Teacher Behavior Observation Scale (TEBOS)


The importance of early years have been emphasized by various researchers. Bloom (1964), pointed out the fast rate of intellectual development in the early years and emphasized the importance of environment. Children were seen as malleable during the preschool years and for the future productivity of children, early educational experiences were seen as crucial (Roopnarine and Johnson, 1987). Hunt (1961), claimed that an enriched environment in early childhood could make significant differences in the level and rate of intellectual development (cited in Goodwin and Driscoll, 1984). Various studies reported by Berrueta-Clement, Schweinhart, Barnett, Epstein and Weikart (1984), Schweinhart, Weikart and Larner (1986), Schweinhart and Weikart (1988) showed that high-quality early childhood programs were effective in overcoming the negative effects of childhood poverty and even produced various short-term and long-term benefits for these children. Various studies pointed out the crucial importance of the component of teacher in early childhood education (Reichenberg-Hackett, 1962; Rosenthal and Jacobson, 1968; Good, Biddle and Brophy, 1975; Kounin, 1970; Scott, 1977). After reviewing these studies it can be said that teacher is the most important factor in a nursery school and increasing the quality of teacher behaviors will positively effect the quality of early childhood education services. The initial step for working on the performance of teachers is evaluation. Teacher behaviors need to be evaluated to determine the existing strengths and weaknesses so that interventions can be provided to reinforce the strenghts and build up the weak points. The evaluation process necessitates objective means for assessment. Search by the present researcher showed that there was a need to develop a tool for this purpose in Turkish early childhood education system. The aim of this study was to develop a rating scale that could be used by people trained in the field to evaluate teacher performance in terms of direct observable interaction of teachers with the children in the nursery schools.

The Component of Teacher in Preschool Education

Preschool education consists of the components of physical environment, teacher, children, administrator, aim of the center, curriculum, evaluation and parent involvement. All of these components are very important and all of them have certain requirements. The high quality in early childhood education can only be obtained when these components and the requirements of these components are correctly applied. One most emphasized component; the dimension of ‘teacher’ constitutes the most important element of preschool education. Several studies were carried out to show the vital importance of teacher in early childhood education (Reichenberg-Hackett, 1962; Rosenthal and Jacobson, 1968; Good et al., 1975; Kounin, 1970; Fagot, 1973; Hyman, 1973; Garbarino, Guttman and Seeley, 1986). In the light of research that has been carried out it can be concluded that without a creative teacher who is sensitive to the needs of children and knowledgeable about the developmental characteristics of preschool age children, other components of preschool education cannot function effectively. The studies carried out showed that among the factors that influence teacher behavior, SES of the center and the children, aim of the center, age of the teacher, sex of children, characteristics of the program followed, work related stress, conception of the work setting, getting rewards from the system, higher expectations about teacher performance, opportunities for personal development, working in a centralized versus democratic decision making systems can be cited (Tizard, Philps and Plewis, 1976; Fagot, 1973; Quay and Jarrett, 1986; Good et al., 1975).

Statement of the Problem

The aim of this study is to develop a rating scale which can be used by people trained in the field to evaluate the observable behaviors of teachers as they interact with children in the day-care centers. The purpose is to construct items and to determine the most appropriate items for teacher behavior evaluation by means of content validity procedure.


Construction of the Instrument

The items of the rating scale developed were based on five main sources. These sources were available theories of child development and approaches in early childhood education, available instruments in the related fields, behavior categories in Bekman’s doctoral dissertation, psychological maltreatment categories and finally observations of teachers in day-care settings in Istanbul. In terms of theories of child development; Heider’s naive psychology (Baldwin, 1980), Lewin’s field theory (Baldwin, 1980), Piaget’s developmental theory (Birren et al.,1981; Fantino and Reynolds, 1975), Werner’s organismic developmental theory (Baldwin, 1980; Birren et al., 1981), Frued’s psychoanalytic theory of development (Bee, 1975; Fantino and Reynolds, 1975), Erikson’s theory of development (Bee, 1975), Social learning theory of child development (Baldwin, 1980; Bee, 1975), Sociological view of child development (Baldwin, 1980), Gesell’s maturational theory (Bee, 1975; Gesell, 1923) were utilized in developing the items of the scale. In terms of the approaches in early childhood education; Ausubelian approach (Ausubel and Robinson, 1969; Roopnarine and Johnson, 1987), Montessori program (Roopnarine and Johnson, 1987), the Bank Street approach (Isaacs, 1933; Roopnarine and Johnson, 1987), Tucson early education model (Roopnarine and Johnson, 1987), the Distancing model (Roopnarine and Johnson, 1987), High/Scope program (Hohmann, Bernard and Weikart, 1979) as being the most influential one for this study were used in the construction of the items of this scale. The instruments that were used in the development of the items of this scale were as follows; Classroom environment scale (CES) (Tüter, 1989), Parental attitude research instrument (PARI) (Kucuk, 1987), Perceived emotional abuse inventory for adolescents (PEAIFA) (Alantar, 1989), Family environment questionnaire (FEQ) (Usluer, 1989), The instructional environment scale (TIES) (Ysseldyke and Christenson, 1986), operational definitions of child emotional maltreatment (Baily and Baily, 1986), Program implementation profile (PIP), Parental acceptance rejection questionnaire (PARQ) (Erdem, 1990). In the present study, some of the categories in Bekman’s doctoral dissertation (1982) were also used. Specifically, attending to and talking to staff, positive control, negative control, promoting social interaction, questioning child for information and giving child extensive information or explanation, suggesting, instructing, housework and dealing with play equipment, physical contact, affection and comfort, demonstrating to the child, no contact at all, helping the child, administrative, minimum supervision, general supervision, sharing the activity, organised group activity, organised talk and teaching session, rigidity, block treatment and social distance. All of these components gave the researcher inspiration while constructing both the items and the categories of this rating scale. Psychological maltreatment areas of rejecting, degrading, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting, exploiting, denying emotional responsiveness and adultifying (Finkelhor and Korbin, 1988) were reviewed in developing the items of the rating scale. Observation process was carried out for the purpose of validating the categories of behavior attained through literature review and to see if teacher behaviors other than those mentioned are present. The interview and the observation form used in the observation process were developed by Kagitcibasi, Sunar and Bekman in 1988. In developing the items of the rating scale, the “domain-referenced approach” suggested by Gable (1986) was utilized. This approach helped the researcher to consider the verbs and the adjectives that could be relevant to a preschool teacher behavior in the nursery school settings in writing the items.

Item and Category Construction

In developing the items of this rating scale, as a first step, the prominent theories and approaches in the field of preschool education were reviewed. By going through these theories and approaches the researcher pinpointed the important categories of teacher behavior. After that, the instruments mentioned were carefully examined and it was found that some of the items in these instruments were applicable to the aim of the present study. The main theme of these items were taken and adopted by making some modifications in their wordings. The behavior categories in Bekman’s doctoral dissertation (1982) gave the researcher inspirations about the possible teacher behaviors in preschool education settings and the items representing those behaviors. Since psychologically abusive behaviors restrict or stop the development of children and such acts should not ever be done by the teachers, the psychological maltreatment literature was also used in constructing the items of the rating scale. The observations made helped to see whether the information that was gathered from the categories and the items in those categories could actually be observed in the nursery schools and whether teacher behaviors other than those already specified could be observed. It was found that most of the behaviors represented by the items were actually observed in the nursery schools. For the teacher behaviors that were not found in the literature reviewed new items were constructed. After the literature review and the observation procedure, 400 items were developed. Through consequative brainstorming sessions with colleagues, the items were started to be reduced in number mainly for the purpose of practicality. Finally, the items were reduced to 96 items. By all of these 96 items the most important teacher behaviors were tried to be emphasized and it was believed that this number would be appropriate for the practicality of this instrument.While constructing the categories of this scale, by means of the literature review, observation process, psychological maltreatment literature and the categories in Bekman’s doctoral dissertation (1982) the researcher could gather an idea about the possible teacher behaviors in the preschool settings. About twenty categories that were started with were collapsed together according to their similarity and the teacher behaviors that could be representative of several categories at the same time. After clearly defining each teacher behavior and thus the categories in general, each group of definitions were given a name. Hence at the end of this procedure, ten different categories were developed each with a different name. The names were as follows; control, supervision oriented promoting social interaction, cognitive oriented promoting social interaction, education directed behavior, emotional abuse component of teacher and child interaction, affective component of teacher and child interaction, general teacher and child interaction, disciplinary attempts, organizational attempts and competition. The congruence between the items and the operational definition of each category was continuously checked so that a high rate of content validity could be obtained at the end of the study.

Content Validity

In order to determine which items will constitute the final form of the rating scale, the scale was sent to 31 experts who could be identified to have practical and/or theoretical information about early childhood education field. The experts were from Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and one from Paris. The scale was given to the experts in Istanbul personally and was mailed to the others. A return rate of 22 out of 31 experts was realized. The return rate was 70.9%. All of the experts participated in this study were females between the ages of 26 and 54, majority of them (40.9%) being psychologist with 40.9% holding a Ph.D degree, 36.4% of them was nursery school headmaster, 31.8% was academicians, 45.5% was working in the university, 63.6% had some teaching experience and majority of the experts had direct contact with preschool age children and preschool teachers. The final form of the rating scale given to the experts for the content validity study consisted of 10 categories and 96 items representing these categories. The operational definitions of each category was written down. A two-page demographic information questionnaire was added to the scale and also a recommendations page was attached to the end of the scale to get ideas of the experts about the items. The data about the items and the categories that the items hypothetically belong to was analyzed by using two types of methods. In the first method; initially, the distribution of each particular item to either one of the 10 categories or the eleventh no-fit category was assessed by taking the frequency counts for each specific item. After that, the degree of appropriateness of each specific item to the categories assigned was estimated by multiplying the number of people with each of the value of degree of appropriateness (3, 2 and 1). Then all of the estimated values were added and the final value was divided into the total number of subjects who assigned that item to that particular category. In the second analysis, a weighted index of assignment (WIAS) (A. Baykal, personal communication, June 1990) was found by multiplying the number of experts rating the item to be in the selected category by the degree of appropriateness values of 3 (very appropriate), 2 and 1 (appropriate) respectively. By adding up all the scores a WIAS value was attained for each item. After obtaining a WIAS value, a weighted index of appropriateness (WIAP) was calculated for each specific item by dividing the WIAS score into 66. The value of 66 was found by following the rationale that if all of the 22 experts had given a degree of appropriateness of 3 for that item, 22 times 3 would be 66. The WIAPs for each particular item was rank ordered. The items with a WIAP of .333 and above were considered to be material for the final form of the rating scale. The value of .333 was set as a limit following the rationale that if 22 experts had given a degree of appropriateness of 3 for a particular item, 22 times 3 would be 66. When 66 was divided into 2 which would constitute 50% of the experts, 33 would be obtained, by dividing 33 into 100, .333 would be received.


In this section the results of the two kinds of statistical analysis carried out will be summarized. At the end of the first statistical method it was found that out of 96 items 36 of them were selected by at least 68.18% of the experts with a degree of appropriateness of at least 2. These items were as follows; item1, the teacher rather than being together with the children in the group spends his/her time outside the class; item 2, the teacher tells children what not to do without explaining the reason when s/he wants to prevent or stop children’s behaviors; item 5, the teacher does not allow the children to start a new activity like playing a game or going to toilet without waiting for the other children; item 7, the teacher talks with others or deals with something else in the group rather than mixing with the children; item 9, the teacher gathers children into a group to teach something; item 11, the teacher does not follow the daily routine; item 12, the teacher generally smiles; item 13, the teacher does not allow children to speak out of order; item 14, the teacher explains the child consequences of his/her actions upon others or the feelings of his/her friend when a problem arises between two children; item 15, although the teacher is in the same area with the children s/he is not involved with them when they are playing or doing activities unless there is an important reason; item 21, the teacher gives explanations with the aim of teaching the children; item 23, the teacher helps children whenever they seek help while they are doing an activity; item 26, the teacher tells the children what to do to control them without providing behavioral alternatives; item 28, the teacher praises the children when needed; item 31, the teacher provides the children with the alternative behaviors and explanations when problems arise among the children so that they can find solutions; item 34, the teacher creates competition among children by suggesting various rewards while they are dealing with the activities; item 36, the teacher hits the children so that they get more involved in the activities; item 38, the teacher throws the materials in the class at the children when s/he gets angry; item 40, the teacher tells the children that they are getting on his/her nerves; item 42, the teacher verbally and/or physically punishes the children; item 43, the teacher asks children questions to help them understand the characteristics of the objects; item 44, the teacher teaches children by giving instructions whenever s/he wants to teach something; item 56, the teacher in general makes suggestions to increase and reinforce sharing, mutual help and cooperation among the children; item 58, the teacher continuously picks up a specific child to criticize or to punish; item 59, the teacher directs the children with strict rules; item 60, the teacher degrades the children, makes fun of them; item 62, the teacher shows the children the way the materials are used; item 63, the teacher threatens the children so that s/he can have order in the group; item 69, the teacher shows physical affection to children; item 74, the teacher eats with the children; item 76, the teacher asks children questions so that they can see the cause-effect relations and tells children about antecedents and consequences; item 79, the teacher frequently criticizes the children; item 83, the teacher tells the children that s/he does not love them whenever they make something that s/he does not like; item 89, the teacher participates in the activities of the children actively; item 91, the teacher helps the children when they are putting their clothes on and off and item 92, the teacher helps the children at the toilet. Twenty one items were selected by 63.64% to 50% of the experts with a degree of appropriateness of 2 and above. These items were; item 4, the teacher shares the problems of the children when they have difficulty; item 20, the teacher makes suggestions to further help develop the activities the children are doing; item 22, the teacher shows the solution to children when a problem arises among the children; item 24, the teacher gives children food and beverage; item 30, the teacher allows the children to enter or exit all the activity areas in the class whenever they want to; item 35, the teacher walks among the children to help them or to supervise the things they do while they are doing activities; item 37, the teacher while teaching an activity to the children shows them how to do it himself/herself ; item 45, majority of the children spend a lot of idle time; item 47, the teacher wants the children to explain the activities that they will start and by asking questions s/he helps them; item 48, the teacher allows the children to use the materials in the class freely whenever they want to; item 49, the teacher shows the same reaction to each child who does the same thing; item 51, the teacher explains to the children the consequences of breaking a rule; item 53, the teacher makes suggestions to help the children participate in the activities or to provide them with alternative play choices; item 57, the teacher complains about the children to others when they do not listen to him/her; item 64, the teacher allows the children to make fun of each other; item 70, the teacher wants the children to follow certain cliches while they are doing the activities; item 72, the teacher gathers all the children as a group, the children individually or as a group sing songs, tell stories, play group games with rules; item 73, the teacher in the group activities provides the children with the opportunity of learning by doing; item 88, the teacher cannot find anything that s/he looks for in the group; item 93, the teacher while teaching something to children during the group activities directly gives information to the children and item 94, the teacher asks the ideas of the children about the rules of behaving in the group and discusses the rules with them and explains them to the children. Altogether 57 items could be considered for inclusion in the final rating scale.

Some of the items were put into a certain category by a majority of experts with acceptable degree of appropriateness according to the present criteria yet this was not the category of choice set by the researcher. These items were; 16, the teacher laughs at the jokes of the children; 17, the teacher is interested in the activities of the children; 19, the teacher makes the children think in the group activities by asking questions; 50, the teacher allows the children to express and tell their feelings when they are hurted or sad; 67, the teacher gives his/her time and interest to children whenever they want his/her time and interest; 68, the teacher locks the children into a room or toilet to punish them; 78, while the teacher is showing an activity to the children s/he explains it to the children clearly thus children know what to do and 87, the teacher does not want children to show affection toward him/her. Item 6, the teacher compares children with each other; 8, the teacher does a part of the child’s activity for him/her; 25, the teacher in the group that s/he gathered to teach: a-gives examples understandable by the children, b-expects the participation of all children, c-takes into consideration the interests and the desires of the children and d-does not provide opportunities for the children to answer; 54, the teacher makes the necessary intervention when the children are injured were rated in the previously selected category by at least 50% of the experts but the degree of appropriateness was lower than 2. A second method of analysis was decided to be carried out for several reasons. The initial analysis left the researcher with a desire for more refined mathematical procedure. Also, the criteria set for the former procedure left out several items seen valuable by the researcher. The second analysis provided more mathematical precision and provided a second valuable checking process for the inclusion of the items in the final rating scale. In the second method of analysis 64 items out of 96 items were selected by looking at the WIAP scores. While 32 items were decided to be excluded since they had WIAPs lower than .333.

Mostly the same items were excluded in the two methods of analysis used. In the first method, items 6, 25, 46: the teacher wants a child to do the activities that his/her friends did but s/he has not done yet; 54, 55: the teacher prepares the activities and the required and used materials beforehand; 61: the teacher makes suggestions to children so that they can share the activities they have done and their observations with each other and 90, the teacher in group activities sets different aims for different children, uses different methods or materials were also excluded. These items were not excluded in the second method of analysis.


This rating scale was developed with the aim of evaluating the performance of nursery school teachers in terms of their directly observable interaction with the children. It originally consisted of 10 categories and 96 items. To carry out the content validity study the scale was distributed to 31 experts of which 22 returned the scale back. Two types of statistical analysis were carried out; in the first one 57 items could be included to the final form of the scale. Items that were put into different categories by at least 50% of the experts with a degree of appropriateness of at least 2 and the items that were put into the previously selected category by at least 50% of the experts but with a degree of appropriateness lower than 2 were also retained in the final form of the scale. Also the items with WIAP values higher than .333 were decided to be included in the final form of the rating scale according to the criteria of second statistical method of analysis. Altogether 74 items constituted the final form of the rating scale. It can be concluded that after great scrutiny this scale is ready for interrater reliability study in its present form. It was initially argued that based on available literature and the researcher’s personal experiences in the field, teacher is the one most important factor in preschool settings. Also, there was a need for an observation tool for assessment of preschool teachers in the field. This study is a first step towards the provision of such a tool. A second way this scale can be utilized in the field is in preschool teacher training and education. The categories and the behaviors specified under each category can help form the framework for the training programs. For the future studies, a shorter form of TEBOS could be developed to aid in quick general evaluations.


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