Teachers' Beliefs and Practices Regarding Young Children's Leadership: A Comparison Between New Zealand and Honduras
The main purpose of this comparative study was to explore how teachers of four to five year old children in New Zealand and Honduras translate their beliefs regarding children’s leadership into practice. This study has the potential to increase our understanding of beliefs and practices that will assist teachers in supporting children’s leadership. The study used a comparative case-study design in order to look at similarities and differences between the two cases, focusing on two early childhood centres from low socio-economic areas in the capital cities of each country. Two teachers from each centre were asked to be participants in the study. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews, participant observations, and documentation. The findings suggest that both New Zealand and Honduran teachers translate their beliefs regarding children’s leadership into practice. However, the findings showed significant differences between New Zealand teachers’ child-directed and Honduran teachers’ teacher-directed beliefs and practices. The teachers in the New Zealand settings encourage leadership by empowering the children to deliberately take a leadership role, while the teachers in the Honduran settings encourage leadership by allocating opportunities for the children to take a leadership role. In addition, the teachers in New Zealand highlighted their belief and practice concerning children sharing leadership, while the concept of sharing leadership was not emphasized by the Honduran teachers. This study suggests the importance of teachers reflecting on their beliefs regarding children’s leadership and how these guide their teaching practice in order to support children’s leadership.