THE IMPACT OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES BASED ON EF GUIDELINE ON CHILDREN’S EXECUTIVE FUNCTION SKILLS: A CASE STUDY OF A SCHOOL IN TAK PROVINCE
National Institute for Child and Family Development, Mahidol University (THAILAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Substantial research in neuropsychology plays an important role in educational practices; especially in early childhood education. A growing body of research indicates that early years of life is the critical period for executive function (EF) development. EF is a set of higher-order brain process that control emotions, cognitive thinking and flexibility. According to previous research, the key principle for promoting EF skills in children includes teachers’ abilities to create challenged situations in which children need to make decisions, plan and organize, solve problems, find new ways to complete tasks, control emotions, and regulate thoughts and behaviors. Another key principle is teachers’ abilities to provide emotional support and environment in which the children feel secure.
This research focus on the links between the research and learning practices in kindergarten classrooms. The purpose of the research was to investigate the impact of lesson plan based on EF Guideline on children’s EF skills. EF Guideline is the tool for teachers for writing a lesson plan to promote children’s EF skills. It was developed by the collaboration between National Institute for Child and Family Development, Mahidol University and RLG Institute, and funded by Thai Health Promotion Foundation. The sample of the research was 56 five to six – year – old children studied in kindergarten level, academic year 2017, at a school in Tak Province, Thailand. The sample was divided into two groups, using purposive sampling. The sample group was 28 children whose teachers used the EF Guideline for planning their lesson plans. The control group was 28 children whose teachers did not use the EF Guideline for planning their lesson plans. It was hypothesized that the children in the sample group had significantly higher posttest mean scores than pretest mean scores on EF skills, and the children in the sample group had significantly higher posttest mean scores on EF skills, comparing to the posttest mean scores of the children in the control group.
For the data analysis, the descriptive statistic was utilized to explain the general background of the sample, using percent and means. A paired t-test was utilized to examine the differences between the pretest and posttest mean scores on EF skills of the children in the sample group, and a series of multivariate analysis of co-variance (MANCOVA) was utilized to evaluate the differences in the posttest-mean scores on EF skills between the children in the sample and control groups. The results showed that children in the sample group had significant higher posttest mean scores for all EF skills, comparing to their pretest mean scores. Moreover, the children in the sample group significantly had higher posttest mean scores for all EF skills, except emotional control skills, comparing to the posttest mean scores of the children in the control group. The findings indicated that the EF Guideline significantly had a positive impact on children’s EF skills. The discussion, limitations, implications and suggestions for future research are also presented.
Keywords: Executive function (EF), Kindergarteners, Learning experiences, EF Guideline.