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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Home Literacy Portfolios: Tools for Sharing Literacy Information and for Assessing Parents' Awareness of and Involvement in their Prekindergarten Child's Literacy Development
- This qualitative study investigated parents' awareness of and involvement in their prekindergarten child's literacy development. In addition, the feasibility of parents using a home literacy portfolio for the purpose of exchanging literacy information with teachers at a parent/teacher conference was examined. Participants included six parent/child dyads, who qualified for a Texas public school prekindergarten program by meeting the requirements for either free or reduced lunches or for the English-as-a-Second Language program. Research tools included audiotaped interviews with parents and with teachers; observations at parent/child workshop sessions, which were also videotaped; and work samples, including a home literacy portfolio from each child. Findings indicate that parents are involved in their children's literacy development. Also, at home, children participate in both open-ended literacy activities and drill-oriented literacy activities, with most of the activities falling into the open-ended category. According to the findings, all of the parents were more aware of their child's literacy achievements after attending the parent/child workshop and developing a home literacy portfolio. In addition, the home literacy portfolio proved to be a useful tool for sharing information at parent/teacher conferences. Parents and teachers exchanged literacy information at the parent/teacher conference. In the process of explaining the portfolios, the parents shared information about their child's drawing development, writing development, and reading development. In contrast, the teachers shared some literacy information with the parents, but much of the information teachers shared reflected the child's participation in class or general information about the child. The findings suggest that the parent/child workshop is a cost-effective vehicle for directly involving parents in their child's education. Moreover, developing a home literacy portfolio provides a means of involving parents with their child and of helping parents' become more aware of their child's literacy development.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kindergarten Teacher Competencies Ranked by Kindergarten Teachers and Kindergarten Teacher Trainers
- This study is concerned with the problem of determining the competencies which inservice kindergarten teachers and kindergarten-teacher trainers consider most important for teaching kindergarten. There are four purposes of the study: to identify specific competencies needed to teach kindergarten, to determine the teacher competencies considered most important by kindergarten teachers, to determine teacher competencies considered most important by teacher trainers, and to compare the rankings of teacher competencies by kindergarten teachers and kindergarten-teacher trainers.
- Language Behaviors and Social Strategies of English as Second Language and English as Primary Language Preschool Children During Computer Assisted Instruction Experiences
- This study describes the language behaviors and social strategies of English as Second Language (ESL) and English as Primary Language (EPL) pre-kindergarten students during cooperative Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) experiences. Thirty-three pre-kindergarten subjects ages four to five years, were videotaped at two personal computers during self-selected center time. The sources of data for this descriptive study were a parent computer survey, videotapes, a subject interview derived from the Young Children's Computer Inventory, and written records.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mothers' Perceptions and Preschoolers' Experiences: Cultural Perspectives of Early Childhood Education
- In this qualitative investigation, the ways in which four ethnically diverse mothers' perceptions of early childhood education combined with the school experiences of their children were examined. Research tools included audiotaped interviews with Mexican-American, Korean-American, African-American, and Anglo mothers; videotaped school experiences; and a video message with a viewing guide requesting written reaction.
- Multiple Measures of the Effectiveness of Public School Montessori Education in the Third Grade
- The problem of this study was to measure the effectiveness of a public school Montessori program. The purpose of this study was to measure and compare student academic achievement and self-concept, attendance and promotion rates, and level of parental involvement in the schools of students enrolled in public school Montessori and traditional programs. The 95 subjects in this study were third-grade subjects selected from the student populations in Montessori and traditional school sites. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) was used as the pre-test scores, and the Norm-referenced Assessment Program for Texas (NAPT) was used as the post-test scores to compare academic achievement in reading and mathematics. Multiple regression was used to compare the levels of academic achievement and self-concept. Multiple regression was also used to test for possible relationship between the Montessori and traditional programs and gender and ethnicity.
- 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.
- 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.
- Parents' beliefs and knowledge regarding child development and appropriate early childhood classroom practices
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The intent of this study was to assess low-income parents knowledge and beliefs regarding child development and appropriate classroom practice and to compare their responses with those obtained from a previous survey of upper-income parents (Grebe, 1998). This study group (N=21) consisted of parents or guardians with children in a federally subsidized child-care center. Results indicated a high level of knowledge regarding developmentally appropriate practice and child development. Overall, there were no significant differences in the knowledge between the two income-levels, however, responses to several questions revealed slight differences in beliefs.
- Parents' understanding of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education.
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The intent of this study was to determine what understanding and knowledge parents had of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). The study examined whether the beliefs of parents who enrolled their children in a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited program had any impact on their expectations for a philosophy and curriculum that is centered around DAP. In addition, the study examined whether parents' understanding of DAP changed when their children transitioned from infant and toddler programs, to preschool. The study group consisted of parents with children in two privately owned NAEYC accredited centers in 1998 (N=131). Results from parent reports indicated a high level of parent knowledge regarding DAP.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Relationship of Developmentally Appropriate Beliefs and Practices of Greek Kindergarten Teachers
- Sixty Greek kindergarten teachers were surveyed regarding their teaching beliefs and practices using the Teachers Questionnaire based on guidelines recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A Varimax factor analysis produced four factors for the Teacher Belief Scale and five factors for the Instructional Activities Scale. Scores on developmentally appropriate factors were consistently higher than factors classified developmentally inappropriate. Correlation between appropriate beliefs and activities was significant (r = .470); correlation between inappropriate beliefs and practices was significant (r = .475). However, developmentally inappropriate beliefs were also positively correlated with developmentally appropriate practices (r = .537). Developmentally appropriate beliefs were not correlated with inappropriate practices. Results were discussed with possible theoretical and practical implications for future research and teacher development.
- Revealing what urban early childhood teachers think about mathematics and how they teach it: Implications for practice
- Hersh (1986) states, "One's conception of what mathematics is affects one's conception of how it should be presented. One's manner of presenting it is an indication of what one believes to be most essential in it." In this research study, three hundred ninety-seven urban early childhood teachers were given a survey that examined their attitudes toward mathematics and mathematics teaching, their views of mathematics, views of teaching mathematics, and views of children learning mathematics. The purpose of this study was to identify the attitudes and beliefs of early childhood teachers in two urban school districts to determine if mathematics reform efforts made a difference in teachers' attitudes and beliefs about mathematics and its teaching. Questionnaires were mailed directly to teachers in one school district and principals distributed questionnaires in the other. Summary scores were calculated for parts of the instrument. The researcher performed descriptive statistics, comparative analysis, and conducted frequency distributions, t-tests, ANOVA, and Pearson Correlations. Findings revealed that teachers with 30 or more years of teaching experience had more positive attitudes toward mathematics than teachers with 1-3 years of experience. African American teachers had more positive attitudes toward mathematics and its teaching than other ethnic groups. Teachers who held a minor or major in mathematics had more positive attitudes toward mathematics and its teaching than teachers without a minor or major in mathematics. Teachers in District-A favored constructivist learning while teachers in District-B favored rote learning. Both school districts' teachers favored the problem-solving approach to teaching mathematics. If instruction is to be transformed, reformers need to understand teachers' beliefs about mathematics. Beliefs, which are essential for teachers' development, seldom change without significant intervention (Lappan and Theule-Lubienski, 1994). Therefore, school districts must be informed about the changes necessary for the reform of mathematics teaching and identify and implement through staff developments and other measures what they perceive mathematics to be and how it should be taught.
- Self-Assessment of Literacy Growth in Young Children
- In this study, 78 kindergarten and first-grade children were interviewed about their writing to identify indicators of self-assessment. Writing samples for each participant were saved over a three month period, then compared and discussed by the child. Results indicated that these young children did engage in self:-assessment behaviors. The classroom teachers were asked to place the participants in their classes along a writing continuum known as a Writing Band. Graphs were presented to show the writing levels of the children by classroom. In addition, each classroom was surveyed to document events which promote literacy development within the framework of an integrated curriculum. Writing samples for each child were collected and kept in a portfolio. Participants were interviewed regarding the contents of the portfolio. Children in two of the kindergarten classes were interviewed using 5 samples collected over a 2 1/2 month time period, and all other participants were interviewed using 6 writing samples collected over a 3 month period. Findings indicated that not only did these young children recognize growth in their writing, but they also assessed that growth based on outward, physical features of their writing. The writing ability of each child at the beginning of the study did not appear to affect the child's ability to self-assess writing growth. Children on the first 4 Writing Bands, A, B, C, and D self-assessed using similar criteria. Additional findings suggested that many of these young children knew there was a thought process involved with choosing topics to be written about. The results of this study suggested implications for continued investigations into using self-assessment with young children. For example, it was proposed that varying the learning environment may change the criteria that children use for self-assessment. Further research was recommended that would identify student and teacher behaviors that enhance self-assessment.
- 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.
- A Study of Korean Kindergarten Teachers' Concerns
- The problem of this study was to identify some concerns of Korean kindergarten teachers at different points in their careers, based on the conceptual framework of Katz's (1972, 1977, 1985) theory of preschool teacher development. This study also described the variations in these concerns on the basis of some teacher characteristics including teaching experience, certification, educational background, inservice training, and teaching assignment. The subjects for this study were 174 volunteers who were Korean kindergarten teachers in Seoul, Korea. The concerns of the teachers were expressed through the Kindergarten Teacher Concerns Questionnaire, consisting of two parts: (a) background information, and (b) the Kindergarten Teacher Concern Rating Scale (KTCRS), consisting of a list of 54 items developed by Tsai (1990), reflecting the four areas of concerns—Survival, Consolidation, Renewal, and Maturity—formulated by Katz. A Likert type 5-point scale indicating the degree of concerns was used in the questionnaire as the scoring system. The following conclusions were drawn from this study: 1. The concerns of the Korean kindergarten teachers were developmental in nature in terms of preoccupation with a specific area of concerns at different points in the teachers' careers. This result tended to follow a sequence of stages as posited by Katz (1972, 1977, 1985). 2. The sample characteristics of this study strengthened the belief that the qualifications for Korean kindergarten teachers need to be raised for the sake of development of early childhood education in Korea. 3. Certification and inservice training might enhance the teachers' job awareness and expectation level of job performance. The findings implied that preservice and inservice education need to be based on teacher concerns. The recommendations for future research included (a) replicating this study with a nationwide sample for a broader generalization, and (b) tracing the processes of change in Korean kindergarten teacher concerns through qualitative research such as longitudinal studies, case studies, or intensive interviews.
- A Study of the Attitudes of Parents, Teachers and Principals Toward Parental Involvement in School Activities
- The problem with which this investigation was concerned was that of surveying the attitudes of parents, teachers, and principals toward parental involvement in school activities. The study had a threefold purpose. The first was to determine the attitudes of parents toward involvement in school activities. The second was to determine the attitudes of teachers and principals toward parental involvement in schools. The third was to identify attitudes of parents, teachers, and principals toward various methods of involvement.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Young Children's Communicative Strategies During Pretend Play in the Context of the Block Center
- In this study, various communicative strategies that young children employed to create and develop pretend play with peers in the block center were examined. Two preschools, one in Korea and the other in the United States, were selected. Subjects were children in the 4-year-old classroom in each school. The average age of the children at the time of the investigation was 59 months. For data collection, videotaping, audiotaping, field-note taking, interviews with teachers, and school enrollment records were used. During pretend block play, children created talk and actions in order to deal with challenges related to various aspects of play (e.g., accessory play materials, construction, plot, and enactment). Accordingly, children's communicative strategies were categorized as follows: (a) material communication, (b) construction communication, (c) plot communication, and (d) enactment. Also, subcategories under each category were developed. It was found that, in different phases of play in which they faced different types of challenges, children used certain strategies more often (communication about material selection and construction definition were most frequently used in the initiation phase of play). In terms of cultural aspects of the pretend play, in the Korean setting, the following were noticed: (a) a rigidly formed participant structure in which several positions were available, (b) the use of various comparison strategies, and (c) an overwhelmingly prevalent play theme: "The good guys winning over the bad guys." In the American setting, the following aspects were common: (a) frequent calling for the teachers when conflicts involving the ownership issue arose, (b) negotiable play atmosphere, and (c) consequent ample negotiation. Implications for educators as to how to encourage children to participate more in pretend play with peers in the block center were provided. Recommendations for further research pertained to the following: (a) methodological progress in studying children's play, (b) use of categories developed in this study, and (c) detecting individual differences that could shed light on optimal assistance of child development.
- Young Children's Construction of Physical Knowledge on Swings in the Outdoor Play Environment
- This investigation examined the development of young children's behaviors on swings in the outdoor play environment and their emerging understanding of the physics principles associated with those behaviors. The children's language interactions were also examined in an effort to determine the relationship between language and cognitive development in their construction of physical knowledge. The procedures involved observing the children's behaviors and collecting samples of their spontaneous language interactions during their swinging activities. Informal interviews were also conducted with individual and groups of children. The findings indicate that young children's swinging behaviors develop in eight hierarchical stages. As these behaviors develop, children experiment with the physics principles of balance, gravity, force, resistance, and resonance. Children's swinging behaviors develop in a social context. Many early behaviors are acquired through observing and modeling other children. Language provides the medium for more-experienced peers to assist novice swingers through encouragement and direct instruction. The stage development of swinging behaviors is compared to Cratty's Theory of Perceptual-Motor Development and Harrow's Taxonomy of the Psychomotor Domain. Children's cognitive processing and language interactions are discussed in the context of Piagetian and Vygotskian theories of development. Implications for instruction and suggestions for further research are discussed.