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- Uncovering Gendered Teaching Practices in the Early Childhood Classroom
- For many early childhood teachers, interacting with children about issues concerning gender and sexuality is fraught with feelings of uneasiness and anxiety. For others, familiarity with research on these topics has resulted in rethinking their approaches to sex, gender, and sexuality in their early childhood classrooms. This inquiry examined the tensions associated with the researcher’s attempts to rethink gendered narratives and childhood sexuality in her own classroom. The study took place over the course of 4 months and involved a traditional public kindergarten classroom. Queer theory and feminist poststructuralism, along with a multi-voiced poststructural autoethnography were used to demonstrate the researcher’s shifting identities and the cultural context that shaped the researcher’s behaviors and perspective. Multivocal autoethnographic narratives were written to illustrate the researcher’s journey between trying on, being in, and becoming a feminist poststructural educator who uncovers and troubles gendered teaching practices in her own early childhood classroom. The following insights resulted from this study: young children actively and knowingly talk about gender and sexuality and do have a considerable amount of sexual knowledge; heterosexuality plays an integral part in children’s everyday experiences; and a lack of equity and inclusion associated with family diversity or queer identities exists in the early childhood classroom. Young children’s access to knowledge about gender, relationships, and sexuality has critical implications for their health and well-being, not only in their early years but also throughout their lives. This knowledge can build children’s competencies and resilience, contributing to new cultural norms of non-violence in gendered and sexual relationships. With a growing diversity in the make-up of families, it is now more critical than ever that teacher training programs move away from a single way of knowing and make room for multiple perspectives, which in turn influence innovative kinds of teaching decisions and practices. This research illustrates that it is possible for early childhood teachers to use feminist poststructuralism and queer theory to deepen their understandings and responses to children’s talk, actions, and play regarding sex, gender, and sexuality and to use these understandings to inform their professional practice.
- The Efficacy of the Chickasaw Nation Early Care and Education Programs
- The purposes of this research were to explore the effectiveness of the Chickasaw Nation early care and education program in promoting school readiness while infusing tribally relevant values in children from birth through age five; engaging parents in all aspects of their children’s learning; and supporting children and families through the transitioning to kindergarten. The study used qualitative methods to examine the experiences and perceptions of ten parents, ten teachers, and five administrators within Chickasaw Nation’s early care and education system regarding the four basic areas of school readiness, parent engagement, transition, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Four primary themes emerged from the semi-structured interviews: 1) socialization, school readiness, and transition, 2) learning, curriculum, and assessment, 3) the role of parents, and 4) cultural integrity. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, transcribed, and analyzed based on four research questions. Findings indicated parents, teachers, and administrators were satisfied that the program was successful with assisting children in making progress toward achieving developmental and school readiness goals and that the children were physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively prepared to enter kindergarten. The program provided activities to encourage and promote parental involvement; however, parents did not indicate active involvement or participation in the activities. There was little evidence to support culturally relevant pedagogy alignment with curriculum and practices. Implications for additional research focusing on American Indian children in preschool programs and the importance of instilling pride and culture are recommended.
- The (Mis)representation of the Middle East and Its People in K-8 Social Studies Textbooks: A Postcolonial Analysis
- Critical examinations of cultural groups and the ways in which they are presented in schools are missing from current elementary and middle school curricula. Issues of this nature often fall under the umbrella of “multicultural education” or “cultural pedagogy,” but this rhetoric is dismissive in nature. Constructing the non-Western child as “culturally deprived,” “culturally disadvantaged,” or “at-risk” perpetuates an “us/colonizer” versus “them/colonized” mentality. The purpose of this study was to examine critically how the Middle East and its people are represented in U.S. social studies textbooks. Through the use of qualitative content analysis, 10 elementary and middle school social studies books from Florida, Texas, and Virginia were analyzed. Drawing largely from the postcolonial Orientalist work of Edward Said (1978/2003), this study unveiled the ways in which American public schools other children, specifically children of Middle Eastern or Arab descent. Othering occurs anytime an institution in power constructs a certain reality for a marginalized group of people.
- Preschool Teachers’ Constructions of Early Reading
- Much of the current discourse surrounding the practice of early reading has emerged from policies that dictate the definition and means by which reading is taught and by which reading success is measured. Although this discourse directly influences the work of preschool teachers, little is known about what preschool teachers think about early reading and how they develop these understandings or constructions. Research concerning preschool teachers’ constructions is useful because of the potential influence on teachers' decisions and classroom behaviors. The purpose of this study is to better understand preschool teachers’ constructions concerning early reading and the process of learning to read. Six preschool teachers, with a variety of personal, educational, and professional experiences, from four diverse early childhood programs in the North Texas area were interviewed over a nine-month period during which each participant was interviewed for approximately three hours. Through systematic, inductive analysis, three themes were identified under an overarching theme of the interdependent and relational nature of early reading influences: out-of-school interactions, in-school interactions, and interactions with text. Without exception, these teachers referred to their life experiences as influencing their approach to teaching in general and to teaching reading in particular. The goals these preschool teachers had for their students and their instructional decisions were indications of their unique and evolving constructions of early reading and are absolutely grounded in their practice – in their life experiences and in their daily interactions with children. This study suggests that stakeholders should remember that these practical experiences are a primary influence on how preschool teachers think about early reading and the process of learning to read.
- Preschool Teachers’ Knowledge of Children’s Mathematical Development and Beliefs About Teaching Mathematics
- Early childhood education emphasizes the need of providing high quality early childhood mathematics programs for preschool children. However, there is little research that examines the importance of preschool children’s mathematical knowledge development and teachers’ beliefs about how to teach mathematics to young children. The purposes of this study were to investigate pre-service and in-service preschool teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development and their beliefs about teaching mathematics in the preschool classroom and also to determine how experience differentiates the two groups. This research employed a non-experimental research design with convenient sampling. Ninety-eight pre-service teachers and seventy-seven in-service preschool teachers participated in the research. The Knowledge of Mathematical Development survey (KMD) and the Beliefs survey were used to investigate possible differences between pre-service and in-service preschool teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development and between their beliefs about teaching mathematics. The findings of this study indicate a statistically significant difference between pre-service teachers and in-service preschool teachers in relation to their knowledge of mathematical development. This finding shows that pre-service teachers’ knowledge of children’s mathematical development is somewhat limited; most pre-service teachers have difficulty identifying the process of preschool children’s development of mathematics skills. A second finding reveals a statistically significant difference between pre-service teachers and in-service preschool teachers in relation to their beliefs about (a) age-appropriateness of mathematics instruction in the early childhood classroom, (b) social and emotional versus mathematical development as a primary goal of the preschool curriculum, and (c) teacher comfort with mathematics instruction. No statistically significant difference was found between pre-service teachers’ and in-service preschool teachers’ beliefs regarding the locus of generation of mathematical knowledge. Both groups believe it is the teacher’s responsibility to intentionally teach mathematics to young children. This result suggests that both pre-service and in-service preschool teachers believe that teachers should play a central role in the teaching of mathematics to preschool children. However, both groups would need appropriate education and training to learn how to teach mathematics to young children. Pre-service and in-service preschool teachers’ varying levels of experiences and different levels of education may help explain why there is a significant difference between their knowledge of mathematical development and beliefs about teaching mathematics.
- Accreditation Facilitation Projects: Supporting High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care
- High-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) are linked to positive developmental outcomes for children. Systems have been created to define, measure and promote high-quality ECEC. National accreditation status is deemed the gold standard of a high-quality program, yet many centers are unable to achieve this without assistance. With the help of Accreditation Facilitation Projects (AFPs), many low-income centers are able to achieve accreditation. Centers collaborating with an AFP reap many benefits including financial support, ongoing training and mentoring, and guidance through the accreditation process. AFPs invest greatly in the centers they collaborate with and the longer the center takes to achieve accreditation, the more resources an AFP must expend. The purposes of this study were to understand if the educational level of center director, the total enrollment of a center, or the percentage of children receiving government subsidies could predict the time it takes for a center to complete the accreditation process while receiving assistance from an AFP, and to determine if there are differences in attitudes about program accreditation between center directors and early learning specialists who serve as accreditation mentors to the directors. Findings revealed that a) the higher educational level of program directors is associated with a quicker time to program accreditation, b) both the total enrollment of the center and the percentage of children receiving government subsidies do not predict time to accreditation, c) the number of total staff in a center is associated with a quicker time to accreditation, and d) there is no significant difference between the directors' attitudes and early learning specialists' attitudes toward accreditation and accreditation facilitation projects. AFPs looking to streamline their accreditation process and provide accountability to their stakeholders regarding their investments over time can use these findings to choose to collaborate with centers that have directors who have at least a bachelor's degree in order to shorten the time to accreditation.
- The Disney Influence on Kindergarten Girls' Body Image
- Media is now a part of the early childhood world. In many countries, including industrialized and developing countries, children spend more time consuming various kinds of media. The impact of media on children's perception of their body images has been and continues to be a concern of parents and early childhood professionals. This research examined the influence of Disney movies on Thai kindergarten girls' body images and self-esteem. Thai kindergarten girls completed three measures of body self-image: the Body Figure Preference Scale, the Body Esteem Scale, and the Self-Esteem Scale. The girl participants were randomly assigned to two groups: focused on a female theme (FFT) and focused on a non-human theme (FNT). The experimental group viewed "female" Disney movie themes, while the control group viewed "animal" Disney movie themes. Girls in the experimental group expressed greater body image dissatisfaction scores after watching Disney movies, which was an expected finding. Results from the present study suggest that girls in both groups become concerned about their body esteem after video exposure. However, there was no significant difference in self-esteem between girls in FFT and FNT. In summary, the findings of this study support the belief that Disney movies influence young girls' perceptions of their body image, and they have an awareness of their body size. It can be concluded that Disney movies have an influence on Thai girls' body image dissatisfaction and body esteem. The results also indicated that Thai girls are not totally aware of the influence of Disney media on their self-esteem. Understanding how Disney movies, in particular, and other media, in general, influence young children, especially girls, can encourage parents and educators to identify risk factors associated with children's body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
- Effects of a Brain Improvement Program on Students' Reading Achievement
- How to close the reading achievement gap among K-12 students is an ongoing emphasis for educators in the 21st century. The purpose of the study was to determine if using kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program improved the reading achievement of Grade 3 Hispanic and African American students. Students from four elementary schools participated in the study. The students in the control and experimental groups completed a 2004 release TAKS third grade reading assessment for the pretest and posttest. Students in the experimental group completed five selected kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program five minutes at the beginning of each Monday through Friday school day. The intervention lasted 30 days and a total of 150 minutes. Data were analyzed using a 2 x 2 mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance. Findings revealed that performing the five kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program did not increase students' reading achievement scores. Only the variable of time between pretest and posttest affected students' reading scores. The results from this study did not support the findings of other studies of the effectiveness of kinesthetic movements.
- Home Literacy Practices in Diverse Families: Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Children's Literacy Development
- Although prior research has shown that parental involvement positively affects a child's literacy development, attention should also be directed to the factors that keep parents from being involved in their children's education. The study reported in this dissertation examined five factors: socioeconomic status, level of education, employment, culture, and language that may be influential in parental assistance of their children's literacy development in the home. The data sources for this investigation included interview responses and a demographic survey. Data from 17 parents, each from a different household, and each with a child in kindergarten were obtained and used for the study. For analyses of these data, content analysis was used to identify similar themes among the interview responses and the demographic survey. Results indicated the following: (1) the time parents spent assisting their child with literacy activities was affected by long work hours, (2) parents with a yearly income of $25,000 or less were unable to provide additional literacy materials for their children, (3) lack of multicultural literature caused culturally diverse parents to feel devalued, and (4) parents who did not speak English fluently lacked the strategies to assist their children in completing English literacy homework. The findings suggest there are significant factors in the home environment that impact the quality and amount of literacy activities that parents provide for their children. In order for teachers to support parents in providing for their children's literacy development, they need to be aware of these factors. In addition, teachers should be culturally sensitive by including multicultural literature in the curriculum.
- Prek-6 Teachers' Beliefs About Inclusive Practices in the United States and South Korea: Cross Cultural Perspectives
- The educational practice known as inclusion, which is based on values of equal opportunity and diversity, enables students with disabilities to attend the same general education classes as typically developing peers. Inclusion is a legal requirement in the United States and South Korea, but factors facilitating inclusion likely differ across countries. The purpose of the study was to examine PreK-6 school teachers' beliefs about inclusive practices in the United States and South Korea and to present a more informed direction for the future of inclusive education in both countries. Seventy-four teachers from the US and 54 from South Korea participated via email for this study employing surveys. Teachers provided their beliefs about inclusion items on the My Thinking About Inclusion (MTAI) scale, a 28-question instrument, and also provided information about their own gender, years of experience, education level, and teaching practices. A statistically significant difference was found between the teachers of the two nations for the full survey scale. The teachers' training area (i.e., general education or special education) in the US was significantly associated with the belief toward inclusion, and special education teachers in both countries were more agreeable to inclusion than general education practitioners were as shown by the MTAI scale. A strong relationship between accommodation and preparedness for disabilities was found. Most of the barrier factors to practicing inclusive education were considered substantial obstacles, but more so for South Korea teachers than US teachers. University coursework was the least preferred method for improving inclusive practices according to teachers in both countries. Based on the outcomes of the two nations' teachers' beliefs about inclusion, the author suggests that supportive practices, including collaboration between educators, professional development, partnerships with parents and families, and peer supports, be implemented within the two countries for the upkeep of inclusive practices.
- Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting Characteristics in Relation to Family Earner Status and Self-perceived Interpersonal Competence
- With an increasing number of married mothers who participated in paid work roles, fathers with full-time employed spouses now are expected to assume the role of caregiver and have higher frequency of engagement in parenting practices. This study of 235 university students from dual-earner and single-earner families investigated their retrospective perceptions of both mothers' and fathers' frequency of engagement in overall and specific parenting behaviors. These perceptions were measured by the Parent Behavior Frequency Questionnaire-Revised Scale, which includes seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. Paired samples t-tests suggested that married mothers, whether fully employed outside the home or not, engaged more frequently, than their full-time employed spouses, in parenting characteristics related to bonding, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity, and sensitivity. However, mothers' employment status had little influence upon the frequency at which either parent engaged in any of the seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. University students who perceived that both parents were more frequently engaged in specific parenting behaviors related to education, responsivity and sensitivity rated themselves higher on interpersonal competence, as measured by the Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire-Revised Scale. Students who perceived that both parents were less frequently engaged in negative parenting behaviors rated themselves higher on competence in conflict management. In addition, family earner status had no significant impact on university students' levels of interpersonal competence. Although there was no significant gender difference in the levels of total interpersonal competence, male students reported higher levels of interpersonal competence in the domains of asserting influence and conflict management than their female counterparts. These findings revealed that like parents from single-earner families, parents from dual-earner families also demonstrated a significant discrepancy in the frequency of engagement in parenting practices. Mothers still invested considerably more time with their children than do fathers. Therefore, there may be a need to develop parent education programs for fathers so that they have opportunities to shape paternal identity and parental self-efficacy. Also, it is necessary to develop friendly family- employment policies and enhance social support networks that enable both full-time employed mothers and fathers to achieve a satisfactory balance between family and work.
- Children with Autism in Taiwan and the United States: Parental Stress, Parent-child Relationships, and the Reliability of a Child Development Inventory
- Autism is one of the fastest growing childhood disorders in the world, and the families that have children with autism experience frustration and stress due to many practical problems. with the increase in the prevalence of autism, it is urgent to raise awareness of autism and to provide services and support for children with autism and their parents to improve the parent-child relationship and moderate the parental stress. with regard to families with children diagnosed as autistic, the purposes of this study are to: (a) examine the group differences in parental stress and parent-child relationship between Taiwan and the United States based on racial and cultural differences; (b) identify factors, if any, that influence the parental stress and parent-children relationship; (c) investigate if there are differences in the results of child development when children are diagnosed with autism in these two countries; (d) establish the Battelle Development Inventory-II in Mandarin Chinese version for use of evaluation with development delays in Taiwan. Findings revealed that: (a) the Battelle Developmental Inventory, Second Edition (BDI-II), is highly reliable with a great value of internal consistency in the use with parents and children with autism in Taiwan; (b) there is no significant difference in child development and parent-child relationship based on geographic region (Taiwan and the United States); (c) parents of children with autism in the United States overall have a more positive parent-child relationship and parenting attitude than parents of children with autism in Taiwan; (d) Children with autism who have a positive relationship with their parents have a higher pass rate on the evaluation of child development; (e) fathers reported higher pass rate on BDI-II than mothers in one of the standard deviations of over BDI-II performance; (f) parent-child relationships are positively correlated with parental stress; (g) parents who received services and support from a government agency or school in Taiwan have significantly lower scores on the parent-child relationship inventory; (h) fathers of children with autism have higher stress level than mothers; (i) parents who received services and support from parent groups (such as PTA or parent association) and from a government agency or school feel less stress than parents that did not receive those supports in Taiwan.
- Early Literacy of Young Children in New Immigrant and Native Families in Taiwan: Educational and Socio-political Implications
- Because of shifting demographics, the Taiwanese government opened the country to immigrants from Southeast Asia. Foreign-born brides of Taiwanese men have contributed significantly to this trend of new immigration, inspiring fears that their children, inadequately prepared for the literacy requirements of early education, might negatively impact the educational system and society. to better understand the socio-political implications of this cultural shift, the researcher gathered data from one hundred and twenty immigrant and native families with first graders in six major cities in Taiwan. Purposes of this research are to: (a) investigate to what extent, if any parenting style is impacted by differences in immigration status between native Taiwanese and Southeast Asian immigrant mothers, (b) examine to what extent, if any maternal parenting styles relate to children’s early literacy, and (c) determine to what extent, if any maternal parenting styles along with the children’s and familial characteristics associate with children’s early literacy. the study found that (a) immigrant mothers are statistically lower on authoritative and higher on permissive parenting style than native mothers; (b) immigrant mothers’ participation in integration programs does not relate to maternal parenting styles or children’s literacy performances; (c) children from immigrant families are significantly lower than their peers from native families on receptive vocabulary and phonological awareness; (d) children from higher income families perform better on receptive vocabulary than their lower income peers; (e) children whose mothers are senior high school graduates achieve significantly better on literacy skills than others. Furthermore, children of mothers with higher education perform better on receptive vocabulary than those whose mothers have lower education levels; (f) there was little relationship between children’s literacy development and the three maternal parenting styles; (g) age and gender are the most significant predictors of children’s literacy development. the limited influence of parenting styles on childhood literacy may be attributed to cultural differences. Parenting styles theory and instrumentation emerged from Western research and parenting expectations. Translations, both linguistic and cultural, may be imperfect once grafted onto Taiwanese society. Further complications potentially arise when foreign-born women carry their own varied cultural expectations and start families in an unfamiliar society. This research would suggest that government-sponsored programs could address the demographic inequalities which characterize this segment of Taiwanese society.
- An Ecological Understanding of Teacher Quality in Early Childhood Programs: Implications and Recommendations
- This research examined whether or not relationships exist between preschool teacher quality and parent involvement as indicated by the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Model of Parent Involvement Survey. Additionally, the study also considered family income and child membership in special education as predictors of parent involvement. The survey instruments included the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale, Revised (ECERS-R) and the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Parent Involvement Survey. A total of 306 parents across 35 preschool classrooms participated in the study. Effect sizes, beta weights and structure coefficients from a series of multiple regression analyses measured the relationship between variables. A regression equation comprised of teacher quality, family income and child membership in special education was statistically significant in predicting parent school-based involvement. In the school-based involvement model the predictors teacher quality and child membership in special education accounted for a greater percentage of variance than did family income. Teacher quality demonstrated a small, negative beta weight but accounted for the greatest amount of variance among the three predictors within the school-based parent involvement model. A negative relationship between teacher quality and school-based parent involvement suggested that as teacher quality improved, parents reported less involvement in school-based activities and events. Findings for special education membership, however, demonstrated a reverse effect in the model and appeared to have a positive significant effect on school-based involvement of parents. The study contributes to the literature on the relationship between teacher quality and parent involvement in early childhood preschool programs.
- African Refugee Parents' Involvement in Their Children's Schools: Barriers and Recommendations for Improvement
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The purpose of this study was to examine involvement of African refugee parents in the education of their elementary school children. The setting of the study was Northern and Southern Texas. African refugee parents and their children's teachers completed written surveys and also participated in interviews. In the study's mixed-method design, quantitative measures provided data about parent involvement at home, parent involvement at school, frequency of parent-teacher contact, quality of parent-teacher relationship, parent endorsement of children's schools, and barriers to parent involvement. Qualitative data from the open-ended questions provided data on barriers and strategies to improve involvement. Sixty-one African refugee parents responded to the survey and also participated in an in-depth face-to-face or telephone interview. Twenty teacher participants responded to an online survey. Quantitative data gathered from the parent and teacher surveys were analyzed using frequency distributions and analyses of variance. Qualitative data were analyzed by summarizing and sorting information into different categories using Weft QDA, an open-source qualitative analysis software. From these data, I identified barriers to African refugee parent involvement in their children's schools, as well as challenges that teachers face as they try to involve African refugee parents. Results of analyses of variance revealed statistically significant differences in parent involvement between African refugee parents with limited English proficiency and those with high English proficiency. A key finding of the research was that, whereas the overall level of parent involvement for African refugee parents was low, a major barrier to involvement was language. Teachers and parents cited enrolment in English as a second language programs as the best strategy to enhance parent involvement of African refugees. Additionally, parents who reported higher education levels were more involved in their children's education both at home and at school. All groups of African refugee parents reported high endorsement of their children's school. Strategies suggested to improve involvement include the use of interpreters and parent education on importance of involvement.
- Children's Spiritual Development: Analysis of Program Practices and Recommendations for Early Childhood Professionals.
- The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which faith-based preschools promote spiritual development in preschoolers. The participants in the study were faith-based early childhood teachers and administrators from seven states. Early childhood professionals representing 11 Christian faith traditions completed written surveys or online surveys. A total of 201 faith-based educators completed the survey; 20 respondents participated in semi-structured interviews. The concurrent triangulation mixed-method design provided data on 8 program dimensions which support children's spiritual development: prayer, Bible literacy, worship, building character, service opportunities, assessment, parental involvement and context. I analyzed quantitative data using descriptive and inferential statistics. All items were examined using mean, standard deviation, frequency, and percentages. Qualitative data gathered from semi-structured interviews were coded and analyzed using NVivo8® qualitative analysis software (QSR International, Inc., Cambridge, MA, http://www.qsrinternational.com). From this data I identified the extent to which faith-based preschool programs support children's spiritual development through the practices of prayer, Bible literacy, worship, building character, service opportunities, assessment, parental involvement and context. Data analyses revealed statistically significant differences in faith-based teachers' hours of training in children's spiritual development across all program practice dimensions. A key finding of the study was that training in children's spiritual development is important regardless of the education level of the early childhood professional. Qualitative data indicated no standardized spiritual development training in faith-based preschools represented in this study. The mixed-method analysis revealed that the 8 program practice dimensions were not always connected in a framework that supported children's spiritual development. Recommendations for professional practice include a program framework to support children's spiritual development in faith-based preschool programs; training for faith-based early childhood professionals in children's spiritual development; and formulating a definition of children's spiritual development.
- Effects of Background Music on Preschoolers' Attention.
- Background music is often used in preschool classrooms with the belief that music makes children smarter and increases attention. The purpose of this study was to determine if background music increased children's focused attention during play activities. Focused attention occurs when children maintain attention to a task regardless of distractions. This quasiexperimental study investigated background music and play in a laboratory setting. I videotaped individual children during play with math manipulatives in a pretest-posttest research design with background music used as the treatment. Forty-three 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds played for 15 minutes. The first 5 minutes of play had no music (pretest), the second 5-minute play episode had background music (treatment), and the final 5-minute play episode had no background music (posttest). Data were analyzed using one-way repeated measures analysis of variance. Findings revealed that the subjects paid less attention to the play task with background music than they did during the pretest, with no music. Another key finding was that children with more musical experiences at home, as reported by the Child's Home Musical Experience Survey (CHIMES), exhibited longer periods of focused attention with background music. This study confirmed previous research that 3-year-old children have shorter focused attention than 4- and 5-year-old children with and without background music. These findings have implications for teachers and parents that background music, instead of increasing attention in children, might indeed decrease children's focused attention during play activities.
- African-American Parents' Nutritional Habits: Implications for the Prevention of Early Childhood Obesity.
- This research study addressed the nutritional beliefs and habits of African-American parents of children aged 3 to 6 years old. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were employed. Quantitative data was collected via the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire as well as a demographic questionnaire. Qualitative data was collected from oral interviews conducted by the researcher. Seventy-five parents or guardians participated in the study. Findings for the research questions revealed the participants' beliefs about nutrition directly correlated with food they provided for their children and most believed nutrition rather than genetics played a role in their child(ren)'s weight. Furthermore, parents from lower income families consumed more home cooked meals per week and those with higher incomes did not consume more fast food per week. Food intake restriction and control in feeding was similar among all participants, regardless of restriction and control in feeding was similar among all participants, regardless of education or income level. Suggestions for future research were included.
- Development of a proposed toddler caregiver training program for South Korea.
- Based on the survey results of 150 South Korea toddler caregivers about training needs, I developed a relationship-based approach for a toddler caregiver training program. The training program was modified using suggestions provided by 6 South Korean professors, who were asked to review the program. Survey findings revealed that: (a) All participants (toddler caregivers) perceived that it is necessary for caregivers to attend training. However, most (72.2%) found that it was difficult to attend training programs more than 1 time per year because it was hard to find a substitute teacher (64%). Participants desired to attend training programs on toddler care because of the lack of in-service education (26%), curriculum (24%), and training programs (15.3%); (b) Caregivers who had the third-degree caregiver certification preferred to learn parent education more than child development. However, caregivers who had a higher degree of caregiver certification preferred to learn child development more than parent education; and (c) Caregivers who had more than 5 years of teaching experience preferred to learn about the teacher's role more than caregivers who had fewer than 4 years of teaching experience. Future studies need to evaluate the effect of this relationship-based training program for toddler caregivers in relation to improvement in the quality of child care and interaction between caregivers and toddlers. A large-scale study would increase the generalizability of research findings. A larger sample size from different cities in South Korea and random sampling would generate more reliable findings.
- Growing in Favor with God: Young Children's Spiritual Development and Implications for Christian Education
- Experts do not agree on the definition of spiritual development although positive spiritual development benefits society in many ways. Without agreement on the definition of spiritual development and a common understanding of spiritual development, parents, teachers, and pastors who are entrusted with the task of fostering positive spiritual development in Christian settings face the challenges of determining what spiritual development is (definition), the desired goals (culmination) of spiritual development, and the most effective ways to meet those goals (context and content). The purpose of this study was to use data, from the social sciences and Christian points of view, to inform Christian education programs and arrive at recommendations for fostering young children's spiritual development. Data sources include textual literature from the social science and Christian points of view. In addition, the researcher gathered interview data from twenty children's pastors. Research results included: 1. It is possible that spirituality is associated with sensory awareness. 2. Examining spirituality as sensory awareness may lead to focusing on innate qualities of spiritual capacity with a more focused inclusion of children with special needs in faith-based programs, a God-given conscience, and consideration that children may be born with spiritual gifts to express their spiritual nature. 3. Congregations/parishes under utilize intergenerational activities, time for quiet and reflection, and opportunities to talk to children about spiritual matters.
- Meeting the challenges of diversity: Beliefs of Taiwanese preservice early childhood teachers.
- This study examines 797 Taiwanese pre-service early childhood teachers' diversity beliefs using the Personal and Professional Beliefs about Diversity Scales (PPBD). The purposes of this study are to: (a) validate the diversity belief's instrument, (b) investigate the relationship between diversity beliefs in both personal and professional contexts, (c) examine the group differences in diversity beliefs between pre-service teachers based on their demographic background, school characteristics, and cross-cultural experiences, (d) explore the influential determinants of diversity beliefs in the personal and professional contexts, and (f) identify the types of training early childhood pre-service teachers need regarding multicultural education in early childhood. The results indicate that (a) the professional context of PPBD is not robust to use in population outside the U.S. and needed to modify by adding more items based on current diversity literature and the cultural context in Taiwan, (b) school characteristics are the major contributors that foster pre-service teachers' diversity beliefs in both contexts, (c) school location is the most influential factor for the dependent variable of personal beliefs while experience of studying in another city and students' major become the salient factors for the professional beliefs about diversity, (d) the type of educational philosophy is contributing factor of predicting diversity beliefs in both personal and professional contexts. It echoes the multicultural education approaches advocated by Sleeter and Grant (2003), which say that the most important component of multicultural education involves an entire school and touches all areas including students, teachers, staff, and administrators.
- Taiwanese Preschool Teachers' Awareness of Cultural Diversity of New Immigrant Children: Implications for Practice
- This study investigated Taiwanese preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity of new immigrant children and how this awareness influences their educational practices. In particular, this study focused on the cultural awareness of preschool teachers who work with young Taiwanese children whose mothers are immigrants from Southeast Asia. This study used quantitative and qualitative methods. One hundred seventy-two Taiwanese preschool teachers from the different geographic areas of Taiwan participated in the study. Data were collected through the use of the Cultural Diversity Awareness Inventory (CDAI) survey and participant interviews. Research results of the study revealed: (a) most Taiwanese preschool teachers had an awareness of cultural diversity, but their perceptions of how to create a multicultural environment need to be improved; (b) Taiwanese preschool teachers' personal experiences with children from different cultures were more associated with their cultural awareness than their ages and educational levels; (c) Geographic location was the factor affecting preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity and educational practices. This study is informative to the understanding of Taiwanese preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity and the implications of this awareness for classroom practice. In addition, multicultural perspectives of the Taiwan society toward immigrant families and children can benefit from the findings of this study. Future research should include the cultural needs of new immigrant children and the implementation of practices for educating new immigrant children.
- Children of Teenage Mothers: School Readiness Outcomes and Predictors of School Success.
- The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of teenage motherhood on the school readiness, literacy skills, and parental involvement of children participating in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) early intervention program, as well as make recommendations for optimal outcomes. Study children were participants in HIPPY at five diverse, urban school districts. Using a mixed method design, this study examined the results of quantitative measures of children's school readiness, literacy skills, and parent involvement along with qualitative data collected through mothers' responses to two, open-ended questions related to their satisfaction with HIPPY. According to results of independent samples t-test, mean scores on school readiness and parent involvement measures were not statistically significantly different for the children of teenage mothers and the children of traditional age mothers. However, there were moderate effect sizes for parent involvement and physical development indicating some practical significance. Chi-square results of literacy skills indicated that the children of teenage mothers were almost twice as likely [c2 (1, N = 36) = 4.21, p < .05] to have literacy skills that were "not on grade level" according to scores on the TPRI/Tejas. Descriptive discriminant analysis (DDA) indicated that the multivariate relationship of the four parent involvement variables statistically significantly contributed to whether children born to teenage mothers had literacy skills on grade-level, but it was not significant for the children of traditional-age mothers. DDA analysis conducted on the school readiness variables did not yield any significant results. In addition, odds ratios conducted between literacy level and each of the parent involvement and school readiness variables indicated an increased probability of a child's literacy skills being on grade level when scores were high, but these increases were not statistically significant. While there were differences in literacy skills, teen mothers indicated, through their responses to two, open-ended questions, their desire to for more support for their children in this area.
- Parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs in Taiwan.
- Western educational policies and practices have impacted Taiwanese early childhood programs. The concept of developmentally appropriate practice has become part of the educational program for young children in Taiwan. This research study was completed to: (a) describe Taiwanese parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) in early childhood programs; (b) examine group differences between fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP; (c) investigate group differences between parents of different socioeconomic statuses beliefs about DAP; (d) explore group differences between parents' beliefs about DAP when their children attend different types of schools (public and private); and (e) identify salient factors related to the variability of developmentally appropriate beliefs of Taiwanese parents. Three hundred seventy-nine matched Taiwanese parent pairs (mothers and fathers) participated in this survey research study. All parents had at least one child between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Four hundred forty-eight children attended public schools, and 415 attended private schools. The Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire was modified and used to collect data in this study. Findings showed: (a) fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP are significantly correlated; (b) fathers' and mothers' socioeconomic statuses are significantly correlated with their developmentally inappropriate practice beliefs; and (c) parents' socioeconomic status was a significant predictor of their DAP belief scores and family, culture, and inclusion belief scores. Future studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire with Taiwanese parents. Including parent's age, child's gender, child's birth order, residential region, and number of children as variables in future research studies may explain variations in parents' DAP beliefs. Employing qualitative methods, such as classroom observations, case studies, and interviews may be used to verify these findings. The Taiwanese Ministries of Education and Interior may find this study's results useful in creating policies and best practices related to the education of young children. Teachers may use these results to guide their work with parents.
- Educating Young Children with Autism in Inclusive Classrooms in Thailand
- This study investigated what constitutes a teaching curriculum for students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand. The researcher employed 3 qualitative methods: semi-structured interviews, document analysis of curricula and lesson plans, and nonparticipant observations. Six schools were selected as the sites. Participants for interview included 6 principals and 24 teachers. The researcher observed one inclusive classroom for each of the 6 selected schools. The study concentrated on 3 questions: (a) What contributes to appropriate instructional curricula to promote teaching of students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand? (b) What teaching strategies improve the achievement and learning skills of students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand? (c) What are the problems of curricula for teaching students with autism in inclusive classroom in Thailand? Key findings for the research questions were as follows: Common features of effective curricula for teaching students with autism in inclusive classrooms include opportunities, health care, specialized curriculum, students' individual needs and abilities, guidelines of teaching, teacher training and supervision, transition plan, parent involvement, tools/classroom environment, and students' class assignments. The teaching strategies include varying the teaching format (large group, small group, and one-on-one), teaching functional communication (giving direction, close-ended questions or open-ended questions), reinforce communication, using demonstration, modeling, and shaping to teach skills, expecting to gather the child's attention, demonstrating nonverbal communication (use gestures with speech), using appropriate language for the child (short sentence structure), providing visual materials (books, computers, or real objects), starting with small intervals of time and reinforcing, using other children as peer models for helping, working to maintain eye contact, asking the child to say the word, pointing to objects with hands and with gestures, including regular exercise (active movement activity), providing time to be alone, and using math activity (to include counting one-to-one, odd and even, and patterns). Moreover, the results revealed that all of interviewees always used applied behavior analysis (ABA), such as discrete trial instruction (DTI), task analysis, and peer tutoring in their classrooms. However, these classrooms never used floor time approach. The problems in teaching students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand include lack of special teachers, lack of knowledge or training for teachers, lack of a good plan and curriculum, lack of supportive services or effective collaboration, lack of budget, and lack of essential information and materials.
- Incarcerated mothers in Cuenca, Ecuador: Perceptions of their environment and the impact it has on the lives of their young children and their education.
- The number of children whose mothers are incarcerated is increasing around the world. Educators of young children are faced with new challenges in their classrooms as they work with these children during their formative years for social-emotional development. The purpose of this qualitative study was to interview the mothers, in order to gain their perspective on how they feel their incarceration has affected their relationship with their children; how they believed it would affect their children in the future, and to investigate the perceptions of early childhood teachers who worked with children of incarcerated mothers. Using interviews, observations, journal, and field notes the researcher collected information from 3 incarcerated mothers, 3 of their children, and the 2 teachers who worked with these children. Overall findings were that the mother-child relationships are of extreme importance to the mothers. They have high hopes for a better life for their child, which includes concerns about their education. Mothers had fears that their incarceration would repeat itself in their children and desired for things to be different in their children's futures. They reported their incarceration affecting their children in negative ways. Their children had difficulty depicting their mothers in their drawings. Lastly, the teachers highly encouraged parental involvement, even though the mother was incarcerated. They expressed the importance of the mother-child relationship impacting the child's ability to learn, and teachers believed special training and preparation are necessary for working with these children.
- Developmentally Appropriate Beliefs and Practices of Public and Private Kindergarten Teachers in the United States and Taiwan
- The purposes of the present study are to: (a) describe the beliefs and practices of the US and Taiwan (TW) public and private kindergarten teachers regarding developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), (b) examine the group differences between the four groups of teachers, and (c) identify the salient factors related to the variability of developmentally appropriate beliefs and practice in these teachers. Three hundred and fifty-seven kindergarten teachers participated in the study. The group sizes were 123, 123, 57, and 54 for Taiwan private, Taiwan public, US private, and US public kindergarten teachers, respectively. A survey was used to collect data. Findings from this study showed: (a) Both the US and Taiwan kindergarten teachers highly endorsed beliefs about DAP; (b) US and Taiwan kindergarten teachers also held strong beliefs about developmentally inappropriate practices (DIP); (c) DAP activities occurred regularly in the classrooms; (d) developmentally inappropriate practice (DIP) activities also took place a lot although they were lower than the DAP activities; (e) the Taiwan teachers had higher beliefs about DAP and lower beliefs about DIP than the US teachers; (f) the US teachers reported both higher DAP and DIP activities than the Taiwan teachers; (g) there were no differences between public and private kindergarten teachers; (h) hierarchical regression analyses using teacher's personal demographic variables as the first block and numbers of boys and girls as the second block were generally not effective; (i) there were different sets of best predictors from the backward regression for different dimensions of developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices; and (j) beliefs about DAP and DIP were usually more powerful than the demographic and classroom variables in predicting the DAP and DIP activities. Future studies are needed to refine the Teacher Belief Scale and Instructional Activity Scale instruments and include classroom observations to verify and expand the findings. Future teacher training on DAP should promote beliefs about DAP and reduce beliefs about DIP. Enhancing teachers' skills to implement the DAP activities and decrease the DIP activities is suggested.
- Effectiveness of a Web-based Course in Facilitating the Integration of Technology Into Early Childhood Curricula.
- Although technology is available and used in early childhood classrooms, little is known about what early childhood teachers believe about the use of technology and how technology is integrated into early childhood curricula. This study was designed to (a) determine the beliefs of early childhood teachers about technology integration into early childhood curricula and (b) describe the extent to which early childhood teachers integrate technology in their early childhood curricula. The participants included 39 prekindergarten teachers who volunteered to participate in a technology integration project. The treatment group accessed a Web-based technology integration training program and participated in two classroom observations, along with completing an attitudinal questionnaire pretest and posttest. The Prekindergarten Web-based Technology Integration Training included four modules each expanding the following themes: (a) national and state standards and guidelines for technology; (b) setting up a computer center; (c) integrating technology; (d) using the digital camera. The control group participated in two classroom observations without the benefit of the Web-based technology integration training program and completed the attitudinal questionnaire pretest and posttest. Results indicate that Prekindergarten teachers believe that technology can enhance a child's learning, but there was no statistically significant difference between the control and the treatment group.
- Exploring Team Performance as an Independent Variable: Can Performance Predict Resource Allocation?
- Encouraging positive work team growth depends on, in part, the form and availability of organizational resources and support. Support systems have been found to be important for work team health and survival. However, managers are challenged to make resource decisions while working within company budgetary restraints. Previous research has indicated a positive relationship exists between teams provided with appropriate resources and support, and increased team performance. This study extended previous research by exploring if team performance can predict resources and support. Specifically, the means by which managers allocate resources based on team performance was examined. Archival data included 36 work teams and their managers drawn from four geographically dispersed manufacturing companies. Information gathered from a modified version of an original team support system instrument was used to assess the importance and presence of four resource systems. Additionally, a gap score was calculated from these scores to assess the alignment between resource need and resource existence. Data was used to assess the potential relationships between managers' perceptions of team performance and the manner by which resources are allocated. All hypotheses produced non-significant findings. Results of the hypotheses, data patterns, and limitations of the study are discussed, and opportunities for future research are presented.
- Gottshall Early Reading Intervention: A phonics based approach to enhance the achievement of low performing, rural, first grade boys.
- Learning to read is critical for quality of life and success in our society. Children who cannot read well face unsuccessful educational careers and limited job choices. Recently, policy makers and educators have made progress toward increasing the reading achievement of America's children. Still up to 60% of boys who live in poverty cannot read or read two years below grade level. In this experimental study, I designed and examined the effects of the Gottshall Early Reading Intervention (GERI) to determine if direct instruction with a small group, phonics based approach would increase the literacy achievement of low performing, rural, first grade boys. Participants were selected according to Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) scores, matched them across race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, and randomly assigned them to experimental/control group. Three times per week for 15 weeks, boys in the experimental group attended 30-minute pullout sessions taught by trained professionals in addition to classroom reading instruction. Control group members received classroom reading instruction only. Findings reveal no significant differences in reading gains across all variables. However, descriptive data indicate higher percentages of gains for the experimental group on four out of five reading components with rate of gain higher on fifth. Statistics also show that Hispanics are more likely to benefit.
- Thai Teachers' Beliefs about Learner-Centered Education: Implications for Success For Life Thailand
- The Thai government has strongly advocated for the learner-centered education for the past decade. Success For Life Thailand (SFLT), a brain-research-based early childhood education program blended with the theories of the developmentally appropriate practices and child-centered philosophies, has been implemented in Thailand for over 8 years. The purposes of the present study were to: (a) describe the current statuses of the Thai early childhood educators' learner-centered beliefs and practices, (b) identify if the SFLT training workshop affects teachers' learner-centered beliefs and practices, and (c) examine if other variables, along with familiarity with the SFLT program, predict teachers' learner-centered beliefs and practices. Ninety-three preschool and kindergarten teachers participated in the study. Among them, 17 were SFLT trainees in 1999 and 2000 (i.e., the previously trained group), 43 were trained in Year 2006 (the currently trained group), and the others were comparable to the currently trained group by matching the key personal and school variables. The Teachers Beliefs and Practices Survey: 3-5 Year Olds (Burts et al., 2000) and the Learner-Centered Education: the Assessment of Learner- Centered (ALCP) for K-3 (McCombs, 2001) were used to collect data on the various domains of the learner-centered beliefs and practices. Findings reveal that: (a) Thai teachers highly endorse learner-centered beliefs, (b) Thai educators demonstrate relatively low levels of developmentally appropriate practices and high levels of developmentally inappropriate practices (DIP) in comparing with the American early childhood educators, (c) the previously trained SFLT teachers score higher on the DAP domains and lower on the DIP domains than the other two groups, and (d) familiarity with the SFLT program, along with teacher's education level, years of teaching experience, and the total number of students in the classroom do not predict variations on the different domains of the DAP and learner-centered learning questionnaires. Future studies need to use indigenous measurement instruments appropriate to Thai education to evaluate the impacts of the SLFT program on teachers' learner-centered beliefs and practices when more trainees become available, and possibly to include other teacher, student, and school variables.
- Direct and Indirect Effects of Parenting Style with Child Temperament, Parent-Child Relationship, and Family Functioning on Child Social Competence in the Chinese Culture: Testing the Latent Models
- Interactional and contextual models have been conceptually proposed in understanding parental influences on children. Yet, empirical model testing has been limited. The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the direct and indirect effects of parenting style on child social competence using structural equation modeling in a sample of 544 Chinese families with 6-9 years old children, mainly singleton, residing in Nanjing, China. Five latent models were tested: (a) the direct model between parenting style and child social competence, (b) child temperament as a moderator, (c) parent-child relationship as a mediator, (d) the interaction model between parenting style and family functioning, and (e) bidirectional models of parenting style concurrently with parent-child relationship, and family functioning predicting child social competence. Findings showed: (a) The direct relationship between parenting style and child social competence was significant in both parents with authoritative parenting style on the positive direction, whereas authoritarian and permissive parenting styles on the negative direction; (b) child temperament did not moderate parenting style on child social competence; (c) father-child relationship mediated paternal parenting style on child social competence, whereas maternal parenting style did not; (d) family functioning neither moderated nor mediated the relationship between parenting style and child social competence for both parents; and (e) The four-factor prediction models on child social competence turned out to be unidirectional. For the mothers, the best model was from family functioning to mother-child relationship, to maternal parenting style, and finally to child social competence. Maternal parenting style was the significant proximal factor. For the fathers, it was from family functioning to paternal parenting style, to father-child relationship, and then to child social competence. Father-child relationship had the direct impact, whereas the influence of paternal parenting style was distal through father-child relationship. Findings from this study suggest that the Chinese parents should use more authoritative and less authoritarian and permissive parenting, and develop good parent-child relationships in the daily interactions with their children. Future studies need to use larger and better data to validate these models, or to extend the findings with other important child variables to explore the child's active agency.
- English language learners: Does summer school make a difference in young children's literacy scores?
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Many school districts consider literacy and oral language as a top priority for pre-kindergarten students. In the district under study, pre-kindergarten English language learner (ELL) students are encouraged to attend a special summer school program to increase their oral language ability in English. This study compared three groups of children: ELL students attending summer school v. ELL students not attending summer school v. English speaking students not attending summer school. The students' primary reading inventory scores from the end of pre-kindergarten to the middle of kindergarten in the areas of reading, writing and oral language were compared. As expected, ELLs who attended summer school showed significant growth in oral language development from the beginning of summer school to the end of summer school. While it was hypothesized that ELL students attending summer school would show more improvement in oral language than other children over time, there was no significant difference between summer school and non-summer school children's scores by the middle of kindergarten.
- An Analysis of EC-4 Pre-Service Teacher Perceptions of Knowledge and Use of Classroom Discipline Techniques
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The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of pre-service Texas Wesleyan University teachers' knowledge and use of classroom discipline techniques. The study was conducted to obtain data utilized for the evaluation of the research questions. A non-experimental, mixed research design using survey methodology was used. Part one of the Allen Classroom and Discipline Management Instrument (ACDMI) consisted of demographic information: current position, ethnicity, level of education, gender, age, teaching certification obtained, teaching certification anticipated to be obtained, type of teacher certification training, and number of clock hours received in discipline management. The demographic information was used as independent variables for comparing responses to survey items. Part two contained discipline management techniques from Skinner, Canter, Dreikurs, Gathercoal, Glasser, Faye and Funk, Curwin and Mendler, and Berne and Harris. These techniques were used to determine mean differences with the independent variables. Finally, part three was the qualitative section which consisted of four questions requesting information about helpful discipline techniques. The sample population consisted of 150 pre-service teachers from a small liberal arts university in Texas. Findings from the study indicated that EC-4 pre-service teachers' predicted use of discipline management techniques were the ones in which they were most knowledgeable. Furthermore, EC-4 pre-service teachers reported to be most knowledgeable of the following discipline management techniques: "Student Input in Developing Classroom Rules," "Social Reinforcement and Praise," and "Direct Teach and Model Appropriate Behavior." In addition, certified EC-4 pre-service teachers had more knowledge of classroom discipline techniques than non-certified EC-4 pre-service teachers. The qualitative analysis revealed a consensus among all EC-4 pre-service teachers with regard to their training in discipline management. All EC-4 pre-service teachers indicated that their overall training was inadequate in the area of classroom discipline management and that more was needed.
- Patterns of verbal communication in children with special needs.
- The social interactions between children with special needs, learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorder (ADHD), were investigated. The children were observed in groups of three/four while creating a cooperative art project. During this activity, their interactions were recorded and coded for patterns of verbal communication. Verbal communication was evaluated through statements reflecting requests for information and materials; helping/cooperation/giving; consideration/positive reinforcement; competitiveness; intrusiveness; rejection; self-image; neutral statements; and persuasiveness. Results indicated that children with special needs tended to engage in a greater frequency of helping/cooperative/giving statements as opposed to any other verbal statements. Specifically, positive statements as opposed to negative statements classified their verbal interactions. These children also appeared to demonstrate more internalizing behaviors than externalizing behaviors. The influence of children's behaviors on children's verbal statements was examined. Results indicated that children who evidenced a disability in reading or language appeared to engage in a greater frequency of cooperative or helping statements than their non-disabled peers. Intrusive tendencies may be associated with the following: presence of a reading disability, absence of ADHD, and absence of a disability in written expression. Additionally, the conversations of children with a disability in mixed receptive language tended to evidence a greater frequency of neutral statements when compared to their peers without a disability. Externalizing behaviors also appeared to be associated with increased use of considerate and encouraging statements. Findings also suggested that intellectual ability may be related to children's verbalizations, but unrelated to children's behaviors. Intellectual functioning appeared to be directly related to children's use of rejecting statements. Upon comparing these findings to previous literature on the social communication between children with and without special needs, it is unclear whether children with special needs evidence a shared communicative culture or ability to interpret communication patterns, which results in more positive communicative interactions. This study has implications for appropriate educational placement, the formation of children's friendships, and the social communication of children with special needs.
- A Comparison Study of the Experiences of Educators and Non-Educators in Promoting Reading and Reading Related Skills of their Own Preschool Children
- The rationale for this study was to evaluate the home literacy environments of educators and non-educators to investigate whether educators provide "richer" home environments than non-educator mothers. This research explores the mothers' perceptions of their children, views of reading, methods of promoting a positive reading environment, dealing with personal demands and emotions, and their expectations related to promoting reading. The participants in the study are 2 elementary school teachers with preschool children and 2 non-educator mothers with preschool children. Results indicated that being an educator is not an isolated characteristic of providing a rich home environment. The educational attainment of the mother was discovered to have greater influence on home literacy environment than the mother's profession. Higher educated mothers provided richer home environments than their less educated counterparts.
- A survey study of entry transition practices used by teachers of infants and toddlers.
- This study identified transition practices used by teachers and/or primary caregivers of infants and toddlers when entering child care programs across Dallas , TX . Participants completed the Program Entry Transition Practices Survey regarding their use of transition practices in fall 2003 and perceived barriers to entry transition practices. Results show frequency tallies, percentages of use for each transition practice, and the mean number of practices used for the entire sample and with the sample split according to participants from profit and non-profit programs. Results were also organized into four subscales based on the type of practice used. Results supported the hypothesis that teachers and caregivers would report more transition practices occurring after beginning care and directed towards a group than those occurring before beginning care and directed towards an individual. In response to the broader research question regarding barriers: Teachers and caregivers from profit and non-profit centers reported similar barriers to implementing transition practices.
- The Effects of a Computer-mediated Intervention on "At-risk" Preschool Students' Receptive Vocabulary and Computer Literacy Skills.
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This study examined the effects of a computer-mediated intervention on "at-risk" preschool students' receptive vocabulary development, computer-literacy skills, and enthusiasm for leaning. Twenty-two preschool-aged children attending an urban primary public school and participating in government subsidized school lunch program participated in the study. A pretest/posttest control-group design and case-study participant observations were used for data collection. Students were assigned to one of two treatment groups. Eleven preschool students with pretest School Readiness Composite (SRC) standard scores of 80, or below, on the Bracken Basic Concept Scale-Revised (BBCS-R), were assigned to the intervention group. Eleven pre-school students matched by age level and teacher comprised the comparison group. The intervention group received computer-mediated instruction while the comparison group received classroom teacher instruction. The first research question examined the effect of the intervention on students' receptive vocabulary analyzing groups' pretest and posttest BBCS-R School Readiness Composite mean scores. Combined analysis of a Two-Factor Repeated Measures and a Posttest only ANCOVA revealed that computer-mediated instruction was as effective as classroom teacher instruction in helping "at-risk" students acquire readiness receptive vocabulary. The second research question examined the effect of the intervention on "at-risk" student's computer-literacy skills analyzing participants pretest and posttest mean scores on the Computer Input Observation Rubric (CIOR), a rubric developed by the researcher. Analysis of One-Factor ANOVA and of Two-Factor Repeated Measures indicated that computer intervention significantly increased students' computer literacy skills. The third research question examined the impact of computer-mediated intervention on preschool students' enthusiasm for learning and followed descriptive case study methodology. Students' level of task involvement and positive-self statements confirmed enthusiasm for learning with technology.
- The Great Debate continued: Does daily writing in kindergarten lead to invented spelling and reading?
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Many children in the United States cannot read on level by fourth grade. Traditionally, teachers have delayed reading instruction until first grade. However, involving children sooner in literary activities may provide skills needed to enable them to read on grade level. The purpose for this study was to determine the extent to which daily writing in kindergarten influences the development of invented spelling and learning to read. Five teachers modeled writing with 78 kindergarten children who wrote every day or almost every day for 20 weeks. There were 51 children in an experimental group, and 27 in a control group who were given a pretest and a posttest using the Observation Study (Clay, 1993). Results from a mixed model ANOVA indicated a significant difference between the control group and the experimental group on the Dictation Task F (1, 76) = 11.76, P≤ .001 and the Writing Test F (1, 76) = 4.33, P≤ .01. Results from a z-Test of dependent proportions indicated there were significant differences in the reading levels of the control group from the pretest to the posttest (z = 7.51, P ≥ .05) because (z = 7.51, Zcv = 1.96). The experimental group results from pretest to posttest were also statistically significant (z = 6.48, P ≥ .05) because (z = 6.48, Zcv = 1.96). At the end of kindergarten 82.35% of the experimental group was reading, while only 48.15% of the control group was reading. This research indicates that if kindergarten children are encouraged to write daily and use invented spelling there is a greater possibility they will enter first grade reading.
- An Investigation into the Effects of Long-term Staff Development on Teacher Perceptions and Reading Achievement on Young Children
- The effectiveness of long-term staff development (Reading Academy Project-RAP) on students' reading scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test was examined to determine if teachers transferred newly learned teaching strategies into practice and changed their beliefs about reading instruction. In a four-year cohort longitudinal study in an East Texas rural community, the effects of long-term staff development on third grade students' TAAS test reading scores, teacher practices, and teacher beliefs were explored. Populations included a teacher group (N = 17), an experimental (N = 419), and a control (N = 419) group of students. Children's groups were matched pairs based on five demographic characteristics and membership or non-membership in one or more of six categories. An application survey and four end-of-the-year surveys provided teacher data regarding classroom practices. One interview question provided information about teacher beliefs. Results indicate students who had a RAP teacher for at least one year scored significantly higher on the TAAS reading test in the third grade than those without a RAP teacher. Examination of students having more than one year with an academy teacher failed to produce statistically significant differences in TAAS test reading scores; however, an upward trend was noted. Statistically significant differences were found in 6 of the 20 items on the survey investigating classroom practices. All teachers reported the RAP affected them positively, and 82% confirmed that changes took place in their classroom practices, student behaviors, and teacher responsibilities. Validation of or strengthening existing beliefs accounted for 76% of the teacher responses. Recommendations include adding a population of kindergarten through third graders and following them through high school to determine ultimate reading success, continue surveying teachers to see if effective strategies persist, add a parental involvement component, and replicate this investigation in suburban and metropolitan areas.
- Speaking up-speaking out: What does it take to prepare early childhood professionals to advocate for children and families?
- The early childhood profession regards advocacy as a professional and ethical responsibility yet little is known about advocacy instructional practices in teacher education programs. This study surveyed selected early childhood teacher educators who currently prepare undergraduate preservice professionals in two- and four-year institutions throughout the United States to identify and evaluate the existing advocacy training practices in preservice education. The study was designed to: (a) determine what leaders in the field of early childhood believe constitutes appropriate advocacy training for preprofessionals, (b) describe the advocacy activities of teacher educators, (c) determine if there is a difference in the advocacy instructional practices of two- and four-year institutions, and (d) recommend a model for advocacy in preprofessional programs. The participants included 607 teacher educators who responded to a mailed questionnaire and 14 leaders of early childhood professional organizations who participated in telephone interviews. Participants represented 48 states and all geographic regions of the United States. Results indicate that teacher educators and leaders believe advocacy instruction is important in preparation programs. The most frequently included advocacy activities are professionalism and understanding the professional role. Advocacy skills and strategies focused on public policy were included the least. Findings show that teacher educators participate in a variety of advocacy activities although few participate in public policy activities. No statistically significant differences were found between two- and four-year institutions in advocacy instructional practices. Based on study data, the researcher developed the Brunson Model for Advocacy Instruction in order to provide the profession with a consistent and sequenced approach to advocacy instruction. Recommendations for future research include: investigation of effective strategies for teaching advocacy; a study of the developmental nature of advocacy; and a study of the Brunson Model for Advocacy Instruction to determine the model's effectiveness in preparing professionals who will have the ability to speak up and speak out for children and families.
- Attitudes of American and Korean Early Childhood Educators Regarding Programs for Gifted/Talented Young Children.
- The purpose of this research was to study the attitudes of Korean and American early childhood educators concerning gifted children and programs aimed specifically at meeting their needs. The study examined general attitudes towards giftedness and gifted education programs and factors that might affect those attitudes. The study also examined desirable environments for young gifted children. Twenty-item questionnaires were developed and logically divided into six sections (identification, teacher environment, classroom environment, parent environment, educational rights, and program). A systematic process of development, analysis, and refinement of the questionnaire was done. The questionnaires were given randomly to American educators attending the 1996 National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference. A random Korean sample included early childhood educators listed in the Korean Association for Early Childhood Education Directory (1995-1996) and the Korean Association for Child Care Directory (1995-1996). All subjects were members of one of three groups: (a) teacher educators, (b) teachers, and (c) administrators/directors. The surveys found agreement between Korean and American early childhood educators on the importance of knowing the strengths of individual gifted children, the need to stimulate higher order thinking skills, the rights of gifted children to an appropriate education, a perception of more work for the teacher to add these options, and a feeling that gifted programs would be difficult because of the large number of children in classes. The teachers also agreed that it is not difficult to assess or identify gifted preschoolers and having programs for the gifted is not elitist, but that parents should have the main responsibility for meeting the needs of gifted preschoolers and that many gifted strategies are good for all children.
- Teacher Practice, Curriculum, and Children's Moral Development in Buddhist Temple Preschools in Thailand
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This study investigated what constitutes a moral development program in Buddhist temple preschools in Thailand. The researcher employed three qualitative methods: structured, in-depth interviews, observations of teachers' instruction, and document analysis of curriculum guides. Four Buddhist temple preschools were selected as the sites. Participants for interview included three abbots and one head nun, four principals, and twelve teachers. Participants for observations included four teachers of third year classes in each preschool. The study concentrated on four research questions: (a) what are the elements of the character education curriculum? (b) How do teachers teach moral development concepts and skills? (c) What are the teachers' perceptions of the moral development of third year preschoolers? (d) How do teachers assess their pupils' moral development? Key findings for the research questions were: character education was not a subject in the National Preschool Curriculum which was implemented in the Buddhist temple preschools. Core morality was integrated into every topic. The moral behaviors emphasized in the curriculum and the lesson plans included discipline, mindfulness, kindness, helpfulness, patience, honesty, respect, thriftiness, and politeness. The Buddhist concept of the process of moral development includes character education and meditation. The preschoolers were trained to pay respect to teachers and parents as an obedience approach to character education. Preparation of teachers included screening for their values and pre-service training. The instruction of meditation was approached gradually and aroused the children's interest. After three years of schooling, the third year preschoolers were well-behaved, helpful, and kind; no aggressive behaviors were reported. The assessment of moral development of preschoolers was based on observation of the teachers throughout the school year. Implications for practice are discussed, including procedures for gathering information on beliefs, attitudes, and culture of the parents before implementation of different models of moral development. Finally, future research directions are proposed.
- Mass media in the writing process of English as a second language kindergarteners: A case study examination
- Mass media such as television, video players, video games, compact disks, and the computers are commonplace in current American culture. For English as a Second Language children, television may be the only source of English in the home serving as models of grammar, syntax, story structure. An investigation was made using English as a Second Language (ESL) kindergarteners, the classroom writing center, participant-observation, teacher as researcher, and case study methodology to investigate the following questions: Do ESL kindergarten children use media in their writing? If so, how do they use media in their writing? Upon examination of the data, it was found that all these ESL children did use media in the writing process. The function and form of the media references varied from child to child. Media was a cultural context for the childrenÕs social interactions. Oral language (with and without media references) not only informed the writing for some, but also served: to initiate, participate in, and sustain social relationships with peers. Findings indicated that two case study subjects used social dialogue as a separate operation from the production of a written story. Language informed the writing but it also had a socialization function in addition to what the writing needs were. The social aspects of literacy beyond language used to inform the writing is a topic suggested for further research.
- Success For Life in Thailand: Educational and Cultural Implementation
- The purpose of this study was to investigate whether implementing Success For Life in Thailand would meet the needs of Thai public policy, the Thai educational system, and Thai culture. There were 46 respondents, including 4 early childhood professionals, 4 preschool owners, 6 directors, and 32 teachers. All respondents received the Success For Life training workshop. Each participant was requested to complete a questionnaire on their understanding and awareness of brain development and function, thoughts about implementing Success For Life in Thailand, and the appropriateness of Success For Life for the Thai educational system, Thai public policy, and Thai culture. In addition, all of the 4 early childhood professionals, 4 preschool owners, and 6 directors, and 8 teachers were interviewed to expand the information provided in the questionnaires. Two preschools implemented Success For Life in November 2000. Another 6 preschools implemented Success For Life in June 2001. Participating teachers in the preschools where Success For Life was implemented in November 2000 were also asked to write bimonthly journals. Journal entries included information about how participants changed their teaching styles after receiving the Success For Life training. Research findings indicated that Success For Life was appropriate to the preschool level in Thailand. Recommendations for Success For Life implementation in Thailand were 1) clarify the meaning of “teacher-centered” to conform with Thai policy, 2) modify the mathematics curriculum to reflect higher level concepts, 3) include ethics and financial education in the curriculum, 4) include in Success For Life staff development methods for teaching children with special needs, different learning styles, and in ESL programs, and 5) clarify how, in the Success For Life curriculum, children have a right to access to the Thai dream instead of the American Dream.
- Parent, Student, and Faculty Satisfaction With and Support of Campus Laboratory School Programs
- The primary purpose of the study was to investigate stakeholders' opinions concerning campus laboratory school program quality in three areas: (1) quality of teacher education, (2) research, and (3) childcare. There were 653 participants in the study: 246 parents whose children were enrolled in laboratory schools, 200 pre-service students who were taking early childhood or child development classes, and 207 faculty who were associated with campus laboratory schools. The study participants came from 122 campus children centers in the United States. These campus centers were members of either the National Coalition for Campus Children's Centers (NCCCC) or the National Organization of Laboratory Schools (NOLS). The first three research questions investigated whether parents, students, and faculty were satisfied with program quality. A one-way analysis of variance indicated a statistically significant mean difference between the three groups. The parents had a higher mean level of program quality satisfaction than students and faculty. The last three research questions investigated whether parents, students, and faculty supported the ongoing existence of campus laboratory school programs. Opinions were scaled from 1=not ever to 5=definitely. The overall mean ratings for Parents (4.54), students (4.18), and faculty (4.07) indicated that they supported the ongoing existence of campus laboratory programs. Future research should investigate cross-cultural issues related to campus laboratory school programs. It would also be important to study the effectiveness of Pell Grants that could provide funding of campus laboratory schools for a diverse group of children. A study could also be conducted that would explore differences in campus laboratory school programs and determine whether they respond differently to childcare demands.
- The Effects of a Therapeutic Play Intervention on Hispanic Students' Reading Achievement, Self-concept, and Behavior
- This study employed a pretest/posttest control group design to investigate the achievement of second grade Hispanic students from a predominantly low socio-economic school in a large metropolitan city. The thirty Hispanic students with the lowest scores on the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test were randomly assigned to the experimental group (n =15) or the control group (n=15). The treatment consisted of 16, 30-minute sessions of play intervention--2 times per week for 8 weeks. The providers of play therapy were school personnel trained in the principles of child-centered play therapy including tracking, reflecting feelings, and setting limits. Instruments were administered to all subjects prior to the 8 week treatment period and in the two-week period following treatment and included the GMRT, the Joseph Pre-School Primary Self-Concept Test (JPPSCST) and the Child Behavior Checklist Teacher Report Form (CBCTRF). Statistical analyses included a (t-test; 2 tail; p > .05), discriminant analysis, and cross validation. The results indicated that children who received play therapy did not achieve notably higher mean scores in reading. However, play therapy did improve the experimental group's self-concept scores and their internal behavior scores, though not significantly. All differences between the experimental and the control groups were within 1 point except the JPPSCST self-concept mean scores were 1.53 in favor of the experimental group. The CBCTRF Internal behavior mean scores were 1.20 in favor of the experimental group indicating a positive trend. The CBCTRF External behavior scores were 2.74 in favor of the control group. None of the differences was statistically significant and the 4 null hypotheses were accepted. The sample size (N =30) suggests the need to exercise caution in interpreting these findings.Further research utilizing a longer time period between pretesting and posttesting is recommended and may provide more definite information regarding the impact of play therapy on children's reading, self-concept, and internal and external behavioral characteristics.
- Juvenile Justice Sentencing: Are There Alternatives?
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Research indicates that states have implemented juvenile justice reforms to enact harsher punishments, to transfer greater numbers and younger juvenile offenders to adult criminal court, and to restrict discretion of the juvenile court judges. Social science studies have found that harsher punishments, transfers to adult criminal court and other measures do not work, but that comprehensive approaches which address the numerous major factors contributing to juvenile offending have been successful. This study examined the legal status of the juvenile justice system by focusing upon ten diverse sample states and analyzed the social science research on factors contributing to juvenile offending and on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation approaches. The study was accomplished by legal research, qualitative social science research, and analysis of both. Findings indicated: a) state statutes require and allow adult punishment of juvenile offenders, transfer of juvenile offenders to adult criminal court, and direct filing of charges against juveniles in adult criminal court; most states begin these proceedings at age 14, some have no age minimum; b) social science research indicates numerous factors contribute to juvenile offending with most of the factors categorized into the major factors of early antisocial behavior, deviant peers, parents and family, sociomoral reasoning, biological factors, and violence which interact with each other creating a complicated web; and c) prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation efforts should be comprehensive, multidimensional and multimodal addressing the interacting major factors contributing to juvenile offending and the needs of the juvenile, the family, and the home environment. Implications include the need for legislators to access the social science research to craft legislation and programs which are effective. Suggestions for improvement include collaboration within communities and with knowledgeable and committed social science professionals and educators. Areas suggested for further research include education of the public, the media, and stakeholders; long term follow-up on promising programs; design and improvements in approaches based upon the social science research; meeting the needs of the juvenile, the family, and the home environment; and study of how the factors may differ for disabled juveniles.
- Teachers' Use of Children's Literature, Mathematics Manipulatives, and Scaffolding to Improve Preschool Mathematics Achievement: Does It Work?
- The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of an intervention involving teachers' use of children's literature, related storybook manipulatives, and a scaffolding (LMS) approach to learning would improve preschool children's mathematics test scores. Additionally, the LMS approach was examined to determine whether teachers' perceptions of their effectiveness in mathematics instruction changed from the beginning to the end of the study. The subjects of the study included 60 preschool-aged children and six teachers from two child care centers. The preschool teachers participated in either a control or experimental condition (the LMS approach) in their daily mathematics instruction with their preschool children. The researcher tested the children using the Test of Early Mathematics Ability and an abbreviated version of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. The study was based on two main research questions. The first question asked if there was a difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding intervention group and children in the control group after assuring equivalency of the two groups. The second question addressed if preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. The answer to the first research question was that there was no statistically significant difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding group and children in the control group. However, the answer to the second question was that preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. Recommendations for future research on early childhood mathematics include the investigation of preschool children's ability, achievement, and interest in mathematics; teachers' use of mathematics scaffolding techniques; and longitudinal mathematics interventions beginning during the preschool years.
- To Include or not to Include: Early Childhood Preservice Educators' Beliefs, Attitudes, and Knowledge about Students with Disabilities
- The first purpose of this study was to develop and validate the Inventory of Opinions About Persons with Disabilities (IOPD). The IOPD was developed to collect preservice early childhood educatorsself-report data related to inclusion. A total of 332 participants enrolled in graduate programs in a college of education served as the validation sample. After validation and revision of the IOPD, the researcher used the instrument to investigate preservice early childhood educators beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge about students with disabilities and their inclusion in general education classrooms. Data were collected from 172 participants from 10 universities in Texas during their student teaching/final intern semesters. This research demonstrated that an instrument, the IOPD, could be developed to effectively measure preservice early childhood educators beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge about the inclusion of children with disabilities in their classrooms. The participants reported positive self-perceptions (mean = 2.0388) about their beliefs and attitudes toward inclusion. However, the participants reported less positive attitudes about training (mean = -.09884). Discriminant function analyses indicated a negligible statistical effect for type of program (professional development school or traditional) and a statistically significant effect for preferred classroom setting (non-inclusive, special education, inclusive). Further research with the same participants or similar cohorts at one and three years of inservice teaching could broaden the scope of knowledge regarding early childhood teachers opinions about inclusion and students with disabilities. In addition, including procedures for gathering qualitative data with the Inventory of Opinions About Persons With Disabilities might provide more specific information about individual beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge about inclusion.