Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Caroline Barratt-Pugh

Second Supervisor

Dr Tony Fetherston


This study investigated the personal practical knowledge of twenty-one Barbadian teachers in relation to a range of pedagogic practices advocated for use in the education of children under five years of age. The investigation of this knowledge was based on an interpretative perspective. The conceptual underpinning was framed by Personal Construct Psychology (Kelly, 1995), and its methodology, the repertory grid technique. The grid was formulated and used in a sample of schools with under-fives. Findings were clarified, confirmed and elaborated by the use of in-depth interviews conducted with teachers in their classroom settings. The findings revealed that teachers construed pedagogic practices from two perspectives. First, those concerned with the total development. The factors associating the practices and the perspectives were presented under five major themes:- Consideration of the Child; Benefits to the under-fives; Classroom Experiences; Traditional Academic Focus; and Teacher’s versus Child Dominance. Eclectic constructions and uses of teaching practices were clearly evident. Individual choices were varied and at times conflicting; they derived from the teachers’ own construct systems, their anticipation of events in early childhood education, and their technical, cultural and theoretical knowledge. The implications and recommendations made in this study provide the basis for the development of coherent teaching strategies for early childhood education in Barbados.