[R-0016] S8. Ethical Practice

Citation: Neuman, S. B. & Wright, T. S. (2010). Promoting language and literacy development for early childhood educators: A mixed-methods study of coursework and coaching. The Elementary School Journal, 111, 63-86.

Abstract: This study examines the impact of 2 forms of professional development on prekindergarten teachers early language and literacy practice: Coursework and coaching. Participating teachers (N = 148) from 6 urban cities were randomly assigned to Group 1 (coursework), Group 2 (on site coaching), or Group 3 (control group). Pre- and post assessments examined teachers knowledge and quality of language and literacy practices. Analyses revealed no significant improvements between groups on knowledge of early language and literacy; however, those who received coaching made statistically significant improvements in the structural environment both immediately and 5 months later. Effect sizes were substantial for coaching, while those who received coursework made no significant improvements. Analyses of the active ingredients of coaching were examined using logs and interviews to further elucidate these findings.

Integration: Numerous studies (Dickinson & Caswell, 2007; Wasik, Bond, & Hindman, 2006) have shown that teachers who engage children in rich language interactions and involve them in content-rich, purposeful instruction promote the skills associated with later reading success. This study is among the first randomized, controlled trials to examine different forms of professional development in early childhood and their impact on quality language and literacy practices. Although empirical research underscores the importance of these teaching practices to later literacy development (Landry, Swank, Smith, Assel, & Gunnewig, 2006), there is limited research on how to promote the development of teachers knowledge and skills in these critical areas, particularly among midcareer teachers. Several recent empirical trials (Koh & Neuman, 2009; Landry, Anthony, Swank, & Monseque-Bailey, 2009; Powell, Diamond, & Burchinal, 2009) have in fact demonstrated positive changes in early literacy practices as a result of specialized training and supports. Although there are promising indications that coaching may be an effective approach for improving teachers language and literacy practices (Poglinco & Bach, 2004), there is little empirical support for its use, especially as an independent professional development strategy.

Content Focus: Instruction and Teaching; Language and Literacy Experiences

Notes: Dickinson, D., & Caswell, L. (2007). Building support for language and early literacy in preschool classrooms through in-service professional development: Effects of the Literacy Environment Enrichment Program (LEEP). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22, 243–260.

Koh, S., & Neuman, S. B. (2009). The impact of professional development on family child care: A practice-based approach. Early Education and Development, 20(3), 537–562.

Landry, S., Anthony, J., Swank, P., & Monseque-Bailey, P. (2009). Effectiveness of comprehensive professional development for teachers of at-risk preschoolers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(2), 448–465.

Landry, S., Swank, P., Smith, K., Assel, M., & Gunnewig, S. (2006). Enhancing early literacy skills for preschool children: Bringing a professional development model to scale. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39, 306–324.

Poglinco, S., & Bach, S. (2004). The heart of the matter: Coaching as a vehicle for professional development. Phi Delta Kappan, 85(5), 398–402.

Powell, D., Diamond, K., & Burchinal, M. (2009, April). Effects of a professional development intervention on teaching processes and child language and literacy outcomes. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development, Denver.

Wasik, B., Bond, M. A., & Hindman, A. (2006). The effect of a language and literacy intervention on Head Start children and teachers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 63–74.