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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teachers' practices in kindergarten classrooms within the Cape Coast metropolis, Ghana Mumuni, Thompson


Even though previous research points to the significance of kindergarten teachers’ practices, that take into consideration the nature of children and how they learn, there is limited research regarding developmentally appropriate practices in various socio-cultural contexts. To address this gap in the literature, a qualitative multi-case study into the perceptions and classroom practices of four kindergarten teachers in two Ghanaian schools, Tata and Kariba, was carried out over a six-month period. Four research questions guided the study, namely: How do teachers interpret and apply DAP in kindergarten classrooms within the Ghanaian sociocultural context?; With what kind of learning activities do teachers engage kindergarten children?; Which instructional strategies do teachers use in a kindergarten classroom?; and What factors and beliefs influence teachers’ instructional decision-making in a kindergarten classroom? Cognitive constructivist theory (Piaget, 1951) and sociocultural theory (Vygotsky,1978) informed the research. Data used were semi-structured individual interviews and pair-based interviews and fieldnotes of classroom observations. Both within and across case interpretative analysis, as outlined by Stake (2006), was used. The findings of this study revealed these teachers’ practices were developmentally appropriate and they interpreted DAP within the Ghanaian socio-cultural context through contextually relevant language of instruction (English language, Nfante language), age- and culturally- appropriate learning materials, and the use of storytelling, traditional songs, and traditional rhymes. Moreover, teachers in both the urban and rural setting, described a variety of learning activities they believed impacted children’s development in different ways; they pointed to play-based instruction and integration as well as specific strategies such as picture-walk and think-pair-share that they believed promoted effective DAP; and discussed their explicit and implicit theories of teaching involved in their instructional decision-making processes. These findings are discussed in light of current research in early childhood education to provide insights into how DAP, as interpreted and applied in the Ghanaian socio-cultural context, can inform teaching and learning in kindergarten classrooms, globally. Implications for future research and practice both within Ghana and elsewhere are established.

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