drill and practice, getting the right answer and using the right method, taking timed
tests, memorizing formulas and applying rules (Harper & Daane, 1998, p. 2). The
following further explains Harper and Daanes research:
The foremost factor for 75% of the students [sic] [math anxiety] was word
problems. For 60%, math anxiety was caused by: (a) an emphasis on the right
answers and the right method, (b) fear of making mistakes, and (c) frustration
at the amount of time it took to do word problems. At least half of the students
indicated additional reasons for their math anxiety: (a) an emphasis on timed
tests, (b) feeling dumb when unable to solve a mathematics problem, and (c)
having no confidence in their mathematics ability, (p. 4)
Sloan, Daane, and Gliesen (2002) found math anxiety particularly high in
students with a global learning style. These findings align with my own conclusions
from informal interviews and discussions with preservice teachers who often state
that teaching math is the one drawback to becoming a teacher, and math as the one
subject in their program that they dread. It is important to note the connection
between these feelings and the pedagogical methods, specifically the transmission
method, used in most of their math courses.
19


Effects of Transmission Methods on Preservice Teachers
Bibby (2002) explores the emotional consequences of learning mathematics in
ways that he claims produce shame. Transmission methods assume that there is
always only one right way to do math and one right answer. Missing the expected
outcome or finding the expected outcome in an unexpected way is not acceptable.
The constituted knowing of mathematical knowledge as fixed and absolute,
and of mathematics teaching as comprising one universally acceptable
method, militate against autonomous engagement on the students part in the
explorations and investigations deemed appropriate in teacher education.
(Klein & Starkey, 2004, p. 41)
Preservice teachers perception of the role of the teacher as the transmitter of
mathematical knowledge is apparent in their mathematical understandings and
feelings about mathematics. Even after a semester in a methods course designed to
lessen math anxiety, Harper and Daane (1998) found that some students math
anxiety actually increased. These students commented that they lacked math
understanding before entering the class. One student said she realized she needed a
better grasp of mathematics in order to teach it to children one day [Another student
stated that] you really have to understand [math] to teach it (p. 5).
Ma (1999) found that the knowledge gap between the U.S. and Chinese
teachers parallels the learning gap between U.S. and Chinese students (p. 144). She
believes that the parallel of the two gaps is not mere coincidence; it follows that
while we want to work on improving students mathematics education, we also need
to improve their teachers knowledge of mathematics (p. 144).
20


Thus, the cycle of poor mathematics instruction includes poor teaching that
results in a new generation that lacks mathematical understanding (Jackson, 1999).
As cited in Harper and Daane (1998),
Bush (1989) found that there was a slight tendency for math anxious teachers
to be more traditional in their teaching. Their students have been assigned
more seatwork and have spent less time playing games, problem solving, and
doing small-group activities. More skills and fewer concepts have been taught
by these teachers, (p. 30)
Breaking this cycle presents a daunting task for teacher educators who may have
preservice teachers for one, or possibly two courses. It would seem that these students
would be more than ready to look for new ways to explore mathematics, but many years
of exposure to transmission methods has resulted in an understanding of teaching math as
transmitting knowledge which results in comfort and some degree of success.
Preservice teachers steeped in the transmission model of mathematics learning
have no experience on which to build an understanding of how children can construct
mathematical concepts. If mathematics has been difficult for them, they often have the
false assumption that being a good math teacher will mean that they make the math
easy for children. They lack an understanding of mathematics as described by Burton
(1998):
This idea of sanitizing mathematics fits with many preservice teachers
insistence that math will be easier if children are simply taught algorithms. If
they have never experienced the emotions described above, it is difficult for
them to imagine that mathematics could be anything more than procedures, (p.
340)
21


Coming from this perspective, the preservice teacher also tends to view the
use of manipulates and games as fun, missing the underlying mathematical
constructs that make the activities important. They are often unable to see the
mathematical challenge as enjoyable because of what Burton (1998) calls
engagement. He differentiates between children having fun during games and
childrens engagement in a mathematical challenge by stating, enjoyment for such
children is a trivializing way of describing conformity to certain classroom rules. It is
quite a different emotion from the satisfaction and pleasure indicated by a child who
has pursued an inquiry with personal meaning (p. 339).
Moving from a Transmission to Constructivist Viewpoint
As suggested above, the undergraduate math methods course is key in moving
the preservice teacher away from a transmission perspective. Harper and Daane
(1998) concur with this when they state that, Since the mathematics methods course
is probably the last opportunity to influence preservice teachers attitudes toward
mathematics, it must be designed to build confidence, help alleviate math anxiety,
and promote effective teaching and learning as outlined in the Standards (p. 2). This
requires that the preservice teacher construct his or her own understanding of
mathematics (Frakes & Kline, 2000).
The preservice teacher mentioned earlier, whose math anxiety increased
because she realized her own understanding of mathematics was inadequate,
displayed a comprehension of the true complexities of elementary mathematics. Ma
22


(1999) states that, in the United States, it is widely accepted that elementary
mathematics is basic, superficial, and commonly understood ... [It] is not
superficial at all, and anyone who teaches it has to study it hard in order to understand
it in a comprehensive way (p.146). Stein, Silver, and Smith (1998) concur with this.
A teacher must possess broad, deep, flexible knowledge of content (emphasis
added) and pedagogical alternatives. Without such knowledge of content
(emphasis added) and pedagogy, teachers will be unable to quickly
reformulate goals and relate students conceptions to the characteristic
intellectual activities, knowledge structures, and cultural norms shared within
the larger mathematical community, (p. 19)
Emphasis on pedagogy without understanding places stress on students who
are well aware that the basis for the evaluation of their student teaching experience is
their ability to teach. This will also be true when they begin teaching in their own
classrooms. The evaluation of teachers emphasizes the assessment of capacity to
teach. Such assessment is usually claimed to rest on a research-based conception of
teacher effectiveness (Shulman, 1986, p. 5).
Shulman (1986) sees this pedagogical emphasis as resulting from the fact that
in their necessary simplification of the complexities of classroom teaching,
investigators ignored one central aspect of classroom life: the subject matter (p. 6).
Yet, the teachers confidence in the subject matter of mathematics is ultimately
crucial in their understanding of how children leam mathematics. Stein, Silver, and
Smith (1998) agree with this in stating that, teachers need to become more confident
and competent in their own ways of knowing and doing mathematics (p.19).
23


Can Teachers Choices Change?
The disconnect between research and classroom practice is demonstrated by
Meuwissens (2006) in his description of student teachers comments after he
solicited feedback on a series of class activities, which some students described as
powerful and interesting but not what [were] seeing in the classroom (p. 254).
Teacher educators realize that preservice teachers beliefs about mathematics
education must change for classroom practices to change (Klein & Starkey, 2004;
Manke, 1997; Nietfeld & Enders, 2003; Orton, 1996; Raths, 2001; Spanneberg, 2001;
Thompson, 1992; Woolley & Woolley, 1999; Yero, 2002). Nelson (2000) found that
once in the classroom, teacher beliefs played the greatest part in determining their
practice, more so than collegial and administrative support. A growing body of
research provides convincing evidence that what teachers know and believe about
mathematics is closely linked to their instructional decisions and actions (Bransford,
Brown, & Cocking, 2000, p. 164).
There has been support for the belief that instruction can change student
perceptions. In a study conducted by Spielman and Lloyd (2004), researchers
observed a difference in perceptions about methodology between students taught
mathematics methods in innovative ways versus those taught in a traditional text-
based course. Another study by Woolley, Woolley, & Hosey (1999) found that
teacher education courses did influence student teachers beliefs about the use of
constructivist methods. In addition, Mapolelo (2003) found teacher training to be
24


effective in changing students ideas about how math should be learned, but mixed
results were found when observing classroom methodology.
Because of research showing positive effects of teacher education programs, I
remained convinced that students, when taught in innovative ways and presented with
the research, would recognize the importance of the methods proposed by NCTM.
Despite this, one student in particular caused me to wonder if this were true. Without
complaint, she wrote and taught math lessons flawlesslyall according to NCTM
standards; but when she graduated and began teaching, she returned to transmission
methods just as completely and flawlessly. Most of my students moved out of state
when they graduated and I was unable to observe this transition. I began to wonder
how common this was and why returning to traditional methods, despite every
indication that they would do otherwise, might be an acceptable choice for my former
students.
Though teacher beliefs about mathematics education do partially explain the
lack of implementation in the classroom, this seems inadequate in explaining the
continued dependence on transmission methods. Mapolelo (2003) attributed this to
teachers belief systems and found that despite completion of a teacher education
program, most students continued to view their role as a math teacher as one of
authority; giving explanations, and demonstrations followed by students doing
assigned problems (p. 1). Even experienced teachers find it difficult to make changes
in their methodology.
25


It can be difficult for teachers to undertake the task of rethinking their subject
matter. Learning involves making oneself vulnerable and taking risks, and this
is not how teachers often see their role. Particularly in areas like mathematics
and science, elementary teachers often lack confidence and they worry about
admitting that they don't know or understand for fear of colleagues' and
administrators' reactions. (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000, p. 195)
As my studies continued, this dilemma caused me to pursue several seemingly
disconnected, but actually interrelated research areas in order to answer the research
question for this study:
Does a (statistically significant) relationship exist between a teachers view of
the child and the teachers choice of instructional methodology and learning
theory and use of power in the classroom?
The remainder of this literature review will explore these areas: use of power,
learning theory, and the philosophical and theological view of the child. As each of
these areas are explored, the research will be used to develop the basis for a research
model which will add to the discussion about why teachers make particular
instructional and classroom management choices for their classrooms.
The Use of Power
Once again, the overarching purpose of this research study is to provide a
more complete picture of the underlying influences on teachers choices of
methodology in their classrooms. As will be shown in the next section, teachers
choices about how to use power in the classroom do affect their instructional choices.
The construct of power within the classroom is also a possible variable for why
26


teachers continue to use transmission methods in the classroomspecifically for
mathematics instruction. Barraclough and Stewart (1992) state that,
Instructional communication researchers have done little to extrapolate
teachers motivations or goals for using power, working mainly on the
premise that the maintenance of on-task student behavior and the correction of
student misbehavior are the critical reasons why teachers want to exercise
power. This may well be the major utility for social power in classrooms, but
we really do not yet know what other goals teachers may have for involving
power, or how their motivations and knowledge bases guide their compliance-
gaining efforts, (p. 9)
The research on power demonstrates that the use of power and the purpose for
its use varies. In order to provide a foundation for a Theoretical Framework for the
use of power in the classroom, this section will review the research base for the use of
power in society.
Overview of the Study of Power
Most of the foundational studies of power are within the literature of
psychology, leadership, and management. The terms power, authority, and control
seem interchangeable in much of the literaturesometimes appearing to be almost
synonymous. Probably as many definitions as authors exist on the topic. Barraclough
and Stewart (1992) state that power is the potential or capacity to influence the
behavior of some other person or persons. Compliance gaining, or behavior alteration,
is the realization of that potential (p. 4). Knight (2001) states that, democratic
authority is persuasive and negotiable and distinguishes this type of authority from
authority that is arbitrary or capricious (p. 251-252). Cangemi (1992) goes even
27


further by saying that authority is either taken or granted and is the legitimate right
of a leader to entice, even force, others to do what is considered important to achieve
(p. 499). These three definitions ranging from force to influence encompass the array
of power types included in the literature and provide an example of the difficulty in
concisely describing the research.
This review includes six different types of power divided into two overall
categoriesthose types of power that result in capitulation to pressures or rewards,
and those that result in an agreement to follow or engage (see Figure 2.1 for an
overview of power research).
The Use of Power Resulting in Capitulation
The idea of achieving control through coercion is prevalent in all of the
studies of power included in this review (Barraclough & Stewart, 1992; Etzioni,
1961; French & Raven, 1959; Parsons, 1963; Weber, 1947). Coercion involves a
situation where an individual or individuals have little power. Coercion,
characteristically, relies on the use or threatened use of force or the imposition of
restriction which the coerced actor cannot counter (Devadoss & Muth, 1984, p. 381).
A second type of power involving control includes the idea of reward or
deprivation (French & Raven, 2001; Etzioni, 1961; Parsons, 1963; Raven, 1965). An
additional type, remunerative, included by Etzioni (1961) involves control of
symbolic rewards. Though this type of power may seem less controlling, the
condition of one of the participants holding power over the other remains the same.
28


Power The potential or capacity to influence the behavior of some other person or persons. Compliance gaining, or behavior alteration, is the realization of that potential" (Barradough & Stewart 1992, p. 4)
Capitulation to pressure or reward Agreement to Follow or Engage
Author Type. 1 Keeping Order Tvoe 2 Bribe or Deprive Type 3 Follow the King Iypg-4 You be in charge Tvoe 5 You know the most Tvoe 6 For the greater qood of all
Weber, M., 1947 Rule of Law- society is dependent on following of laws Tradition- based on symbolic historical leadership Legiti- mate control based on: Charisma, qualities of leader
French, J. R. P., Jr. & Raven, B. H., 1959 Coerdve Reward Referent Legiti- mate Expert
Etzioni, A., 1961 Coerdve (achieved through actual threats) Remunerative or Normative (controlling resources or symbolic rewards)
Parsons, T. C., 1963 (It's wrong) tries to change action by negative sanctions Inducement (its advan- tageous) Deterrence (it's disad- vantageous) Persuasion (it's right) Activation of commit- ments
Devadoss, S. J. & Muth, R 1984 Coerdon Force Authority Legiti- macy Influence Persuasion
Barradough, R. A. & Stewart, R. A., 1992 Previewing of expectancies and/or consequences Invoking of relation- ships and/or identifi- cation Summoning of values and/or obligations
Figure 2.1 Power research overview
The Use of Power Resulting in Willingness to Follow or Engage
French and Raven (2001), in describing five types of power include a type of
power that they term legitimate power. In this type of power, a subordinate agrees
that another has the right and obligation to manipulate him or her. Devadoss and
29


Muth (1984), and Weber (1947) all include similar descriptions of legitimate power.
Milgram (1974), as a result of his studies of obedience to authority, concurs with this
form of power in that the authority figure in his experiments represented what he
believed to be legitimate authorities (Blass, 2000, p. 38), and defined such as
someone who was in a position to dictate anothers actions.
Another power type included by Barraclough and Stewart (1992), Parsons
(1963), Devadoss and Muth (1984), involves the idea of influence. Influence is the
ability of an actor, without recourse to force or legitimation, to affect another's
behavior (Devadoss & Muth, p. 381). Cagmeni (1992) also includes influence in his
overall description of power. Power is the individual's capacity to move others, to
entice others, to persuade and encourage others to attain specific goals or to engage in
specific behavior; it is the capacity to influence and motivate others (p. 499).
Morelli (1983) as cited in Blass (2000), commenting on Milgrams work,
distinguished between an authority (or expert in a particular area) and an individual
who is actually in authority. French and Raven (2001) also included expert power
in their list of power bases. Similar to this is referent power based on identification
with a leader (Barraclough & Stewart, 1992; French & Raven, 2001; Weber, 1947).
Implications of the Use of Power
The use of power, though essential for the ongoing of society, has
implications that affect every person and every part of societyfrom the home, to the
classroom, to the work world, and beyond. To fully understand the implications of
30


power, it is necessary to reflect on the landmark experiments of Milgram (1974) and
then apply his work to the development of the child.
Obedience to Authority
Milgram (1974) conducted several experiments in which subjects agreed to
inflict increasing amounts of pain on alleged students at the request of a lab
technician. Milgram felt that,
Perhaps the most fundamental lesson of our study [is that] ordinary people,
simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can
become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the
destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to
carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality,
relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority, (p. 6)
Many researchers wondered if knowledge of the connection between authority
and obedience would help subjects be more inclined to disobey authority figures.
Blass (2000) analyzed studies conducted over a 22-year period and concluded that,
Being enlightened about the unexpected power of authority may help a person
stay away from an authority-dominated situation, but once he or she is already
in such a situation, knowledge of the drastic degree of obedience authorities
are capable of eliciting does not necessarily help free the individual from the
forces operating in that concrete situation, (i.e., to defy the authority in
charge), (p. 53)
If the inability to resist the demands of authority can lead to participation in
destructive processeseven when one is knowledgeable of the power of authority,
how much more is it possible that the inclination to obey authority would hold sway
in more benign circumstances? Yet, even while wondering this, it seems that, in order
31


to prevent anarchy in society in general, there is a need for some type of authority or
power structure. The same would be true in the classroom.
The Development of Obedience
Kohn (1996) states that, No one says, I want my kids to obey authority
without question, to be compliant and docile (p. 61) and yet, the influence of
authority is apparent throughout childhood. The child is in a position to depend on an
authority figure from the moment he or she is bom. The parent, while being a
nurturer, is also very much in charge of the childs day-to-day existence. Upon
entering school, the child meets a new authority figurethe teacher. The student
learns that certain behaviors are not acceptable in this new situation and that
deference is the only appropriate and comfortable response to authority (Milgram,
1974, p.137). Once the individual leaves the academic world and enters the work
world, he or she learns that although some discreetly expressed dissent is allowable,
an underlying posture of submission is required for harmonious functioning with
superiors (p. 137).
Through this process of socialization, the individual learns that the social
structure requires obedience to authority. In turn, those who choose to lead, accept
their position of authority as an important part of the process of maintaining social
order. While this cycle may appear innocuous and necessary, implications do exist for
the individual and society.
32


Power Relationships in the Classroom
Klein and Starkey (2004) makes the connection between power relationships
and learning in the classroom, stating that, no matter how much educators try to
deny or ignore it, pedagogic relationships are power relationships that produce
teachers and learners, and teacher/leamers of the future (p. 41).
This section will first look at the research on power relationships in the
classroom and then follow that pattern in presenting the learning theory research.
Manke (1997) defines power in the context of the classroom as a structure of
relationshipsa structure in which teachers and students can build or participate.
Power is not an object and cannot be owned by anyone. The structure of relationships
is called power because it, rather than the individuals who create it, is what shapes
people's actions (p. 1).
Teachers implementation of power in the classroom follows three distinct
patterns. An adaptation of a continuum of power-types presented by Muth (1984)
provides a way to view possible classroom power interactions. This continuum
extends from interactions that depend on the use of force to those that do not (p.
28). In this continuum, coercion, authority, and influence are subtypes of power. In
Muths continuum, coercion is defined as the ability of an actor to affect anothers
behavior, regardless of the others wishes (p. 29). Authority occurs when Other
voluntarily, willingly allows Actor to command and then follows such commands or
33


directives (p. 31). Influence includes persuasive acts which convince Other that
behaving as Actor desires is beneficial (p. 31).
Continuum of Power-types in the Classroom
Question: Who is in charge of learning? Teacher Teacher and Students Student
Subtype of Power Coercion Authority Influence
Interaction Force Dialectical Negotiation Motivational Facilitation
Result Capitulation Voluntary Agreement Engagement by Choice
Models of Teacher Teacher Teacher
Power \l w A
V Student M Student /\ Student
Figure 2.2 Power continuum adapted for the classroom
In adapting this model for the classroom (refer to Figure 2.2), coercion
remains the same with the interaction being force, but authority is a classroom
interaction in which both the teacher and the students hold power. Staton (1992) sees
this as a more dialectical and less functionalist perspective [and] considers power
and control as dynamic processes that are constructed and negotiated between teacher
and students (p. 173). Research has indicated that a classroom learning community
that is dialectical is one in which the sharing of power will develop (Book & Putman,
1992; Goslin, 2003; Kohn, 1996; Oyler, 1996; Shor, 1992; Wenger, 1998). This
34


interaction described in the Theoretical Framework as dialectical negotiation occurs
in the classroom when the interaction identifies the teacher as a motivational
facilitator, providing an appropriate learning environment in which children make the
choices for engagement.
Table 2.1 Variations in classroom structure
Variations in Classroom Structure
High Structure Medium Structure Low Structure
Teacher- Tight control and few Varying degree of control Minimal overt control, but
Directed choices depending large or small teacher still very much in
Large group group activity charge
assignments and More variety in activity, More movement, but
instruction but structured and movement is controlled and
assigned assignments structured
Mixed- Highly directed- Mostly small group Mostly small group
Methods mostly small group assignments and instruction with more
Community instruction instruction freedom for groups
Assigned tasks, time Some open-ended and Emphasis on social dynamics
limits, and explicit choice of student, others of group work
objectives assigned and more
structured
Child Choice of activity by Subtle directed choices of All choices of activities made
Initiated child, but few activities by students.
choices available Some have specific Many choices available, most
Choices are planned guidelines, some are open-ended and intended
for specific intended for exploration for exploration
objectives and follow
stnct guidelines
35


The lines between the three models may be more fluid. Even within teacher-
directed or child-initiated classrooms, degrees of control are evident. In other words,
a class could be teacher-directed but involve less control actions on the part of the
teacher. This might also be true of child-initiated based classrooms. It is possible for
the environment to be set up to encourage children to initiate learning, but with a
degree of control, that does limit the directions of the learning (see Table 2.1).
These variations in structure remain in line with the continuum of power types
and three describe teachers who choose classroom management techniques that best
fit their understanding of power relationships in the classroom. The next sections will
look specifically at the three types of classrooms at it applies to the teachers use of
power.
Classroom Type A: The Teacher is the Authority/Power
During this discussion, one needs to remember that most teachers motivation
for being the authority in the classroom is for the purpose of maintaining order and
thus providing an atmosphere conducive to learning. The role of teacher power does
not take the form of power for power's sake, but rather focuses on influencing
students toward educational goals (Richmond & Roach, 1992, p. 58).
The basis for much of current classroom management theoiy is behaviorism
(Bassett & Baumann, 2003). One of the most prominent of these classroom
management methods during the 1980s and 1990s was Assertive Discipline,
developed by Lee and Marlene Canter. Based on their research and the foundations
36


of assertiveness training and applied behavior analysis, they developed a common
sense, easy-to-leam approach to help teachers become the captains of their
classrooms and positively influence their students behavior (Goldin & Shteingold,
2001, p.l).
In a discussion of an appropriate philosophy of discipline, Haddock (2003),
while stating, a teachers manner of classroom discipline provides opportunity to
develop a relationship of trust not only with students but with parents as well
(p.244), presents a description of a discipline plan that is clearly based on
behaviorism. Student discipline is a system for producing desired behavior through
an effective implementation of rewards (encouragement, praise, positive
reinforcement) and consequences (correction, punishment, negative reinforcement)
(p. 247).
Probably the most common use of behaviorist class management methods is
in the giving of rewards and punishments.
Drawing on the empiricist tradition, behaviorists conceptualized learning as a
process of forming connections between stimuli and responses. Motivation to
learn was assumed to be driven primarily by drives, such as hunger, and the
availability of external forces, such as rewards and punishments (e.g.,
Thorndike, 1913; Skinner, 1950). (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000, p. 6)
The idea that students require either rewards or punishments in order to gain
their cooperation to maintain classroom order has received criticism from many
(Alexander, 2001; Block, 1999; Cooper & White, 2004; Ewick, 2003; Goslin, 2003;
Hubscher-Younger & Narayanan, 2003; Kohn 1996; Jenkins, 2005; Kearney & Plax,
37


1992; Manke, 1997; Richmond, 1990; Smith, 1998). Rewards and punishments are
instruments for controlling people, and the real problem, I came to see, is the belief
that the teacher should be in control of the classroom, that the principal objective ...
is just to get students to comply (Kohn, 1996, p. 58). Jenkins (2005) concurs with
this, and suggests celebrating in place of rewards. Kids know instantly the difference
between a loving thank you and a controlling reward system (p. 89).
Goslin (2003) also makes the point that punishment is actually an extrinsic
reward in that the avoidance of punishment can have the effect of a positive reward
(p. 70). While punishment can change behavior, it can't possibly have a positive
effect on that person's motives and values, on the person underneath the behavior
(Kohn, 1996, p. 25-26). Thus, in trying to guide actions, the teacher may
unknowingly be circumventing the social and/or character development that he or she
is ultimately trying to develop within the child.
While no one in authority wishes to encourage resistance to authority or
diminish social development, the research provides evidence that the choice of
coercive power implementation may cause these unwanted results (Ewick, 2003).
One element of the traditional classroom that is not included in Cooper and Whites
(2004) description of the traditional classroom is the fact that behavior problems do
occur (Alexander, 2001; Hubscher-Younger & Narayanan, 2003). Although the
legitimate title of teacher and the adult status of the instructor may lend some initial
38


power to the teacher, if students do not accept or consent to compliance with teacher
directives, the teacher actually has no power (Richmond, 1990, p. 58).
The documentation for the fact that classroom management by control
actually causes behavior problems, while not necessarily found in many classroom
management texts (Kohn, 1996), is clear in the research (Alpert, 1991; Ewick &
Silbey, 2003; Kearney & Plax, 1992; Milton, 2000; Richmond & McCroskey, 1992).
Alpert states that oppositional actions by students are a common legitimate mode of
expression and reaction in the classroom (p. 363). Palmer (1998) concurs, stating,
when teachers depend on the coercive power of law or technique, they have no
authority at all (p. 33).
The common assumption that the teacher holds all of the power in the
classroom needs further attention. Kearney and Plax (1992) shed new light on this by
cautioning that, to presume that teachers have power and students do not, is the first
and biggest mistake teachers can make in their efforts to control students. All new
teachers, at least those that survive, soon learn that power is relational (p. 98-99).
In a telling statement, Block (1999) confesses, I know that much of my
students behaviour is resistance not to me personally but to my authority. My
authority is definitely a problem (p. 340). This resistance to authority does not
always come in the form of outright rebellion, but also in the following forms of
passive resistance (Manke, 1997): (a) asking questions to disrupt the flow of the
39


lesson, (b) asking for the page number, (c) fidgeting, (d) tuning out, (e) calling out
comments loudly or in soto voce," and (e) moving about (p.107-111).
In her research, Manke (1997) found that these actions were more prevalent in
classrooms where the teacher clearly held the power. These behaviors not only effect
the overall classroom management, but also the learning community for both the
individual and the group.
The passive resistance technique of tuning out, mentioned earlier, is also
connected to the idea of control in the leadership literature. Cagmeni (1992) identifies
two types of employee turnoverphysical and mental. The workers who quit and
stay exhibit passive resistance similar to children who tune out in the classroom. The
employees usually give about 4.5 hours of productive work in a day and Cagmeni
cautions that, Leaders who relish leading by authority alone, because they seem to
enjoy their legitimate right to use force, seem to develop multitudes of these types of
employees over time (p. 501). This bears an uncanny resemblance to those children
who appear to have no motivation or desire for learning.
Classroom Type B: Teacher and Students Share Authority/Power
In this type of classroom, the teacher and students share the authority or power
for the ongoing management of the classroom. This classroom has a more dialectical
and less functionalist perspective [which] considers power and control as dynamic
processes that are constructed and negotiated between teacher and students (Staton,
1992, p.173).
40


Brophy (1985) maintains, the teacher remains an authority figure, but uses a
tone and manner that suggests soliciting students' cooperation rather than issuing
orders (p. 237). While this may be true, it does not indicate the true depth of shared
power, and is indicative of those who are still in a behaviorist mindset (note
publication date). Some classroom discipline programs propose what seems to be
shared responsibility for developing rules and maintaining order in the classroom.
Kohn (1996) believes that behaviorism lives on, not only in stickers and stars but in
lists of concrete rules telling children exactly what they must, or must not, do (p.
70). Often sharing development of the rules is just a more cooperative face on the
teacher holding the power (Black, 1999). The following is a description of this
process:
The teacher is collaboratively viewed, as the more competent member of the
classroom and it is ultimately her version of events, which take precedence,
and becomes the 'taken as shared' interpretation which pupils come to
recognize. In this sense, 'negotiation' is the process of interactively reaching a
shared understanding of the teacher's interpretation. (Kohn, 1996, p. 3)
In contrast to this Manke (1997) proposes a classroom where both teachers
and students construct how to accomplish management and learning. In this
classroom, the teacher cannot be solely responsible for classroom outcomes.
Teachers can shift their focus from achieving tight control of student behavior to
making a positive contribution to the development of power relations in the
classrooms where they live and work (p. 130).
41


Those who advocate for shared power in the classroom believe that it is
essential for developing social life skills. Kohn (1996) states, What we have to face
is that the more we 'manage' students' behavior and try to make them do what we say,
the more difficult it is for them to become morally sophisticated people who think for
themselves and care about others (p. 62). Book and Putnam (1992) concur with this,
believing that, students must learn to behave in a socially responsible manner so that
they can cooperate and collaborate, treat others with respect, listen and learn from
others, and yet take responsibility for their own actions (p. 20).
There is concern that, if the teacher relinquishes the power in the classroom,
learning will not take place. This may be because the teacher thinks that without his
or her control, the discipline needed to maintain a learning atmosphere will not occur.
Though teachers agree that social skills are essential, their classroom management
often directly contradicts these premises (Book & Putnam, 1992, p. 20). Manke
(1997) proposes that teachers often plan classroom activities that control both the
viability of their own contribution to power relations and the opportunity for student
contributions. One way of doing this is to devote classroom time to activities that
allow little opportunity for interaction between students to take place (p. 69). This
conflicts directly with the basic assumption that classroom community requires social
interaction. In addition, research supports communication as enhancing learning,
specifically in the math classroom. One study which demonstrates this was conducted
in Japanese classrooms where, when the teachers focused on the children's
42


engagement in their work rather than on discipline; classes were noisy but spent more
time focused on learning... [They also] supported the development of peer group
structures as part of the learning environment (Rogoff, 2003, p. 264-5). Thus, a
change of focus to a more social constructivist atmosphere can bring the focus to
learning.
Classroom Type C: The Child Holds the Authority/Power
In this classroom, the environment is set up in such a way that it helps
children make appropriate choices for learning and behavior. Children's behavior is
very often a direct reflection of their needs ... When children are actively involved in
activities that have meaning to them, behavior problems are minimized (What is the
Creative Curriculum approach to discipline and behavior management section, para.
1). Thus, it is children who make the choice to behave or not; the factors that cause
these choices are outside of their control.
Walker and Plomin (2005) surveyed over 1,000 teachers on their perceptions
of five domains of behavior (genetic and environmental influence on personality,
intelligence, behavior problems, learning difficulties, and mental illness). For these
five domains of behaviour, the percentages of teachers who reported that genetics
were at least as important as environment were .87, .94, .43, .94, and .91 (Abstract,
para. 1). This is an indicator that teachers do perceive the environment as a
determining factor in childrens behavior problems.
43


It has been found that caregivers who attribute misbehaviors to factors
internal to the child and controllable by the child responded to the misbehaviors with
more power-assertive discipline strategies than did caregivers who offered external or
uncontrollable attributions (Scott-Little & Holloway, 1992) (Abstract, para. 1). This
would suggest that teachers in these types of classrooms would not consider
behaviorist classroom-management strategies appropriate. Instead, teachers work to
prevent challenging or disruptive behaviors through environmental design, schedules
that meet the needs and abilities of children, effective transitions, and engaging
activities (NAEYC Accreditation performance criteria: Universal and preschool
strands, 2005, p.l).
Learning Theory and Methodology
in the Classroom
Classroom management methods tie closely with the learning theories upon
which the teacher bases his or her classroom instruction. Reinsmith (1992) proposes a
continuum of nine forms of teaching. His view of the teacher-student relationship also
holds prominence as it moves from teacher-centered to student-centered learning. He
includes nine types: disseminator/transmitter, lecturer/dramatist, inducer/persuader,
inquirer/catalyst, dialogist (which is equally teacher and student-centered),
facilitator/guide, witness/abiding presence, learner, absence of teacher (Abstract,
para. 1). This framework is very similar to the three classroom types included here.
44


Classroom Type A: Teacher-Directed Methodology
Two variations of Type A classrooms use behaviorist-based learning theory
and transmission methods, placing the teacher as the controller of learning in the
classroom. The first type of classroom is often identified as the traditional classroom.
The second type of classroom utilizes direct instruction or mastery learning.
Traditional Classroom
The traditional classroom became prominent in the United States during the
industrial revolution to meet the need of preparing workers for factory work. It was
A school system ... that catered to the mass production mentality, teaching by rote
and following rigid academic agendas. This system was efficient and measurable
(involving mostly lower-order thinking skills), and produced students with the skills
needed to become a factory worker (Askew, 2005/2006, para. 9).
Though prominent during the industrial revolution, the roots of the
transmission based, traditional teaching can be traced to the earliest classrooms.
Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841) was probably most influential, though by
default, in developing some of the present day traditional teaching methods. Herbart
systematized planning of lessons into a sequence that included preparation,
presentation, association, generalization, and application. While Herbart emphasized
understanding over memorization and the importance of knowing the child and
developing interest in subject matters, his theories were, after his death, translated by
his disciples into a rigid set of rules and steps of instruction ... [which] had a
45


powerful impact on teaching practice in the late 19th century, especially in the United
States (Nash, 1995).
The common picture of the traditional classroom implies that the teacher must
be the authority in control of the classroom and this control seems to include the use
of some type of rewards and punishments (Kohn, 1995; Marshall, 2002). Cooper and
White (2004) provide the following description of the traditional classroom that is
still prevalent in many schools that I have observed.
We remember many of our experiences as students in the context of learning
to blend in with a voiceless collection of other selves, all sitting in rows and
thinking in lines. The teaching practices of the day often subscribed to the
notion that silence is goldenspecifically student silence. Teacher-to-student
communication was often the only kind permitted. Student-to-student
communication was forbidden and was discouraged by the arrangement of the
desks. We were often isolated from each other, (p. 3)
Wenger (1998) in discussing the traditional classroom notes that there is a
teacher sticking out of a flat group of students all learning the same things at the same
time. Competence thus stripped of its social complexity, means pleasing the teacher,
raising your hand first, getting good grades (p. 269). This quote demonstrates the
learning that results from a lack of social context in the classroom. Berliner (1997),
Loeffler (1992), Smith (1998), and Kohn (1996) all concur that students lose much in
traditional, authoritarian classrooms. Subject matter fields now require of a learner
curiosity, agency, and thoughtfulnesscharacteristics that cannot develop well when
obedience is the primary goal... (Berliner, 1997, Obedience section, para. 2).
46


In promoting democratic classrooms, Kohn (1996) believes that traditional
methods inhibit civic and emotional developments. Students learn to be passive or
cynical in classes that transfer facts, skills, or values without meaningful connection
to their needs, interests, or community cultures (p. 18). It is clear in the research that
power plays a part in reducing affective learning in the classroom (Richmond &
Roach, 1992). Added to this picture of control in the traditional classroom is the use
of behaviorist methodology (Tayo, 2001). In discussing behaviorisms effects in the
classroom, Smith (1998) states that, with the introduction of these methods, out went
any possibility that students might learn anything about ethics, respect, loyalty,
morality, honesty, charity, collaboration, compassion or care (p. 59).
Direct Instruction
Ulman (1998), heavily influenced by behaviorism, proposed that the teacher
create what he calls a responsive learning environment in a systematically designed
instructional approach ... [where] curricular events are programmed to maximize
instructional efficiency while minimizing errors in the teaching of new skills.
Concurrently, reinforcing consequences are arranged to bring about success (p. 144).
This approach uses scientific methods more than many traditional methods, but the
prominent role of the teacher remains the same.
This approach is near to what is now identified as the Direct Instruction (DI)
model. Emphasis is placed on basic skills and rote memorization that is believed to be
47


the basis for later concept development (Bowman, 1998). Becker and Gersten (2001)
provide the following description of DI:
The Direct Instruction Model represents a highly structured approach to early-
childhood education with an emphasis on high levels of academic engaged
time through small-group instruction in reading, oral language, and arithmetic.
The Distar curriculum materials used in this approach are designed to
explicitly teach general principles and problem-solving strategies. Teachers
and paraprofessional aides are trained to teach these programs in a fast paced,
dynamic fashion with high frequencies of unison group responses and
systematic corrections of student errors, (p. 2)
Conflicting opinions exist on the subject of direct instruction. Several studies
(Brent & DiObilda, 1993; Gaskins, 1994; Tarver, 1995; Vreeland, Vail, Bradley,
Buetow, Cipriano, Green, et al, 1994; Wellington, 1994) have shown statistically
significant improvement in student achievement based on DI. In response to criticism
against DI, Englemann (2002) cites faulty research methods in the Schweinhart and
Weikart (1997) study that he believes negate the findings of the High/Scope research
study (discussed further below). He states, [DI] has lots of data to show that it is
greatly beneficial, that it promotes a positive self image, and that it is effective in
teaching children skills that permit later academic success (para. 32). Mills, Cole,
Jenkins, and Dale (2002) concur, finding that gender differences in delinquent
behavior (p. 85) might have been a better explanation for the High/Scope research
results.
Positive academic results from the use of transmission methods are evident for
specific goals in the curriculum (Knight, 2002):
48


Teacher-centered methods can be effective for reaching a number of
objectives in the curriculum. They are effective for developing basic skills in
students that can later be used in more student-centered activities such as
problem solving. Teacher-centered techniques such as lecture or expository
instruction can provide students the background knowledge necessary to
participate in learner-centered activities such as discussions. Effective teacher-
centered instruction transmits information to students in ways that are
meaningful and that encourage effective retention. Often such methods are the
most efficient for delivering curriculum content in the limited time available.
(Bassett & Baumann, 2003, p. 139)
On the other side of the discussion, there is also extensive documentation for
the need to use methods that will reduce anxiety caused by traditional classroom
methods, specifically in the math classroom (Bibby, 2002; Ensign, 1997; Fumer &
Duffy, 2002; Harper & Daane, 1998; Ho, 2000; Riddle & Rodzwell, 2000). In
addition, Ho (2000) connects a lack of conceptual understanding to the use of
transmission teaching methods. A lack of understanding combined with anxiety will
most likely lead to distaste for mathematics.
Because, for instance, coercive and legitimate power negatively affects
student perceptions of learning, it stands to reason that these same power
bases might also affect students' motivation to learn negatively. Such a
rationale might provide an explanation for such individuals as life-long
mathematics ... haters. (Richmond & Roach, 1992, p. 61)
By rewarding children for learning, the teacher can actually diminish
motivation (Bracey, 1994; Deci, 1995; Jenkins, 2005). The introduction of extrinsic
rewards, accompanied by loss of autonomy for participants, into activities that had
been primarily intrinsically motivating ... can diminish the salience of intrinsic
rewards (Goslin, 2003, p. 69).
49


The most well known of all the research studies showing negative results of
DI was conducted by the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. Schweinhart
and Weikart (1997), discussed earlier. Additional research has documented that while
there may be short-term advantages with DI, the advantage does not hold over time.
Becker and Gersten (2001) found that gains made by third grade students under direct
instruction made appreciable, significant drops against the national norm group in
both math and reading (p. 67). These results may be due to the childs skill in
transferring their learning to new tasks. Toumaki (2003) researched the effects of
direct instruction and strategy-based instruction for learning addition facts. While
both groups improved equally on task performance, the direct-instruction students fell
behind on transfer tasks.
Type B Classroom: The Learning Community
Knowledge doesn't just reside with one person,
everyone has knowledge to contribute.
(Cole, 2004, n.p.)
The social constructivist classroom aligns with the learning theory of
Vygotsky. While Vygotsky does provide for more interaction between the students
and the teacher, Lambert & Clyde (2003) believes that interpreters have placed more
emphasis on the social interaction than he may have intended. Vygotsky's work on
the ZPD was based upon an understanding of the learning process as something that
remained strongly in the control of the teacher and the curriculum and occurred
within school settings (p. 65). Despite this view to the contrary, the literature for the
50


most part still places Vygotskys theory as one that emphasizes the cultural context of
learninga context that includes interaction between the student and the teacher
(Howes & Ritchie, 2002; Magliaro, Lockee, & Burton, 2005). Wells (1999) expands
Vygotskys theory, stating, to learn in the [ZPD] does not require that there be a
designated teacher; whenever people collaborate in an activity, each can assist the
others, and each can learn from the contributions of the others (p.126).
The concept of building community in the classroom is in direct contrast to
the view of the teacher as the only authority. The discussion of the effects of power in
the classroom began with the memories of traditional classrooms by Cooper and
White (2004). This description, adapted to a social constructivist classroom
demonstrates many characteristics.
We remember many of our experiences as students in the context of learning
to express our voices along with the voices of other diverse learners, working
in groups, sitting at tables or on the floor and thinking in connected ways with
both other students and the teacher. The teaching practices of the day often
subscribed to the notion that learning is noisyspecifically when children are
learning together. Teacher-to-student communication was part of the ongoing
discussion that included all members of the community. The arrangement of
the desks and tables encouraged student-to-student communication. We
always felt connected.
This adaptation of Cooper and Whites (2004) description of the traditional
classroom, portrays how the sharing of power, diminished emphasis on transmission
methods, and building of community can transform the dynamics in the classroom.
This description also demonstrates the negotiation of power in the classroom. In the
learning community, power is distributed among the members of the class so that
51


students, as well as teachers, are empowered to enact their roles (Book & Putman,
1992, p. 28).
There is a fear involved in releasing and sharing the power for learning to the
students (Kennedy, 2005). Lecturing is a safer, more reassuring way to teach
because teachers can establish a position that keeps students at a safe distance. It is far
more challenging for the teacher to bring out students' thoughts ..(Shor, 1992, p.
103). In addition, sharing the power for learning requires that the teacher give using
transmission methods with the teacher as the source and the students as the receivers
... is unlikely to work to establish a culture in which each person fully participates in
a community of learners (Book & Putman, 1992, p. 22).
When sharing of the power occurs, the role of the student and teacher become
interchangeable (Black, 1999, Brown & Campione, 1994; Cooper & White, 2004;
Shalem, 1999; Wenger, 1998). It is not only the designated teacher who is the ,
expert; the role may be held at any particular moment by any one of the participants,
or by a group of participants, or by an expert who is only present through the medium
of a knowledge artifact that he or she has made (Wells, 1999, p.125). This is
critically important in the mathematics classroom where children often view the
teacher or the teachers edition of the textbook as the source for answers (Goodman,
2002). The authority for learning must reside within the student, whose
understanding of mathematical concepts grows through his or her participation in
well-chosen activities, in discussion with the teacher and fellow students, and through
52


reflection (Prevost, 1996, p. 51). Cobb & Bowers (1999) sees learning in the math
classroom as not dependent on instruction or residing in the individual child, but
instead cast[s] it as a relation between individual students and the practices that they
and the teacher co-construct in the course of their ongoing interactions (Cobb &
Bowers, 1999, p. 10).
Moving to a classroom environment in which the social construction of
mathematical understanding is the norm can be intimidating for teachers who,
generally are accustomed to feeling efficaciousto knowing that they can
affect students' learningand they are accustomed to being in control. When
they encourage students to actively explore issues and generate questions, it is
almost inevitable they will encounter questions they cannot answerand this
can be threatening. (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000, p. 195)
An environment of dignity and respect is essential in the social constructivist
classroom (Brown & Campione, 1994; Knight, 2001; Patrick, Meyer, & Midgley,
2003). Cooper and White (2004) state that, acceptance, respect, and caring or
compassion is essential for a sense of community to develop (p. 8). This
environment establishes trust and provides a safe setting for the expression of ideas.
The classroom in which students assert their own preferences, provide reasons
for their assertions, question others, ask clarifying questions, provide or ask
for information, provide supportive and constructive feedback, seek feedback,
give encouragement to others, and see themselves as active members of the
learning community illustrates the environment in which students are secure
enough to have a voice. (Wells, 1998, p. 25-26)
Block (1999) succinctly sums up this type of classroom by stating that, the
teacher who is not challenged cannot learn; the student who will not challenge needs
53


no teacher. All authority is invested in the relationship founded on query and
response (p.350).
Classroom C: Child-Initiated Methodology
The appropriateness of child-initiated methods was discussed earlier as they
applied to DAP and math education for young children. DAP is not a theoretical
model, but instead principles for designing appropriate environments for young
children (Bowman, 1998). This approach views young children as active
constructors of knowledge who are not dependent on didactic instructional cues from
a teacher (Banks, 2001, para. 2). The teachers role is to provide an environment that
will engage the child and promote learning through play-based activities
(Anonymous, 2003). Child-initiated curricular techniques may utilize learning
centers within a classroom, promote learning from play-based activities, or encourage
child interaction and cooperation (Banks, 2001, para. 2). Wakefield (1998) states
that childrens interests motivate the element of free choice inherent in child-initiated
methods.
[This] presents distinct opportunities to practice the important dispositions of
initiative and curiosity. Children with initiative and curiosity are in a good
position to develop other positive dispositions, such as persistence and
industry. Developing or not developing these dispositions profoundly affects
children for the rest of their lives. (Formed Gradually section, para. 10)
Rousseau was a prominent proponent of this educational philosophy.
Pestalozzi, one of Rousseaus followers, emphasized individual differences, the
natural unfolding of the child, and creating] a physical environment conducive to
54


the child's physical activity and firsthand learning experiences ... [in which the]
teacher unobtrusively guided the natural development of the individual child's innate
powers (The History of Education, para. 4).
Piaget also emphasized individual development and shaped a powerful
theory about how the individual builds cognitive potential. For Piaget, this potential
was self-generated based on powerful internal schemas inherent in the nature of
intelligence and seemed to function autonomously with respect to the outside
(Ortega, 2003, p. 101). While Piaget initially did believe that cognitive development
for young children was developmental and not influenced by the environment, he
later ... revised his claim of universal stages to say that this stage [formal
operations] was contextually variable, depending on experience in particular
domains (Rogoff, 2003, p. 240).
Built upon Piagets work constructivist theory is aligned with child-initiated
methods (vonGlassersfeld, 1995; Clements, 1997; Kamii, C. & Ewing, J. K., 1996).
Constructivist theory emphasizes the importance of young children constructing
knowledge (understanding concepts) through their own activity... Children are
encouraged to handle objects, observe and predict results, hear and use language, and
collaborate with adults and older children to develop ideas (Bowman, Constructivist
section, 1998).
Research conducted by Barnes (2005) involving prekindergarten children
confirms, children learn best individually and in small groups, rather than in whole
55


class situations (p. 190). Children do not need encouragement to learn. It is now
known that very young children are competent, active agents of conceptual
development (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000, p. 79). Thus, in the Type C
Classroom, learning is planned for and expected because for young children,
learning is a primary occupation; it is what they do naturally and with considerable
intensity when they are not preoccupied with satisfying their hunger or dealing with
their parents' demands (Deci, 1995, p.19).
Within the paradigm of child-initiated learning, Prevost (1996) believes that
teachers are,
no longer seen as dispensers of disconnected knowledge in the form of facts
and procedures, but rather as facilitators of student inquiry and thinking. The
authority for learning must reside within the student, (emphasis added) whose
understanding of mathematical concepts grows through his or her
participation in well-chosen activities, in discussion with the teacher and
fellow students, and through reflection, (p. 52)
Thus, while critics of child-initiated programs, suggest that learning is left of the
whim of children; the teacher does play a prominent role in the classroom as a
facilitator who develops an environment that is conducive to learning.
The Teachers Philosophical and Theological
View of the Child
Thus far, the description of the three types of classrooms has included the
teachers use of power and the implementation of learning theory in the classroom.
These are observable in the classroom and, as has been documented, are the subjects
of extensive research. This section ventures into an area where I found research to be
56


virtually non-existent, and yet, it is one important influence that must be considered
when determining why teachers choose various uses of power and implement a range
of learning theories. I propose that the teachers view of the child, both philosophical
and theological, forms a basis on which teachers build their teaching choices. This
section is particularly relevant to the Christian schoolteacher, but is an important part
of our cultural heritage, thus influencing all teachers. The historical information about
the three views of the child presented here will be followed by a short discussion that
will connect this literature review to teachers use of power and preferred learning
theories.
In looking at the view of the child from an historical perspective, one finds
discussion from even the earliest writers. Plato (427-347) stated that children's only
virtue appears to be that they are 'easily molded,' that is, they are capable of being
made into adults (Kennedy, 2000, p. 518). Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) claimed that
children had the potential to develop into mature adults within the framework of a
supportive environment (Matthews, 2005).
During Greco-Roman times, as part of an agrarian society, children were
valued economically (Carroll, 2001, Children in Context section, para. 2). In this
setting, children,
were valued economically and enjoyed, but were physically small,
underdeveloped, and vulnerable. They were mentally deficient and ignorant;
they spoke nonsense and failed to think and plan rationally; they were
capricious, foolish, and quarrelsome. In a word, they lacked the prime Roman
57


virtue of reason and could not participate in the rational world of Roman
citizens. (Gundry-Volf, 2001, p. 32)
Throughout the ensuing centuries, theologians and philosophers alike have
entered the discussion with varying views of the child. Devries (2001a) succinctly
distinguishes between two threads, which carry down to present times as instrumental
valuation and intrinsic valuation of childhood. The first looks at children for what
they will become, the second values childhood without regard for future worth.
Another common thread is the theological view of the child. What is the
condition of the childs soul? Is the child innocent? Alternatively, does the child
inherit sin as part of being human? This is an important theological question asked by
lay and clergy alike. These questions appear in subtle ways throughout our culture. In
the filming of The Passion of Christ,
Mel Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald combine the doctrine of original sin as an
ontological stain on the soul with a belief in rebellious disobedience as the
particular manifestation of sin. The burden of original sin takes on a demonic
character in the rebellious child; accordingly, the unruly boys who taunt Judas
are physically transformed into devils by the magic of special effects.
(Musseiman, 2004, p. 2)
Jesus did address the value of the child in ways that were in stark contrast to
the views held by most of his contemporaries (Bunge, 2001, Carroll, 2001, Devries,
2001a, Gundry-Volf, 2001).
The biblical tradition prizes children as a blessing given by a gracious God,
yet their social position is marginal, and they are vulnerable even to abuse in
the name of good household management. It is therefore all the more
astonishing that the Gospels present Jesus as the friend of children in a way
that departs radically from this larger cultural and biblical pattern. (Carroll,
2001, Jesus, Children, and the Realm of God section, para.l)
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Jesus stance did result in a greater valuation of children in the early church
(Harrison, 2000). Despite this, Scripture does not directly address the condition of the
childs soul, nor has this been a prominent topic for theologians (Devries, 2001b).
Thus, many views of the child have developed. The next section will discuss these
views, ranging from innocence to non-innocence, through representative theologians
and philosophers.
Philosophy and Theology
This section discusses both the philosophy and theology of childhood. Until
the time of Thomas Aquinas (1225/7-1274), Augustines view that philosophy and
theology complemented each other was most prominent. Thomas Aquinas saw
philosophy and theology as distinct enterprises, the first based those things that can be
seen, heard, tasted, and touched, while the second was founded on the divine
authority of the Bible (Murray, 2002). Though separate, throughout history, one finds
the discussion of philosophy and theology inextricably intertwined since most
theologians discussed philosophy and vice-versa. Both theology and philosophy are
crucial to understanding our present day views of the child. It would be difficult, if
not impossible to understand the varying views of the child from either perspective
alone.
Within this mixture of theology and philosophy, the focus of the following
discussion is the innocence or non-innocence of the child. For the context of this
research, this discussion is dependent on two important theological doctrines, the first
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original sin and imago deiThe Image of God. These constructs are foundational to
understanding the views of the child, from non-innocence to innocence.
Original Sin, Baptism, and Augustine
The foundation of the doctrine of original sin is that the original fall into sin
was not something that happened to Adam alone, but something that affected all of
mankind (McMahon, n.d., Man the Total Sinner, para.l). Kastens (1997) details the
use of baptism in the early church as a means to provide redemption for the child who
was bom with sin. He quotes Origen (185-254), one of the early church fathers, as
stating,
For this also it was that the church had from the Apostles a tradition to give
baptism even to infants. For they to whom the divine mysteries were
committed knew that there is in all persons a natural pollution of sin which
must be done away by water and the Spirit. (Church Council and Apologists
section, para.l).
Because of the belief that the child was bom with sin, the practice of baptizing
infants within the first eight days of life, or even on the day they were bom if ill, was
standard throughout early church history, in both the west and east (Kastens, 1997).
The understanding of original sin continued in the early Christian church.
Augustine (354-430) believed that, All of humanity had directly participated in the
first sin and that, with each act of concupiscence, parents passed on to their offspring
both the penalty and the original guilt for Adam's transgression (Bendroth, 2000,The
Sinful Child section, para. 2).
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Even though Augustine clearly did not believe children were innocent, he also
did not argue for the oppositedepravity. Between innocence and depravity
Augustine posed a third possibility: non-innocence. Any innocence in childhood
resided in physical weaknessthat is, in being unable to harm anyone else (in-
nocens, literally 'not harming') (Stortz, 2001, p. 82).
Imago-DeiImage of God and Augustine
The idea of man made in Gods image is part of Jewish tradition, but
receives a new meaning in the New Testament assertion that we are being
transformed into the image of Christ (Williams, 1968, Imago Dei and Imago Christi,
para. 1). According to Brantley (2001), Augustine, influenced by Greek philosophy,
believed that the imago deiThe Image of God included mans memory,
intelligence, and will. Klassen (2004) states that,
rather than focusing on a physical similarity between God and humans, the
focus is on a spiritual similarity ... Reason, the faculty by which humans are
exalted above the animals, was seen to be the primary characteristic humans
shared with God. Augustine developed this theme and made rationality (the
combination of reason and will) the primary structural aspect of the soul,
which became the seat of the imago in humans. (Gretz, 2001). (Klassen, 2004,
A Functional Definition of the Imago Dei section, para. 3).
From Non-Innocence to Innocence
Throughout history, the doctrines of original sin and imago dei have
consistently been part of the discussion about the child. While some believed very
strongly in the sinful nature of the child and the loss of imago dei though Adams
sinful fall, others believed the child was completely innocent and possessing imago
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dei. In between the two is a range of beliefs. The common characteristic of these
views is the belief that the child was bom in original sin, but also with the Image of
God, though that image was marred to some degree. The following section will look
at illustrative examples of these theological views.
Non-Innocence
Thomas Aquinas (1225/7-1274), Catholic theologian, while agreeing with
Augustine on the doctrine of original sin, tends to emphasize children's potential for
spiritual growth with the aid of grace rather than, like Augustine, their incapacity for
true devotion and virtue in the absence of grace (Triana, 2001, p. 108). Despite this,
Aquinas never refutes his strong belief in the doctrine of original sin.
Martin Luther (1483-1546), theology professor, priest and reformation leader,
saw the imago dei as consisting of the original righteousness and moral perfection
that humans possessed before the fall (Klassen, 2004), but also held to the doctrine
of original sin within a developmental framework where sin lies dormant until the
child is between the ages of five and seven (Strohl, 2001). This developmental
process contrasts with the view of Leonard Woods (1774-1854), who conceded that
though some children might be individually delightful, in fact, all were morally
corrupt (Bendroth, 2000, The Sinful Child section, para. 5). Luthers proposal was
that the imago consisted of the original righteousness and moral perfection that
humans possessed before the fall. The unifying factor in all these views is that the
imago dei is something possessed by people as part of being human.
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During the Reformation, John Calvin (1509-1564) takes Augustines views
further toward non-innocence with his belief that,
even infants bear their condemnation with them from their mother's womb;
for, though they have not yet brought forth the fruits of their own iniquity,
they have the seed enclosed within themselves. Indeed, their whole nature is a
seed of sin; thus, it cannot be but hateful and abominable to God. (Pitkin,
2001, p. 167)
This theology was clearly portrayed in what has been called the Calvinist schoolbook,
The New England Primer which, in rhymed couplets,... presents simple moral and
religious lessons such as In Adam's fall / we sinned all.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), American theologian and evangelist,
believed that sin,
was the inevitable result of human frailty after Adam's fall... They were
morally neutral at birth, not corrupt, but without God's indwelling spirit, they
began to sin as soon as they were 'capable' of it. In other words, Edwards
seems to have shared Augustine's view of infants as 'non-innocent,' but
because of his deep sense of human frailty, he also insisted that children
committed their first sin almost immediately after birth. Indeed, their 'non-
innocence' was so brief that it was virtually meaningless. (Brekus, 2001, p.
310)
These individuals all stand strongly on the side of the non-innocence of the
child. Aligned with this is a belief in the destruction of the imago dei by original sin.
This is in direct contrast to the next view of innocence.
Innocence
Kennedy (2000) contends that the view of the child as innocent was present as
early as Plato (427-347 B.C.). Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) believed that, children are
immature and simpleminded, but their basic inclinations and desires are not evil
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(Traina, 2001, p. 106). As has been discussed, this was not the view of the Church
Fathers who railed against those who would consider the child innocent.
Tertullian (160-215), the bishop of Carthage, Africa, proposed the
unorthodox the view of the child as innocent. It was his view that sinfulness begins
at the puberty, of the soul, that is "about the fourteenth year of life and it drives
man out of the paradise of innocence (De Anima 55:2) (Kastens, 1997, Sole
Apponent-A Heritic section, para. 1). This clearly set him against the orthodox view
of original sin.
The belief in innocence was an element of Pelagianism, a belief in the basic
goodness of people, which caused dissention again later in the early Christian church
(Triana, 2001). Pelagius (354-418), an ascetic monk, believed that humans did not
inherit guilt, but also did not inherit any corruption. And therefore each person has
the same choice that Adam and Eve had in the garden (Vail, 2002, Humanity and
Sin section, para. 2).
The belief in the innocence of the child is most prominent during the
Enlightenment. This is clearly stated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), as he
begins Emile, Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Author of Things;
everything degenerates in the hands of man (Kuest, 2003, p.10). With these words,
Rousseau proclaims the childs innocence.
He saw children as naturally innocent, not encumbered with the supposed
inheritance of original sin that drove earlier pedagogues to speak about the
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need to break the sinful will of children. Rather, it was the evil influences of
society that spoiled the natural goodness of children. (Devries, 2001a, p. 334)
Rousseaus contemporary, John Locke, while rejecting the doctrine of original
sin (Bunge, 2001), saw the child as being relatively empty containers, children
[who] had nothing of value to offer to adults (Devries, 2003a, The View of the Child
section, para. 2). Jonathan Mayhew (1720-1766) echoing John Locke ... argued that
a newborn child could not possibly be a sinner (Bendroth, 2000, The Sinful Child
section, para.3).
In general, the Romantic educators rejected the Christian view of human
depravity and began viewing humans as divine (Kim, 2003, p. 8.4). As we have
seen, Rousseau was not the first to propose the innocence of children, but he probably
had the greatest influence upon those who followed. Two prominent
educators/philosophers who followed in the path of Rousseau were Johann Pestalozzi
(1746-1847) and Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852). Though they both argued that the
child was good, Pestalozzi leaned toward a more central view of the innocence of the
child.
Unitarian, Henry Ware (1794-1843), also opposed the doctrine of original sin,
and argued that all children are bom innocent, that is, equally capable of vice or
virtue. In fact, small children are models of goodness, incapable of the duplicity and
selfishness that characterized adult life (Bendroth, 2000, The Sinful Child section,
para.5). Likewise, Karl Barth (1886-1968), Protestant theologian, believed that.
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like all human creatures, [children] possess impulses and desires that must be
respected and ordered to responsible existence. Under no circumstances
should they be identified with an inherited strain of original sin ... Barth
rejects outright hereditary transmission of sin as an 'extremely unfortunate and
mistaken' doctrine that would rule out an human agent's responsibility for the
evil he or she does or becomes. (Werpehowski, 2001, p. 390-391)
This group of theologians and philosophers clearly establish the innocence
side of the scale. Between innocence and non-innocence are those who have varying
views about original sin and imago dei.
Between Non-Innocence and Innocence
A number of theologians have views of the child that fall within the range of
beliefs between non-innocence and innocence. A characteristic of this group is their
emphasis on the Image of Godimago dei, retained, though marred, in each
individual.
John Chrysostom (347-407), Greek Church Father, was one of the earliest to
propose this view. He believed that, although the essential image of God in man has
not been touched, the likeness and the capacity to grow in divine similitude has been
severely weakened (Guroian, 2001, p. 68).
Menno Simons (1492-1559), a contemporary of Calvin and one of the
prominent leaders in the Anabaptist branch of the Protestant Reformation, delineates
between a nature predisposed toward sin and actual sinning, disallowing the former to
obliterate childhood innocence and identifying only the latter as that for which
believers have responsibility before God (Miller, 2001, p. 201). Considering that the
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non-innocent position was strongly accepted during Simons time, it is interesting that
he felt that children should be given time to develop.
Implicit in [Simons] writings, at least with a generous reading of his treatises,
is a valuing of childhood in its own right. Children ought not be trained in
guilt too early on, made to feel depraved and despicable. Instead, they should
be made conscious of the blessing and embrace of God, introduced to the
Jesus who took them upon his knee and called adults to be as they are. In
Simon's view, Christ's grace covers young children, frees them from
immediate responsibility for their own natures, and gives them space and time
to gradually develop and mature. (Miller, 2001, p. 216)
After the Reformation, this middle view became more prominent as John
Wesley (1703-1791), Anglican clergyman and theologian, maintained, original sin
does not bring guilt but only a predisposition toward sin. We are guilty for the sins
that we voluntarily commit (Vail, 2002, Humanity and Sin section, para. 1).
Heitzenrater (2001) did find some inconsistency in Wesleys view of the child.
He could as easily use children as empirical proof for the reality of sin as use
them as models for the type of faith that Christ requires of us all. Wesley
realized that children had limits, that they should not bear the burden of being
considered the same as adults. And yet he also knew that some children had a
capacity for knowledge and love that exceeded that of some adults, (p. 298)
Despite this, Wesley is consistent in his belief that after the fall, the image
remains. It is distorted but not obliterated fVail, 2002, Humanity and Sin section,
para.l). Looking to both Eastern and Western traditions, Wesley saw the child as
created in Gods image .. .which signifies an original state of complete perfection
in the likeness of God, but he also believed that because of original sin the image
was corrupted and could only be restored into the likeness of God through Gods
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restoring grace (Maddox, 1994, 67) (Nix, 2000, Wesley's Theological Anthropology
section, para. 1).
Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), Protestant preacher, philosopher, and
theologian, believed that we have higher and lower consciousness (spirit and flesh),
the higher being the part with which we connect to God. Within this theory, which
leans toward innocence, was the belief that infants were bom with as much potential
for sin as for salvation (Devries, 2001b, p. 341). Horace Bushnells (1802-1876)
theory was similar.
[He] did not believe sin was freely chosen or 'natural necessity' for a child.
Each new individual was in a sense a new Adam, coming into the world not
morally perfect but morally innocentthat is, without any direct empirical
knowledge of either good or evil. Adam's fall from grace and a child's first
sinful act are logical consequences of this inexperience. (Bendroth, 2001, p.
361)
Bushnell, a Congregationalist pastor, was heavily criticized for not taking
original sin into account and deluding children concerning their goodness, not
emphasizing their need for salvation. His view of the innocence or non-innocence of
the child is difficult to place since he seemed to draw from both extremes. Sometimes
he seems to echo Rousseau more than Augustine. And in many ways, though
Bushnell used Calvinist language on covenant and promise, he was a pioneering
Protestant liberal, charting a theological path away from the metaphysical certainties
of orthodox Calvinism (Bendroth, 2001, p. 360).
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Karl Rahner (1904-1984), Roman Catholic theologian, also locates the child
in this middle range of views. He believed that, although children are bom into a
history of sin, they are also in their origins 'encompassed by God's love through the
pledge of that grace ..(Hinsdale, 2001, p. 424).
This range of theologians provides the range of views of the child between
non-innocence and innocence. Imbedded in these views are the foundational doctrines
of original sin and the Image of God and the view of the child as innocent or non-
innocent. These doctrines and views have varying effects on how children are treated.
Effects of the views
You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing.
What! Is it nothing to be happy?
Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long?
Never in his life will he be so busy again.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762
The intent of the previous review was to demonstrate that throughout history,
philosophers and theologians have contemplated the question of the innocence of the
child. On one side the Puritans believed that Children [are] by nature evil, depraved
beings. Children [are] to be distinguished by their inherited corruption, marked by an
inability to know or do what is 'right' in a proper (adult) sense (Heitzenrater, 2001, p.
280). On the other side, Rousseau felt that the child, bom innocent and naturally
good, can be viewed as pure and corrupted only by society. Between these two views
are varying degrees of innocence and non-innocence; and the view one chooses
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makes a difference in several ways, the most prominent being in the area of
discipline.
Parenting and/or Classroom Management
Take a minute to picture your child in your minds eye. What do you see? Is
your image that of a sweet-smelling, fresh-from-the-bath infant sleeping
peacefully? Or perhaps you see your child as fussy and difficult to deal with?
Attitudes about children in general, recent experiences with the child, or the
success parents feel in their parenting role all contribute to the way parents
perceive their little ones. The image you have of your child can influence the
way you parent her (emphasis added). (Parents as Teachers, 2005, Beautiful
Pictures section, para.l)
The view of the child has affected the lives of children in the area of discipline
throughout history. Early Christian writers ... address[ed] the difficult issue of
discipline. In an era when corporal punishment was standard, Chrysostom offers a
psychologically nuanced account of why it should remain a possibility but be used
sparingly at most (Harrison, 2000, para. 5). Augustine, remembering his punishment
as a child, expresses considerable ambivalence about corporal punishment, which
he compares to the tortures that formed an integral part of the Roman criminal justice
system (Harrison, 2000, para. 6).
Some believe there is a connection between theological views and severe
punishment (Bartkowski & Ellison, 1995; Berliner, 1977; Greven, 1990; Kohn,
1996). No natural child, many evangelicals believed, could submit to either God or
parent without decisive, sometimes psychologically violent, intervention (Bendroth,
2000, The Redeemed Child section, para. 3). Despite this, historically, there is not
70


necessarily a direct correlation between the theologians view of innocence or non-
innocence of the child and the severity of punishment. In Calvin's case a pessimistic
view of human nature did not lead to the sanctioning of extreme physical punishment,
[though] this connection had some currency, though perhaps limited, among some of
his spiritual descendents (Pitkin, 2001, p. 191). An example of this was the Puritans,
who were spiritual descendents of Calvin. Their view of the child could result in
severe discipline as the parents tried to 'bend the twig' into a religious shape
(Heitzenrater, 2001, p.280).
Like Calvin, Pietist August Francke (1663-1727) rejected severe physical
punishment though he did talk of breaking the will. This may initially sound like an
insensitive or even cruel practice, but throughout the text he describes it primarily in
mild terms of igniting the spark of true piety, implanting piety, instilling piety,
awakening faith and love, and giving space and room for the working of God's
grace (Bunge, 2001, p. 262). After his death, his followers,
Absolutized a few of his principles. His followers apparently went in an anti-
intellectual direction and overemphasized the struggle of repentance and
conversion, creating a rigid and harsh environment for children and lost the
sense of childlike faith. Furthermore, even in evangelical movements today
that have been influenced by Pietism, language about breaking the will and
conversion is often connected to the harsh treatment of children. (Bunge,
2001, p. 273)
Though differing from Calvin and Francke in his view of the child, Wesley
believed that though children did need restraint, it should involve advice, persuasion,
and correction (Tracy, 1999, Parents Were Teachers section, para. 2). In addition, he
71


also felt that corporal punishment should be done only after all else failsand even
then you should take the utmost care to avoid the very appearance of passion.
Whatever is done should be done with mildness; nay indeed with kindness (Tracy,
1999, Parents were teachers section, para. 2).
Schleiermacher also denounces the use of corporal punishment, believing that,
Discipline is not about punishment but about promoting an ordered life ... To
exact compliance through fear of punishment only nurtures the lower self-
consciousness, which naturally seeks to avoid painful experiences. Parents
ought to instill in their children a love for the good, irrespective of rewards or
punishments. (Devries, 2001a, p. 343)
From this review of the theologians beliefs about discipline, it is apparent that
despite their varying views of the child, they were not that different in their view of
how to discipline the child. Tragically, their followers did not always maintain the
same stance. Because of this, it is mistakenly believed by some contemporary writers
and educators (on both sides of the issue) that the view of the child as non-innocent
almost requires punishment for submission to occur. The following is Grevens
(1990) description of this evangelical view.
The authoritarian Christian family is dependent on coercion and pain to obtain
obedience to authority within and beyond the family, in the church, the
community, and the polity. Modem forms of Christian fundamentalism share
the same obsessions with obedience to authority characteristic of earlier
modes of evangelical Protestantism, and the same authoritarian streak evident
among seventeenth and eighteenth century Anglo-American evangelicals is
discernible today, for precisely the same reasons: the coercion of children
through painful punishments in order to teach obedience to divine and
parental authority, (p. 198)
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Most fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, while advocating spanking,
do not agree with this extreme description of their perspective. In a poll that asked if
the respondent would punish a child by spanking, 26% said, Yes. It's the most
effective method of discipline, 47% said Yes, but only as a last resort, and 27%
said, No. It's wrong for parents to use corporal punishment (Do Not Spare the
Rod, n.d.). For the combined 73% of the first two groups, reasoning for the purpose
of physical punishment would be more in line with the following explanation:
When a parent administers a reasonable spanking in response to willful
disobedience, a similar nonverbal message [pain of touching a hot stove] is
being given to the child. He must understand that there are not only dangers in
the physical world to be avoided. He should also be wary of dangers in his
social world, such as defiance, sassiness, selfishness, temper tantrums,
behavior that puts his life in danger, that which hurts others, etc. The minor
pain associated with this deliberate misbehavior tends to inhibit it, just as
discomfort works to shape behavior in the physical world. Neither conveys
hatred. Neither results in rejection. Neither makes the child more violent.
(Spanking, n.d, para. 1)
It may be that behaviorism combined with the non-innocence view of the
child has resulted in the idea that children will not obey without some type of outward
control (Bendroth, 2000; Herrick, 2005; Tracy, 1999). It is interesting that two very
different belief systems, one based on a theological view of the child, and the other
based on an evolutionary view could come to agreement on this point.
Against this type of thinking, Kohn (1996) argues that, the need to
reinforce a behavior suggests that the behavior would disappear in the absence of
that reinforcement. Orthodox behaviorists believe this is true of everything .. .[Many]
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educators seem to believe it's true specifically of helpful acts (p. 3). Tayo, (2001)
warns that teachers should be,
aware of the God-given nature of students and help them to develop rather
than coercing or manipulating them. It can not be over emphasized that how a
teacher views the studentas an animal to be trained and manipulated for
society's survival, or as a person created in the image of God, has far reaching
implications, (p. 451)
While a continuing debate among those involved in parenting and education,
the issue of corporal punishment is not the focus of this research. The focus is instead
the correlation between various forms of punishment and the view of the child. While
making a case for a correlation between a view of non-innocence and physical
punishment is possible, the theological or philosophical roots reviewed in this study
are not the basis. Instead, as many other theologians who have been previously
discussed, Franke emphasizes guiding the child. He is not preoccupied with
obedience and punishment but rather focused on exposing children to the gospel and
fostering in them a living and active faith that leads to service of others (Bunge,
2001, p. 271).
Teaching
Early childhood educators are familiar with the Parents as Teachers program
which endeavors to help young parents with the developmental needs of their young
children. This idea of the parent as a teacher reaches back to antiquity and was
prevalent in the early church. Thus, parenting and teaching are closely connected in
the early writings.
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In the early church, there was the conviction that [religious] training was
primarily the responsibility of the parents. Several church leaders addressed letters or
sermons to parents instructing them in the proper Christian training of their children
(Glimpses, 2004b, No Sunday Schools Yet section, para.l). Harrison (2000) describes
how parents in early Christianity, were exhorted to teach their children good
character but also to provide them with a thorough grounding in Christian culture and
spiritual practice (Practical Guidelines section, para. 2).
During the Middle Ages religious instruction remained at the center of
education, but learning became pedantic, students were not encouraged to learn and
understand a subject; the only thing the teacher wanted was a simple regurgitation of
the facts. Rote memorization and recitation were the main teaching methods used in
schools (Kuest, 2003, p. 10.9). Christian educators, particularly before the
Enlightenment, viewed the child,
As basically evil and corrupt; [and believed] children [were] bom in sin and
have a predisposition to commit sin. Therefore, the teacher had the
responsibility to instill correct knowledge from the classics and the Bible to
replace this bent to sinning. Furthermore, the teacher also had free reign to use
the rod, both in encouraging proper learning and in punishment for
wrongdoing; literally giving rise to the saying that education was pounded
into you. (Kuest, 2003, p. 10.9)
Comenius (1952-1670), a Moravian minister, spoke against this accepted idea
of education, saying, schools should not be places of torture, slaughterhouses of the
mind. He believed that schools should instead be, a place children find enjoyable,
where their minds and imaginations are engaged in a great adventure, a place so full
75


of discovery the young person will eagerly look forward to going to school
(Glimpses, 2004, Schools Should be Fun, para. 4).
During the Enlightenment, a move away from this traditional transmission
based view of the teacher occurred. Students began to be seen as an integral part of
the learning process. Memorization, recitation, and the rod would slowly be replaced
in the classroom (Kuest, 2003, p. 10.10).
While picture of education for the child changed dramatically during the
Enlightenment, the method of teaching by transmission is today still common in
many schools (Sikkink, 2001). This is despite the fact that this overview of the
teaching practices espoused by the philosophers and theologians, present views about
education, which are predominantly more child centered. Sikkink (2001), in his study
of Christian schools found that some used
biblical passages to justify a disciplined, orderly, and individualized structure
for student learning. Others give legitimacy to learning environments
designed to foster creativity and community by drawing on imago deo
doctrines that see persons as reflecting God's image through creativity,
imagination, and social solidarity. (Introduction section, para. 3)
It is therefore possible to find a wide range of teaching practices in Christian
schools. Just as every classroom develops its own culture, schools also develop a
culture. The influence of the view of the child held by teachers and administrators is
part of this culture.
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Conclusion
The background information for appropriate methods for teaching math in
early childhood settings, as well as issues involved in moving preservice, and
classroom teachers toward more constructivist teaching methods, provided a
foundation upon which to build the Theoretical Framework for this study.
Commonalities of practice emerged during that study that included methodology
choices (learning theory) and uses of power. These commonalities became the focus
for three classroom types: Type A, based on behaviorist methods, Type B, based on
social constructivist methods, and Type C, based on cognitive, child-initiated
methods.
The research for these methods indicated that the view of the child as a learner
was distinctive in all three classroom types. It appears that what seemed like three
types of classrooms based on chosen methods, are really three types of methods
choices based on the teachers belief systemsspecifically their view of the child. An
historical study of the views of the child, from both a theological and philosophical
viewpoint provides evidence for the distinctive character of three views of the child.
The underlying precept for this is the non-innocence or innocence of the child, based
on the individuals belief about original sin and imago dei (Image of God).
The Theoretical Framework becomes the basis for the questionnaire described
in Chapter 3. Imbedded in the questionnaire are all constructs included in this
literature review. This includes appropriate methods for teaching math to young
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children, teachers backgrounds and influences, methodology and classroom
management choices, and their view of the child.
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CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
The overarching purpose of my research study is to provide a more complete
picture of the underlying influences on teachers choices of methodology in their
classrooms. Specifically, I looked for correlations between the teachers use of power,
learning theory and methodology, and the view of the child; all of which appeared to
follow similar patterns of implementation. The demographic data included type and
location of schools, teachers educational backgrounds, years teaching, grades taught,
and religious affiliation. Also collected were data on the influence of professional
resources and the importance of various mathematics skills for young children.
Descriptive statistical analysis and quantitative analysis also sought to determine if
demographic characteristics and influences lead to significantly different beliefs
about the three main constructs.
In order to determine the existence of correlation, the research question for
this study is as follows:
Does a (statistically significant) relationship exist between a teachers view of
the child and the teachers choice of instructional methodology and learning
theory and use of power in the classroom?
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Research Design
The design for the study was correlational analysis of data collected from an
online questionnaire administered to prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers with
licensed Websurveyor software. The basis for the questionnaire was the Theoretical
Framework developed in Chapter 2 (see Figure 1.1).
Sample
The sampling frame for this survey was prekindergarten and kindergarten
teachers. The choice was to use nonprobability sampling methods since there was no
possibility of obtaining a random sample of electronic mail addresses for the
sampling frame. In order to enhance the generalizability of this study, I included both
faith-based and private/public prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers.
Krathwohl (1998) states that, judgmental sampling uses the experience and
wisdom of the researcher to select a sample representative of the population (p. 172).
This was indeed the case in my Internet search, since my 30 years of experience in
the realm of private early childhood education enabled me to locate what proved to be
a representative sample of the population. This was accomplished by searching
denominational websites; websites for individual schools; and various associations
websites including American Association of Christian Schools (AACS), Association
of Christian Schools International (ACSI), Association of Classical Christian Schools
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(ACCS), Christian Schools International (CSI), National Association of Private
Schools (NAPS), and Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools (SBACS).
I also made an effort to invite all types of schools to participate. The sample
included teachers from private for profit and non-profit, Christian (independent/non-
denominational), church sponsored, public, and charter preschool and elementary
schools. In addition, the search specifically targeted teachers from all areas of the
United States, as well as international schools. Conducting an online questionnaire
did increase the number of participants, types of schools, and geographical locations.
The U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics,
Private School Universe Survey (PSS) (2003-2004) indicates that, in the most recent
data about private elementary schools, the total number of private elementary schools
in the United States was 17,197. These schools employed 470,104 teachers. If
approximately 1/6 of those teachers were kindergarten teachers, this would indicate
that there are approximately 78,000 private school kindergarten teachers in the United
States. The respondents included 190 kindergarten teachers, which would be
approximately .002% of the total population (This is a very general approximation
since the survey included some teachers from outside of the United States and some
not presently teaching kindergarten.) Similar data could not be located for
prekindergarten teachers.
Receiving data from varying types of schools allows a broader audience to
apply the research to their settings. This was particularly true of religious
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backgrounds in the analysis of the teachers view of the child. The demographics,
discussed next, will demonstrate the diversity within the sample and that, people can
learn from the case either for themselves or for applying to a population of cases
(Cresswell, 1998, p. 154).
The teachers answers to the questions concerning grades taught were
compared in order to confirm that only kindergarten and prekindergarten teachers
were included in the analysis. Seventeen of the 279 responses were discarded because
prekindergarten or kindergarten teachers did not complete them, leaving 262
participants.
Questionnaire Development and
Data Collection Procedures
This section will explain the construction of the questionnaire, as well as the
methods of distribution and data collection. The process began with building the
Theoretical Framework, then continued with the development of the questionnaire,
followed by a procedure of evaluation that included a pilot survey.
Pilot Survey
Frary (2002) suggest that researchers conduct a pilot survey for the following
reasons:
It is better to ask such a group to criticize a preliminary version of the
questionnaire. In this case, they should first answer the questions just as if
they were research subjects. The purpose of these activities is to determine
relevance of the questions and the extent to which there may be problems in
obtaining responses. For example, it might be determined that responders are
likely to be offended by a certain type of question or that a line of questions
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misconstrues the nature of a problem the responders encounter. (Preliminary
Considerations, para.3)
Thus, my first step in evaluating the questionnaire was completion of a pilot
survey. I asked teachers other than prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers to
complete the questionnaire. Twenty-nine individuals completed the questionnaire and
provided feedback for revision. One public school teacher who received the
questionnaire link via a colleague expressed offense regarding the religious content of
the view of the child section. The original version of the questionnaire included
twelve questions for the view of the child. Some of the statements were direct quotes
from historical documents and seemed harsh by modem standards. These were
revised once, but eventually I removed three of the questions, leaving nine in that
section.
As suggested by Walonick (2004), I also moved the view of the child section
to the end of the questionnaire in order to lessen the chance that the religious
elements might cause some to not complete the questionnaire.
If such questions appear early in the questionnaire, potential responders may
become too disaffected to continue, with nonreturn the likely result. However,
if they reach the last page and find unsettling questions, they may continue
nevertheless or perhaps return the questionnaire with the sensitive questions
unanswered. Even this latter result is better than suffering a nonreturn. (Frary,
2002, para. 11)
In addition, because the colleague who sent the survey to that individual
received negative feedback, specifically that district policy prohibited distribution of
surveys on public school online networks (especially that which contained religious
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content), I purposefully did not elicit public school participation. This accounts for
the low representation of public school teachers in the sample (n = 18).
The pilot survey also confirmed the acceptability of the choices given to the
respondents in the sections where the participants were to indicate agreement or
disagreement. The choices were: Do not agree, Tend to disagree, Neutral, Tend to
Agree, and Agree. The one statement that I used to analyze this was, Children are
bom innocent. The responses were as follows: Do not agree (7), Tend to disagree
(4), Neutral (8), Tend to agree (4), Agree (6). The data results appeared to provide the
necessary information without forcing either a choice that was not indicative of
beliefs or a non-response.
Survey Distribution
Distribution of the link to the questionnaire was by electronic mail messages.
The respondents completed the questionnaire online. In comparing traditional
methods of delivering surveys and online surveys, InsightExpress (2002) has validated
online research through side-by-side studies with traditional methods for a variety of
applications ... Each time the online research study produced results that mirrored the
data from traditional methods (p. 3).
The creation of the sample populations electronic mail address list for
distribution of the survey link used the following methods: (a) Sending electronic
mail messages to professional colleagues, friends, former students, and family
requesting their assistance in completing the questionnaire, if applicable
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(prekindergarten or kindergarten teachers, present or past), and/or forwarding the link
to the questionnaire to others who met the criteria. (Possible bias discussed in Chapter
5.); (b) Using an Internet search engine to locate school or teachers electronic mail
addresses (either individual school sites or teacher associations) with an effort to
locate electronic mail addresses for various types of schools from all geographic areas
in and outside of the United States.
The methods above resulted in sending the questionnaire link to
approximately 2,300 electronic mail addresses. The electronic mail message
introduced me, as the researcher, and explained the purpose of the questionnaire (see
Appendix A). An estimated 10% of electronic mail messages returned as
undeliverable. Teachers accessed the questionnaire via a link to an Internet site.
Response Rate
During the design of the questionnaire, I considered two factors related to
response rate. The first was the length of the survey. In research conducted by
InsightExpress (2002), respondents stated, in no uncertain terms (87%), that they're
most likely to complete an online survey if takes less than 20 minutes. But they're even
more agreeable to surveys that require no more than 15 minutes of their time (p.10). I
originally estimated the questionnaire to take 15 minutes to complete, but those
completing the pilot indicated it was less than that, probably only 10 minutes. In addition,
the survey was set up with only a few questions on each page, thus a long page of
questions never overwhelmed the respondent.
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