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Prek-6 Teachers' Beliefs About Inclusive Practices in the United States and South Korea: Cross Cultural Perspectives

Description: 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.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Jeong, Hyunjeong

Home Literacy Practices in Diverse Families: Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Children's Literacy Development

Description: 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.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Gonzalez, Lauren

Accreditation Facilitation Projects: Supporting High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care

Description: 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 ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Reinke, Stephanie L.

Effects of a Brain Improvement Program on Students' Reading Achievement

Description: 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.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Sánchez, Edelmira

The Disney Influence on Kindergarten Girls' Body Image

Description: 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.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Asawarachan, Tanawan

Preschool Teachers’ Knowledge of Children’s Mathematical Development and Beliefs About Teaching Mathematics

Description: 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 ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Kim, In Hong