About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6335-6344
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain

MEASURING CREATIVE OUTLETS: USING CHILDREN’S COLLECTIVE ACTIVITY TO MEASURE THE EFFICACY OF FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

E. Feldman1, G. Joseph2

1University of Washington/Early Learning & Play Consulting (UNITED STATES)
2University of Washington (UNITED STATES)
Young children use social cues to guide their interactions with the world (Bonawitz, Shafto, Gweon, Goodman, Spelke & Schulz, 2010). Yet, the influence of this proclivity on group level instruction has been relatively unexplored. Children’s group activity is an arena in which peer behavior has the potential to amplify or alter teacher efforts (Coolahan, Fantuzzo, Mendez & McDermott, 2000; Verba, 1998). Indeed, peer groups are informal arenas in which children process curricular content found in their classroom environments (Nueman & Roskos, 1991) or introduced by teachers (Corsano & Nelson, 2003). Teacher cues impact the social dynamics of children’s activity (Hilliard & Liben, 2010) and their representations of curricular activities (Wiltz & Klein, 2001). And, early childhood educators can be trained to better facilitate group activity (Girolametto, Weitzman & Greenberg, 2004). Despite these promising findings, the content of children’s classroom activity is a latent variable in most analyses of preschool quality, children’s classroom experiences, and learning outcomes.
Our work uses a mixed-methods approach to examine children’s activity at the group level, by characterizing the behavioral milestones –or early learning standards- evidenced during their interactions with teachers peers and materials across five domains of child development: Physical Health, Well-Being, and Motor Development Domain; Social-Emotional Development; Approaches Towards Learning; Cognition and General Knowledge; Language, Literacy and Communication. The distribution and diversity of standards serve as indicators of program success. We have applied this approach to measuring program quality in an array of learning environments.
Most recently, we utilized this approach in conjunction with an established measure of classroom quality. We hypothesized that when the quality of teacher-child interactions was higher children’s group activity would be more diverse. The direction of this relationship seems to be an implicit assumption in quality improvement efforts. However, we found a negative relationship suggesting that one of the functions of pedagogy may be to direct and focus children’s activity (Bonawitz et al., 2010). We present a mixed-methods analysis that triangulates quantitative measures with qualitative field note descriptions of teacher-child interactions to examine the dynamics underlying different classroom profiles.
Our work contributes to research on early learning assessment by offering a means of: (1) introducing standards in a way that allows teachers to have a choice in which standards they select, (2) examining program quality that does not require assessing individual children, (3) tracking the relative contributions of teachers and children to classroom activity, and (4) examining the distribution of different types of developmental activity across and within five different domains of child development. We present data comparing children’s group activity across different types of learning environments and examine the relative contributions of various supports on children’s activity in different domains. The discussion will focus on how educators can improve their work with young children, the important balance between teacher scaffolding and children’s self-guided learning and how this differs across environments.
@InProceedings{FELDMAN2013MEA,
author = {Feldman, E. and Joseph, G.},
title = {MEASURING CREATIVE OUTLETS: USING CHILDREN’S COLLECTIVE ACTIVITY TO MEASURE THE EFFICACY OF FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {6335-6344}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. Feldman AU - G. Joseph
TI - MEASURING CREATIVE OUTLETS: USING CHILDREN’S COLLECTIVE ACTIVITY TO MEASURE THE EFFICACY OF FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 6335
EP - 6344
ER -
E. Feldman, G. Joseph (2013) MEASURING CREATIVE OUTLETS: USING CHILDREN’S COLLECTIVE ACTIVITY TO MEASURE THE EFFICACY OF FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, pp. 6335-6344.
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