Children's feelings about school - Case Study from Gombak

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A Study of a Sample of Children Feelings towards School in an urban area, Gombak.

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

Problem Statement

In an ideal setting, young children should be happy to come to school. Young children’s feelings towards school are very important as it influences the children to come to school with a happy face. Since young children are innocent and honest, they let the adults know exactly how they feel without even thinking about it. The factors that influence young children to come to school are teacher-child relationship; peer relationship; lessons and events conducted by teachers. Parents nowadays are fully aware that early childhood education is very important in their child’s life. It is fundamental for a child to have a strong foundation prior to their formal education. In order for them to enrol their children in the best education place, they hunt all over the places. Unfortunately, many of them think that only well-equipped environment plays an important role for the children to go to school. If we continue to believe that a well-equipped environment influences the children to come to school, we will never understand the larger question of why the children like to come to school. In order to determine the most contributing factor that influences young children to come to school, a ‘Me and My School Scale’ will be given to a sample of young children.

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The Purpose Statement

The purpose of this study is to determine the most contributing factors among teacher-child relationship; peer relationship; lessons and events conducted by the teacher that influences young children to come to school in an urban area, Gombak.

Research Questions

Does teacher-child relationship influence young children to come to school?

Does peer relationship influences young children to come to school?

Does lessons and events conducted by the teachers influence young children to come to school?

Which is the most contribution factor that influences young children to come to school?

Are there any differences in the contribution factors that influence young children to come to school?

Hypotheses

There is a relationship among teacher-child relationship; peer relationship; and activities and lessons conducted by the teacher which influence young children to come to school.

Research Objectives

To investigate teacher-child relationship influence young children to come to school.

To investigate peer relationship influences young children to come to school.

To investigate lessons and event conducted by the teachers influence young children to come to school.

To examine the most contribution factor that influences young children to come to school.

To examine the differences in the contribution factors that influence young children to come to school.

CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

According to National Association for the Education of Young Children, school is a time for children to expand their love of learning, their general knowledge, their ability to get along with others and their interest in reaching out the world. It is important to ensure that young children feel happy to come to school. Children should address their school as a place where they eagerly looking forward to go to instead of forced to go. The main factors that influence young children to come to school are teacher-child relationship; peer relationship; lessons and events conducted by teachers.

Teacher-child relationship

Positive teacher-child relationships evidenced by teachers' reports of low conflict, a high degree of closeness and support, and little dependency have been shown to support children adjustment to school, contribute to their social skills, promoteacademic performance, and foster children's resiliency in academic performance (Battistich, Schaps, & Wilson, 2004; Birch & Ladd, 1997; Hamre & Pianta, 2001). According to Birch & Ladd (1997) and Klem & Connell (2004), teachers who experience close relationships with children stated that their children were happy to come to school, appeared more self-directed, more cooperative and more engaged in learning. Children liking school more and experiencing less loneliness if they had a close relationship with their teachers. Children with better teacher-student relationships also showed better performance on measures of academic performance and school readiness (Birch & Ladd, 1997).

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The quality of early teacher-child relationships has a long-lasting impact. Specifically, children who had more conflict with their teachers or showed more dependency toward their teachers in kindergarten also had lower academic and more behavioural problem which were proven by a survey conducted by Hamre & Pianta in the year 2001. In addition, Berry and O'Connor (2009) describes that children with more closeness and less conflict with teachers developed better social skills.

There are two important theories in the teacher-children relationship which are Attachment Theory and Self-System Theory. Firstly, Attachment theory explains how children use their positive relationship with adults to organize their experiences (Bowlby, 1969). This shows that children view their teacher as a ‘secure base’ to explore the classroom environment. It is also makes the children feel safe when making mistakes and feel more comfortable accepting the academic challenges.

The second theory which closely related to this factor is Self-system theory. It emphasizes the importance of students' motivation and by doing so, explains the importance of teacher-child relationships (Connell & Wellborn, 1991; Harter, in press; McCombs, 1986). Children come to the school with three basic psychological needs namely competence, autonomy and relatedness. All of these needs can be met in a classroom through children's interactions with teachers and with the learning environment (Deci & Ryan, 2002). Positive teacher-child relationships help students meet these needs. Teachers offer feedback to children to support their feelings of competence. Teachers who know their children's interests and preferences and show regard and respect for these individual differences bolster children's feelings of autonomy. Teachers who establish a personal and caring relationship and foster positive social interactions meet their students' needs for relatedness or social connection to school which eventually will make them enjoy coming to school

Peer relationship

People often hear this phrase ‘I have no friends and I’m not going to school’. Studies have found that peer acceptance as a factor in the process of school adjustment in the early years of schooling. Children’s peer acceptance in kindergarten predicted changes in classroom engagement followed by academic and emotional adjustment. Peer rejection to children’s adjustment was partially mediated through the process of peer maltreatment and reduced classroom engagement (Buhs & Ladd, 2001). This shows that it is important to have positive peer acceptance among children which eventually will make them feel comfortable and happy to come to school.

Friends are vital to children’s healthy development. Research has found that children who lack of friends can suffer from emotional and mental difficulties later in life. Friendship provides children with more than just fun playmates. Friendships help children develop emotionally and morally (Ferrer & Fugate, 2014). Children learn many social skills such as how to communicate, cooperate, and solve problems by interacting with friends. They practice controlling their emotions and responding to the emotions of others. They develop the ability to think through and negotiate different situations that arise in their relationships. Having friends even affects children's school performance. Children tend to have better attitudes about school and learning when they have friends there. In short, children benefit greatly from having friends.

Positive peer relationships have a wide range of benefits for children as they develop, as well as for their future (Gilford-Smith & Brownell, 2005). Hay (2005) stated that children who could engage in complex play with peers as toddlers went on to be more competent in dealing with other children in the preschool years and in middle childhood. Nevertheless, children with problematic peer relations may have negative experiences as they transition to school, which can then impact negatively on their academic success.

Lessons and Events

School curriculum includes lessons; annual events; snack time; and individual and group activities. Developmentally appropriate classrooms encourage the growth of children's self-esteem, their cultural identities, their independence and their individual strengths. The children will continue to develop and control their own behaviour through the guidance and support of warm, caring adults. At this stage, children are already eager to learn and possess an innate curiosity. Teachers with a strong background in early childhood education and child development can best provide for children what they need to grow physically, emotionally, and intellectually. National Association for the Education of Young Children suggested ten signs of a good school classroom and the main seven points that influences children to come to school are the list below:

  1. Children are playing and working with materials or other children. They are not aimlessly wandering or forced to sit quietly for long periods of time.
  2. Children have access to various activities throughout the day, such as block building, pretend play, picturebooks, paints and otherartmaterials, and table toys such as legos, pegboards, and puzzles. Children are not all doing the same things at the same time.
  3. Teachers work with individual children, small groups, and the whole group at different times during the day. They do not spend time only with the entire group.
  4. Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday experiences. Exploring the natural world of plants and animals,cooking, taking attendance, and serving snack are all meaningful activities to children.
  5. Children work on projects and have long periods of time (at least one hour) to play and explore. Filling out worksheets should not be their primary activity.
  6. Children have an opportunity to play outside every day that weather permits. This play is never sacrificed for more instructional time.
  7. Curriculum is adapted for those who are ahead as well as those who need additional help. Because children differ in experiences and background, they do not learn the same things at the same time in the same way.
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