2013. Vol.4, No.11, 912-915
Published Online November 2013 in SciRes (
Open Access 912
Effects of Teachers Level of Education and Experience on
Teacher-Child Interactions in Early Childhood Institutions
Nana Yaa Nyarko1, Hil l a r A d do 2
1Department of Fam ily and Consumer Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
2Department of Information Technology, University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana
Received September 5th, 2013; revised October 7th, 2013; accepted November 12th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Nana Yaa Nyarko, Hillar Addo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited.
Early childhood c are and development (ECCD) in Ghana have received attention in the last decade. To en-
sure quality of instruction and build capacity of early childhood teachers and caregivers, the National
Nursery Teachers’ Training Centre was set up by the government to offer specialized training in nursery
education for teachers and nursery attendants. Universities and the Colleges of Education have been man-
dated to train teachers for early childhood education. This study therefore sought to find out the effects of
level of education and years of experience of teachers on their interactions with children (3 - 5) in early-
childhood institutions in Ghana using the Caregiver Child Interaction Scale (r = 0.77). The sample (N =
103; Female 99%): made up of teachers from thirty-one preschools in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana
were observed during their normal classroom routine. There appeared not to be any statistically signifi-
cant difference between the teachers’ level of education and years of experience on the interaction scores.
Keywords: Teacher-Child Interactions; Years of Exp erience; Teacher Education
It has been just a little over a decade since the Government of
Ghana put together the early childhood care and education pol-
icy to cater for the needs of working mothers and their infants.
Kindergarten education (for four year olds) was not the part of the
formal educational system; it was introduced as a result of
recommendations made by the President’s Committee on Re-
view of Education Reforms (Ministry of Education, Anamoah-
Mensah Report, 2002). The Early Childhood Care and Devel-
opment (ECCD) Policy of Ghana provide the broad policy goal
which is to promote the survival, growth and development of
all children (0 - 8 years) in Ghana and to ensure improved
standard of living and enhance quality of life for families in
Ghana (ECCD, 2002). The policy also focuses on building the
capacity of ECCD practitioners and quality of instructions
among its goals and objectives.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Or-
ganization (UNESCO) International Bureau of Education (IBE)
country profile report on Early Childhood Care and Education
programmes in Ghana (2006) revealed that only 22.2% of
22,014 early childhood teachers had received training. The qua-
lity of instruction has become of great concern due to the rapid
expansion of preschool services. National policy (ECCD, 2002)
in Ghana aims to address current problems of access and qual-
ity in early childhood education by promoting the professional
identity, prestige and respect for early childhood educators. The
Ghanaian government mandated teacher education institutions
such as Colleges of education, Universities of Education i.e. Cape
Coast and Winneba were expanded to maximize use of their
training facilities, as well as prepare researchers and early
childhood leaders who can assume critical roles in advancing
early childhood education throughout the nation. National Nur-
sery Teachers’ Training Centre (NNTTC) was also set up by
government to enable training of nursery teachers and atten-
dants over three months duration.
Ofosu-Appiah (2009) opines that Ghana lacks teachers who
have specialized in preschool or early childhood education. The
Director of Basic Education, Ghana Education Services, is re-
ported to have said that participation at kindergartens and early
childhood programmes as a whole have increased since 2007
(Sivan, 2010). The universities and colleges of education until
recently did not have programmes in early childhood education.
In effect there are no real professionals in that area, “what we
have been doing over the years is just trial and error” (Ofosu-
Appiah, 2009). Factors known to influence quality of teacher
child interactions have been teacher education (Berk, 1985;
Ruopp, Travers, Glantz, & Coelen, 1979; Whitebook, Howes,
& Phillips, 1990), and a specialization in child development
(Arnett, 1989).
Statement of Problem
There is a shortage in supply of specialized early childhood
education teachers to meet the current demand but participation
in early childhood programmes in Ghana has increased. Quality
of instruction in ECD programmes are compromised as the pro-
fessionals responsible lack the needed training. This study
therefore sought to find out if indeed teachers’ interactions with
children in their care would be affected by their level of educa-
tion and or years of experience.
Objectives of Study
1) To ascertain the effect of the level of education on the
teachers interactions with children in their care.
2) To find out the effect of years of experience on teachers
interactions with children in their care.
The study proposes the testing of the following hypotheses:
Ho1: The interaction scores of Teachers with a post secon-
dary education will not be statistically different from teachers
with no post secondary education.
Ho2: The interaction scores of Teachers with longer years of
experience will not be statistically different from teachers with
little or no years of experience.
The study was a descriptive survey. Hundred and three (103)
teachers who taught in early childhood institutions in the
Greater Accra Region of Ghana were purposively sampled for
the study. A pilot study was undertaken on five (5) preschool
teachers (not part of final analysis) to ensure content validity.
The calculated Cronbach’s alpha is 0.77 which is above 0.50
and therefore considered more than appropriate (Nunnally &
Berstein, 1994) for the study. Observations were conducted by
the researchers and two trained research assistants. The chi
square statistic was used to test the hypotheses.
One hundred and three teachers from various schools in the
Greater Accra Region of Ghana with a focus on early childhood
education were sampled to form part of the study. Sampled
teachers were those who taught ages 3 - 5, i.e. nursery, kinder-
garten 1 and kindergarten 2.
Informed consent was obtained from heads of institutions
and teachers who were willing to participate in the study before
a date was scheduled for the observation. Observation of a
teacher in a classroom took an average of four hours. All heads
of schools and teachers were assured confidentiality in that the
data would be used for research purposes alone. The observa-
tion guidelines set in the Caregiver Child Interaction Scale
scoring manual was followed strictly. To minimize distracting
children, researcher and assistants dressed in pale colours and
sat unobtrusively in the class. The teachers were revisited to
ascertain if the observation had any bad effects on the class.
Ethical clearance was obtained from the Noguchi Memorial
Institute for Medical Research Review Board.
The Caregiver-Child Interaction Scale (CCIS) -Barbara Carl
It is a 14 item measurement tool used to assess teacher child
interaction. The 14 items are organized into three domains
(Emotional-Tone of Voice, Acceptance/Respect for Children,
Enjoys and Appreciates Children, Expectations for Children.
Cognitive/physical-Health and Safety, Routine/times Spent,
Physical Attention, Discipline, Language Development, Learn-
ing Opportunities, Involvement with Children’s Activities. And
Connections with a wider world-Arrival, Promotion of proso-
cial Behaviour/social Emotional Learning and Relationship
with Families. The CCIS is a tool that can be used to improve
quality child care. Each item is presented as a 7-point scale with
detailed criteria at four anchor points: 1 (inadequate), 3 (mini-
mal), 5 (good), and 7 (excellent). Numerous indicators com-
prise each CCIS item. Each of these indicators operationally
defines specific actions that comprise a score. Either the be-
haviour is present or it is not. This method removes much of the
subjectivity in scoring. It reports an internal consistency of
Data Analysis
Data was coded and analysed using the Statistical Package
for the Social Sciences. Means and standard deviations for the
population were derived. The Chi square statistic was used to
test hypotheses on level of education and years of experience.
Age, Level of Education and Experience of Study
Table 1 documents the background characteristics of the
study participants as follows. The mean age (n = 97) reported
is 36 and standard deviation of 11. About 69% of teachers were
young adults (i.e. 20 - 40). About 50% of the sample had Sec-
ondary education as their highest level of education. Trained
(diploma and degree holders) teachers formed only 32% con-
Table 1.
Background characteristic s of st u d y participants (N = 103).
Characteristics n (%)
Caregiver age (years) (n = 97) (Mean ± SD) 36 ± 11
20 - 30 35 (36.1 )
31 - 40 32 (32.9 8 )
41 - 50 21 (21.6 5 )
51 - 71 9 (9.28)
Educational level (n = 101)
JHS 7 (6.9)
SHS/O&A Level 52 (51.5 )
Certificate/ NNTTC 8 (7.9)
Diploma/T raining college 18 (17.8)
Degree 15 (14.9)
Number of years of experience in child care (n = 103)
<1 2 (1.9)
1 - 3 21 (20.4)
4 - 6 24 (23.3)
7 - 10 18 (17.5)
11 - 15 15 (14.6 )
16 - 20 10 (9.7)
>20 13 (12.6)
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Open Access
firming UNESCO International Bureau of Education country
profile report on Early Childhood Care and Education pro-
grammes in Ghana (2006) and Ofosu-Appiah, (2009) that
Ghana lacked specialized early childhood teachers. Teachers’
years of experience with childcare varied from 1 - 20 years.
This could probably be due to an increase in the participation in
kindergarten and early childhood programmes as a whole
(Sivan, 2010). Hence creating job opportunities for the youth
(young adults) in Ghana.
Hypothesis 1
Teachers’ educational level did not have any effect on their
interactions (Table 2). The only domain likely to have been
influenced is Connections with a wider world at (p = 0.07).
Teachers had a way of helping children understand acceptable
behaviour and norms, however statistically this could not be
Hypothesis 2
Years of experience (Table 3) though not statistically sig-
nificant could likely influence the emotional domain (p = 0.08).
Over time teachers may have learnt not to react overly by
shouting around children as it brings no positive results. In an
interview with one teacher she said “if you shout on a child too
Table 2.
Teachers Educational level Against Interaction Scores on CCIS Domains.
Educational l evel n (%)
Domain Classification JHS SHS/O&A leve l Certificate / NNTTCDiploma/trai ning college Degree Masters
Low care 2 (2.1) 9 (9.4) 2 (2.1) 3 (3.1) 5 (5.2) 0 (0.0)
Minimal care 4 (4.2) 33 (34.4) 4 (4.2) 12 (12.5) 6 (6.2) 1 (1.0)
Excellent c are 0 (0.0) 10 (10.4) 0 (0.0) 3 (3.1) 2 (2.1) 0 (0.0)
Low care 3 (3.1) 24 (25.0) 2 (2.1) 7 (7.3) 5 (5.2) 0 (0.0)
Minimal care 3 (3.1) 25 (26.0) 4 (4.2) 9 (9.4) 8 (8.3) 1 (1.0) COPH
Excellent care 0 (0.0) 3 (3.1) 0 (0.0) 2 (2.1) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0)
Low care 4 (4.2) 31 (32.3) 1 (1.0) 9 (9.4) 11(11.5) 1 (1.5)
Minimal care 2(2.1) 20 (20.8) 3 (3.1) 8 (8.3) 2 (2.1) 0 (0.0 ) COWW
Excellent care 0 (0.0) 1 (1.0) 2 (2.1) 1 (1.0) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0)
Low care 2 (2.1) 13 (13.5) 1 (1.0) 2 (2.1) 5 (5.2) 0 (0.0)
Minimal care 4 (4.2) 39 (40.6) 5 (5.2) 16 (16.7) 8 (8.3) 1 (1.0) TOTA
Excellent care
EMOT = Emotional domain; COPH = Cognitive/Physical education; COWW = Connection with a wider world; TOTA = Total caregiver domain score; #No statistical ly
significant differences were observed at p < 0.05 (Fisher’s exact test).
Table 3.
Teachers years of experience against interaction scores on the CCIS domains.
Years of experience n (%) #p-valueYears of experience with this age level n (% )
Domain Classification 0 - 10 11 - 20 >20 0 - 10 11 - 20 >20
Low care 17 (17. 0) 2 (2.0) 3 (3.0) 21 (21.0) 0 (0) 1 (1.0)
Minimal care 39 (39.0) 15 (15.0) 8 (8.0) 55 (55.0) 7 (7.0) 0 (0)
Excellent care 7 (7.1) 8 (18.0) 1 (1.0)
11 (11.0) 5 (5.0) 0 (0)
Low care 31 (31.0) 7 (7.0) 5 (5.0) 38 (38.0) 3 (3.0) 1 (1.0)
Minimal care 29 (29.0) 16 (16.0) 7 (7.0) 45 (45.0) 8 (8.0) 0 (0)
Excellent care 3 (3.0) 2 (2.0) 0 (0)
4 (4.0) 1 (1.0) 0 (0)
Low care 36 (36.0) 13 (13.0) 10 (10.0)50 (50.0) 8 (8.0) 1 (1.0)
Minimal care 25 (25.0) 10 (10.0) 2 (2.0) 33 (33.0) 4 (4.0) 0 (0)
Excellent care 2 (2.0) 2 (2.0) 0 (0.0)
4 (4.0) 0 (0) 0 (0)
Low care 19 (19. 0) 2 (2.0) 3 (3.0) 23 (23.0) 0 (0) 1 (1.0)
Minimal care 44 (44.0) 23 (23.0) 9 (9.0) 64 (64.0) 12 (12.0 ) 0 (0.0)
Excellent care - - -
- - -
EMOT = Emotional domain; COPH = Cognitive/Physical education; COWW = Connection with a wider world; TOTA = Total caregiver domain score; #No statistical ly
significant differe nces were observed at p < 0.05 (F i sher’s exact test).
much he or she becomes timid”.
The present study examined relationships between the teach-
ers’ interaction scores on developmental domains with their
level of education (Table 2) and years of experience (Table 3).
There were no significant differences between level of educa-
tion and years of experience and the teachers’ interaction scores
hence both hypotheses were retained. Teachers observed were
predominantly females (99%) and perhaps had been socialized
to become ‘nurturing’ where older siblings were made to care
for younger ones. Teachers’ Sunday school experiences were
also not assessed. These experiences could have implications in
future research but was not investigated as part of teachers’
total years of care giv i ng exp erience.
Teacher education (Berk, 1985; Ruopp, Travers, Glantz, &
Coelen, 1979; Whitebook, Howes, & Phillips, 1990), and a spe-
cialization in child development (Arnett, 1989) are factors known
to influence quality of teacher child interactions, the present
study did not find any correlations between them. Even though
it appeared there were no statistically significant differences the
study had enough power to detect medium to small effect sizes.
Cohen (1992), records that sample sizes of 64 and 26 was need-
ed to determine medium to small effect sizes respectively at
0.05 level of significance. This study had a sample size of 103
about twice the size needed for medium to small effect sizes.
With early childhood care and development programmes still
evolving in Ghana, one would have expected that there will be
a clear difference between the few trained and experienced tea-
chers and the untrained inexperienced ones. This was not so in
this study. Is it likely that generally the way of socialization in-
formally prepared teachers as care givers? Further qualitative
studies are recommended.
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