Pre-school teacher factors that influence the teacher-child relationships in Miriga Mieru divisions, Meru Central district, Kenya
Murungi, Catherine Gakii
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The study was designed to investigate the influence of teachers' teaching experience, parent-teacher relationship, and teacher efficacy on the teacher-child relationship because teachers are prime movers of the educational issue that must be addressed in our Kenyan context; so far no study has been done to establish this in Kenya. It is in this light that factors influencing the teacher-child relationship are considered important for investigation. The study was carried out in Meru Central District. Forty pre-schools were selected: high cost, low cost, and middle cost schools, using the stratified sampling technique. The questionnaire was personally administered to 40 pre-school teachers. The questionnaire had four parts: Part:1 the teacher information survey, Part:2 the student-teacher relationship scale, Part:3 teacher efficacy scale and Part:4 the parent-teacher relationship scale. The collected data was processed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The Pearson product moment correlation was used to test the hypotheses in this study. A statistically significant relationship was found to exist between parent-teacher relationship and the teacher-child relationship scores at a <0.05. This implied that parent-teacher relationship influences the teacher-child relationship. The results also showed that statistically there was no significant relationship between teacher's years of teaching experience and the teacher-child relationship scores at a <0.05. This implied that the years of a teachers' teaching experience do not influence the teacher-child relationship. There was no statistically significant relationship found between a teachers' teacher efficacy and the teacher-child relationship scores at a <0.05 and this implies that a teacher efficacy does not influence the teacher-child relationship. From these results, it became clear that the factor that mostly influences the teacher-child relationship is the parent-teacher relationship. It was recommended that additional research is needed to determine the extent to which other factors: such as environmental factors like space and materials, classroom routines, teacher-child ratios and child factors like problem behaviour and gender and their influences on the teacher-child relationship. Further research is also needed to investigate the teacher-factors and their influence on teacher-child relationship in other geographical regions. The teacher in charge of the pre-school centers and the local authorities should ensure that the appropriate teacher to child ratio is observed this is observed this is to ensure that the classes are not overcrowded and this may improve the teacher-child relationship. Parents of pre-schools might need to attend seminars on benefits to the children when parents involve in their schooling, how they can build a good relationship with their pre-school teacher; and also how to make friends with their child's teacher.