Implementation of a Course Focused on Language and Literacy Within Teacher–Child Interactions: Instructor and Student Perspectives Across Three Institutions of Higher Education

Jul. 01, 2011

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 32(3):200–224, 2011. 

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examined the implementation of a standardized course across three early childhood teacher preparation programs.
The authors wanted to see whether students learned the content of the course as well as assess any changes in their attitudes about children’s learning that might be associated with the content and activities included in the course.

The course tested in this research study was developed by the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE).
This course addressed a number of teaching strategies designed to foster children’s language and literacy development and, at the same time, promote intentional and positive teacher–child interactions.

The authors used the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) observation measure.
The CLASS assessment serves as a framework for the teacher–child interaction content of the NCRECE course.

At each of the three institutions, one instructor taught the course.
All three reported having completed their degree in early childhood education or a related field.

Furthermore, 49 students participated in the study.
All the students were female.
All of the participants were majoring in early childhood education.
Approximately 22% of stdents reported that they were familiar with the CLASS instrument prior to taking the NCRECE course.


Implementation and Delivery of the Course
The results included instructor perspectives about design and delivery as well as students’ perspectives of content and delivery and their associated changes in beliefs and knowledge.

The instructors reported that the content was important information for students and they commented positively on the organization of the course and the materials.

However, there were challenges in matching the course to instructors’ teaching style.
The instructors were asked to implement a prepackaged course and some struggled with the format of the course, particularly the extensive use of PowerPoint slides.

Furthermore, participants indicated that students may not have had sufficient time to process what they were learning.

Student Perceptions
Students indicated positive attitudes toward the course in general and the effect the course had on their own knowledge and teaching practices.

Students also had positive views regarding the instructors.
The instructors had to be knowledgeable of content, willing to implement the course as intended, and effective teachers to know how to guide students in a manner that is consistent with the design of the course but also addresses individual students’ needs and learning.

It was also found that although the students had experience with this type of activity throughout the course, their lower scores on the midterm may indicate that this is an emerging skill and/or this content is still more abstract than content related to language and literacy.

The authors conclude that additional research is needed to test the efficacy and feasibility of offering a predeveloped course in multiple higher education settings and assessing the outcomes for students and children.

Updated: May. 22, 2013