01 02 03 Institute for Effective Education, University of York: Effective professional development for teachers of early years 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Effective professional development for teachers of early years

Previous research has shown that the quality of classroom practices, including teacher-child interaction, is a factor in pupil readiness for starting school. Child Trends has released a report describing the results of a three-year randomised study of two professional development models for teacher–child interactions in pre-kindergarten (Reception).

Between 2011 and 2013, 486 pre-kindergarten teachers in the US state of Georgia were randomly selected to participate either in Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI, n=175), MyTeachingPartner (MPT, n=151), or a control group (n=160). MMCI teachers met in a group with instructors for a series of 10 workshops (one a month), between which they had homework. MTP teachers received one-to-one online coaching, where they sent videos of themselves working in a classroom to a coach who sent them feedback in two-week cycles for seven months. Both the experimental groups and the control group had access to online demonstrations of best practices. Teachers were evaluated in the spring using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System which looks at three teacher–child interaction domains: emotional support, instructional support, and classroom organisation.

Results showed that when compared to the control group, MMCI improved emotional and instructional support, and MTP improved emotional support. When compared to each other, there were no statistically significant differences between MMCI and MTP teachers’ improvements. In terms of practicality, MMCI required less time and staff to implement fully than MTP. The authors note that more research needs to be done to determine the optimal conditions in which to implement each programme.

Source: Georgia’s Pre-K Professional Development Evaluation: Executive Summary (2015), Child Trends

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