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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, ...
Juvenile Justice Sentencing: Are There Alternatives?
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 ...
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 educators’self-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.
Decision Making Factors in Child Caregiver Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
This study investigated decision making factors used by child caregivers to identify suspected child abuse and neglect and collected data on caregiver training in the recognition and reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. Data was collected in July 1999 in fourteen north Texas childcare programs. One hundred twenty three teaching and administrative staff completed a survey based on Jacobson, A., Glass, J. and Ruggiere, P. (1998). Five teachers and five administrators chosen for convenience were read eleven vignettes describing possibly abusive situations to decide whether they were reportable or non-reportable, and to indicate factors used to make their decisions. Administrators (50%) and teachers (13.3%) reported being unfamiliar with child abuse and neglect definitions and reporting laws. Two thirds (66.7%) of the administrators and 39.8% of the teachers had received specific training in recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect. Administrators were more likely than teachers to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Teachers often reported to program administrators rather than state designated authorities. All subjects relied on information about children, but administrators also used information about parents, with teachers more likely to make excuses for parental actions. With 110 reporting opportunities, training was cited as a factor only twice by administrators. No teachers made reports to anyone other than program administrators, a factor named deference in this study. Four of five administrators expected deference from teachers when reporting decisions were made. Present training in the recognition and reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect is inadequate. Caregivers need additional training in differences between accidental and intentional injuries, detection of child sexual abuse and emotional neglect, recognition and assessment of injuries among infants and toddlers, and mandated reporting procedures. Further research on optimal training for accurate reporting of suspected abuse and neglect is needed. A mandate to report to authorities ...
Parents' Beliefs and Knowledge Regarding Child Development and Appropriate Early Childhood Classroom Practices
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.