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ERIC Number: ED518177
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 24
Implementation Fidelity and Teachers' Engagement in a Course on Effective Teacher-Child Interactions: Effects on Teacher Beliefs, Knowledge and Practice
Hamre, Bridget; Henry, Anne; Locasale-Crouch, Jennifer; Downer, Jason; Pianta, Robert; Burchinal, Peg; Howes, Carollee; LaParo, Karen; Scott-Little, Catherine
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
The National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education's (NCRECE) program of research is a series of experimental studies of specific approaches to training early childhood (EC) educators to be effective in implementation of curriculum and instructional interactions focused on promoting language and literacy skills, two domains that operate as gatekeepers to later achievement. Previous NCRECE work has demonstrated that a 14-week course designed to enhance teachers' use of effective teaching practices was effective in changing teacher beliefs, knowledge, and observed practice (Hamre et al., 2010). This paper examines the extent to which teachers from a variety of backgrounds were engaged in the course and the extent to which their engagement was associated with significant changes in belief, knowledge, and practice. The authors briefly discuss the context for this work. First, the authors examine the extent to which there was variation in implementation and engagement across the 15 course sections in 9 sites. Second, they examine the extent to which teachers from a variety of backgrounds engaged equally in the course, both in terms of quantity and quality of engagement. Finally, they examine which aspects of participation are most closely associated with changes in teachers' belief, knowledge, and practice. The NCRECE course was offered in nine sites across the country: Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; Memphis, Tennessee; New York City; Rhode Island; and Stockton, California. Participating teachers worked in a variety of early childhood (EC) programs including Head Start, preschool, and child care. Results suggest several teacher-level factors that predict engagement. Teachers with less authoritarian beliefs and teachers with less pre-k teaching experience were more likely to be engaged in course material. It may be that the course content, which focused on the importance of teacher-child interactions and also highlighted the importance of fostering children's autonomy, was in conflict with some teachers beliefs in ways that led them to become more disengaged with course material. Teachers with more teaching experience reported the course was somewhat less useful, although they still gave generally high ratings. Interestingly, the quality of experienced teachers' engagement was somewhat lower--they performed more poorly on homework and midterm assignments. This is somewhat counterintuitive as everyone might expect these teachers to know the most about classroom interactions. However, it may be that teachers who have been in the classroom for a long time have more set ideas about what effective interactions look like, and thus have a harder time performing on tasks that ask them to shift to thinking about new ways to interact in the classroom. Teachers from a wide variety of educational backgrounds reported that the course was useful and displayed equal level of engagement. It is unusual for a course to target such a broad range of teachers but this finding suggests that the course material, focused on teacher-child interactions, was relevant to teachers across the educational spectrum. This may reflect the fact that few teachers, even those who have taken many early childhood courses, have had opportunities to learn about effective teacher-child interactions in a college course setting. Adding to efficacy evidence from the intent-to-treat analysis, this study suggests that teachers who attended more course sections and completed more of the homework assignments displayed greater changes from pre- to post-test on three of the four measures of beliefs and knowledge. Thus, dosage appears to matter. There was not evidence to support the idea that teachers' own views of usefulness, instructor-reported engagement, or the quality of teachers engagement (i.e. homework and midterm scores) were systematically associated with changes in belief and knowledge. Future analyses may examine the individual components of participation and quality of engagement in more detail to try to unpack the "active ingredients" of this course. (Contains 4 tables.)
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: California; Connecticut; Illinois; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Rhode Island; Tennessee