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ERIC Number: ED530499
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 22
Variation in Teachers' Instructional Interactions within Two Interventions: Associations with Intervention Responsiveness and Teacher/Classroom Characteristics
LoCasale-Crouch, Jennifer; DeCoster, Jamie; Cabell, Sonia; Hamre, Bridget; Downer, Jason; Pianta, Robert
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Over a decade ago, Bredekamp asserted (1996) that the field of early childhood education lacked a research base to document the effectiveness of approaches to producing highly skilled and effective early educators. The National Center for Research in Early Childhood Education's (NCRECE) Course and MyTeachingPartner (MTP) Coaching were developed to fill the gap in effective PD targeted toward improving teacher-child interactions. In both cases, this PD focused on improving the interactions known to support children's development, as identified by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta et al., 2008). The NCRECE study was intentionally designed to use two distinct professional development approaches, targeted toward the same outcome (improved teacher-student interactions), to examine their unique individual or combined influence on enhancing interactions. As part of the randomized controlled trial, intent to treat results suggest that both the NCRECE Course and the MTP Coaching do change teachers' interactions in ways that support children's development (Hamre et al, in press; Pianta et al., 2011). This paper explores variation in teachers' responsiveness during both the Course and MTP Coaching phases of the NCRECE study. Of particular interest is the identification of classroom and teacher factors that may serve as moderators between participants' responsiveness and change in their instructional practice. A total of 433 teachers were recruited into the course phase of the study. Upon consent, they were randomized at the site location level into the course or control group for the first phase of the study so that approximately half of the teachers participated in each group. A total of 405 teachers were recruited into the consultancy phase of the study. Of teachers in the analytic sample, 41% worked in Head Start programs and a significant portion worked in public schools (37%). Teachers were experienced, with an average of 14 years of experience teaching and an average of 16 years of education. Most of the teachers were African American (47%) or White (31%) with a smaller number of Latino (15%), Asian American (4%), and multi-ethnic (4%). The poverty rate among children in the classrooms taught by teachers in the sample was quite high (mean = 0.88, sd = 0.21). The NCRECE Course and MTP coaching intent to treat findings reported elsewhere indicate there are different types of intervention designs that can improve teachers' practice in ways that matter for children's development (Pianta et al., 2011). The current treatment on the treated study takes this work a step further, looking inside main effects of interventions to begin to understand the mechanisms through which change can occur, and for whom. In this case, participants' personal and classroom characteristics as well as their responsiveness to two different types of intervention were considered, and shown to matter in some ways the same, and in some ways different, across the interventions. Consistent with previous findings (Downer et al, 2009), and across both types of interventions, teachers who have less experience in prek classrooms benefit most from the intervention experiences. This is consistent with other literature on novice teachers, pointing to both their continued need and desire to develop (Darling-Hammond, 2001). Given the persistent concern regarding new teacher quality and retention, tending to the explicit needs of new teachers with interventions known to support effective practice should be a priority. Although there were several teacher/classroom characteristics that related to change in one intervention phase or the other, the main difference of note is how participants' responsiveness in the MTP Coaching intervention, but not in the NCRECE Course, was associated with improved instructional interactions. Given the personal and interactive nature of coaching, responsiveness by the participant may be more critical to change in their practice then attending a course (Pianta et al., 2011). Further, participant responsiveness to MTP and change in practice was moderated by teacher experience and composition of children in the classroom. This points to a need for professional development opportunities that align with the same intended outputs, but use different learning formats or modalities that work best for the individual learner involved. Based on these preliminary findings, future work would benefit from examining a more comprehensive look at intervention responsiveness, as well as unexplored teacher/classroom characteristics.
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; 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