ERG SES C 03, Interactive Poster Session
Interactive Poster Session
International as well as national policies in Sweden accentuate the individual child’s right to education and being part of an inclusive learning environment which emphasize on supporting and meeting the child’s needs (e.g. UNESCO, 1994; Unicef, 1989; The National Agency for Special needs Education, 2018). Different aspects of inclusion and implementing accessible learning environments are of international interest, hence this proposal fits the call of Network 27, On the Collaboration Between Researchers and teachers in Didactical Research.
Previous research including systematic reviews on effective interventions for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) shows that there is lack of strong evidence based interventions, yet not equal to ineffective interventions or of less practical value in the field (Law et al, 2012 ). Traditionally interventions are conducted in an individual clinical setting, which can have implications for effects of generalization, hence there is need of research in dynamic environments which school settings can provide (Lane & Brown, 2016). This calls for an intervention studying supportiveness of children’s verbal communication to generate accessible education for all children, and specifically children in SLCN.
For this study supporting communication strategies are defined as methods or tools which teachers can use in their classroom teaching to enhance children’s engagement in being verbally interactive with peers and teachers. This is described in The supporting communication classrooms observation tool (CSCOT, Dockrell et al ., 2012) as a result of a systematic review on evidence for what is characterized as being key elements to support communication in the school environment. Three overall dimensions with subcomponents emerged. For this study the dimension of Language Learning Interaction and its subcomponents are of particular interest. This dimension includes key components related to how teachers talk with children in the classroom setting. Examples of such key components are: using open-ended questions, extending child’s talk and pausing to encourage turn-taking and active participation.
The overall aim is to study effects of implementing an intervention focusing on teachers’ professional development in using supporting communication strategies in the classroom to provide accessible education for primary school children.
1) To what extent do teachers use supporting communication strategies when teaching, and is there a significant difference between experimental and control groups?
2) To what extent can an intervention on professional development increase the use of supporting communication strategies in teaching?
3) Will the children enhance verbal language development when being provided support in communication by teachers and is there a significant difference between experimental and control groups?
4) How can participating teachers increase awareness of identifying children at-risk for developing verbal language disabilities?
5) What do participating teachers perceive that supporting communication strategies contributes to in their teaching?
6) Are the results from the intervention sustainable at a follow-up measurement and are there significant differences between experimental and control groups?
The study’s approach has a conceptual framework, which discusses outcomes of change in teachers’ professional development. The study is aiming for practice close research between participant teachers and researcher, where the process of observation, feedback and coaching is in focus for the intervention. The teachers’ own reflections of their workforce development are crucial to the outcomes.
Additionally, a Response to Intervention (RTI) model will serve as a framework discussing children’s differential needs in education on three tiers. The RTI model is often visualized as a pyramid where Tier 1 provides universal high quality teaching for all children. Tier 2 targets a selected group of children at-risk and Tier 3 targeting children at high-risk and need of individualized specialist support. In this study Tier 1 and 2 are of focus for the intervention.
A mixed-method case study approach in a quasi-experimental design is applied to collect data for the intervention. The population is a convenience sample of four teachers and their respective class including approximately 100-120 children in 2nd grade in Swedish primary school. The participant teachers are randomized in experimental groups (n=2) and control groups (n=2) matched on teachers’ educational background and on group size for the children. A 12-week intervention targeting teachers’ professional development includes the following: • Pre-test – a questionnaire using Likert scale measuring on general knowledge about supporting communication strategies. • Video observation and in addition the observational instrument CSCOT plus field notes in classroom and small group teaching at four occasions during intervention. Observations are carried out every 3rd week during lessons 2x60 minutes. • Feedback and coaching in direct connection to observation for 60 minutes each occasion. • Post-test – questionnaire using Likert scale measuring teachers specific knowledge about supporting communication strategies and own experiences of professional development in the intervention. • A 2-months follow-up using observation and/or a questionnaire. Potential outcomes for participant children are expressive verbal language development measured by linguistic quantity and quality in number of words (NW), number of different words (NDW), mean length utterances (MLU) and number/type of questions. As the observation on participant teachers aims for classroom teaching on levels both for whole and small group, participating children are assessed with Children’s Communication Checklist (Bishop, 2012) defining children at risk-zone for developing language disability connected to oral skills. These children are of specific interest in the small group observation. How will their verbal language develop compared to more typically verbal language developing children? Quantitative and qualitative analysis on the collected data are completed in The TalkBank system (MacWhinney, 1999-2004) and in CSCOT (Dockrell et al., 2012). The TalkBank system is an open-source for analyzing spoken communication in free computer programs. The present study is an intervention study part of a doctoral student essay where no extra resources are added to the intervention project, thus the PhD student is alone responsible for carrying out the implementation of the intervention. Hence, for pragmatic reasons the sample is rather small, but weighed up by high frequency of observations and a large amount of collected data.
All children are entitled to high quality education and this is crucial for children who are in some kind of special educational needs. School systems all over the world emphasize the importance of inclusive schools, which put high demands on teachers offering an accessible learning environment in their everyday classroom teaching. For this teachers need explicit methods and tools based on research and evidence based practice. With my present study I am interested to investigate if teachers can increase professional development on opening up for a more accessible classroom focusing on strategies for supporting spoken communication with all children, specifically children in SLCN. The ambition is to use a practice close pragmatic approach optimizing for positive outcomes of the intervention. Expected primary outcomes for the present study are mainly two: 1) Positive change in teachers’ professional development regarding everyday use of supporting communication strategies aiming for an accessible learning environment for all children, specifically for children in SLCN. 2) Positive change in children’s expressive verbal language development measuring number of words being used (NW), number of different words (NDW), mean length utterances (MLU), and number of and type of questions. A third, and additional, secondary outcome could be spill over effects on children’s self confidence, especially children in SLCN who might experience lack of school academic confidence as they struggle with verbal language. The intervention could have positive effect on children daring to speak more in the classroom environment interacting with peers and adults (i.e. teachers).
References: Bishop, D. (2012). Children’s Communication Checklist – Second Edition. CCC-2 Manual. Pearson Education Ltd. Dockrell, J., Bakopoulou, I., Law, J., Spencer, S., Lindsay, G. (2012). Developing a communication supporting classrooms observation tool. Research Report DFE-RR247-BCRP8. Department for Education. Lane, J.D., Brown, J.A. (2016). Promoting Communication Development in Young Children with or at Risk for Disabilites. In: Reichow, B. et al. (eds.), Handbook of Early Childhood Special Education. Law, J., Lee, W., Lindsay, G., Roulstone, S., Wren, Y., Zeng, B. (2012). “What Works”: Interventions for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. Research Report DFE-RR247-BCRP10 Other references: Bishop, D.V.M, Snowling, M., Thompson, P:A, Greenhalgh, T. and the CATALISE-2 consortium. Phase 2 of CATALISE: a multinational and multidisciplinary Delphi consensus study of problems with language development: Terminology. The Journal of child Psychology and Psychiatry. 58:10, pp1068-1080. Dickinson, D.K., Porche, M.V. (2011). Relation Between Language Experiences in Preschool Classrooms and Children’s Kindergarten and Fourth-Grade Language and Reading Abilities. Child Development. Vol. 82, No. 3, pp. 870-886. Ebbels, S.H., McCartney, E., Slonims, V., Dockrell, J.E., Norbury, C.F. (2019). Evidence-based pathways to intervention for children with language disorders. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. Vol. 54, No. 1, 3-19. Markussen-Brown, J., Juhl, C.B., Piasta, S.B., Bleses, D., Højen, A., Justice, L.M. (2016). The effects of language- and literacy-focused professional development on early educators and children: A best-evidence meta-analysis. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 38, 97-115. Norbury, C.F., Gooch, D., Baird, G., Charman, T., Simonoff, E., Pickles, A. (2016). Younger children experience lower levels of language competence and academic progress in the first year of school: evidence from a population study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 57:1, pp.65-73. Waldmann, C., Sullivan, K.P. (2017). Att stödja barns språkliga utveckling:Miljöer, lärtillfällen och interaktioner i klassrum. In: Bendegard, S., Marttala Melander, U., Westman, M. (ed.), Språk och norm: Rapport från ASLA:s symposium, Uppsala universitet 21-22 april 2016 (pp.160-168). Uppsala: Uppsala universitet. ASLA:s skriftserie. Digital references: The National Agency for Special Needs Education https://www.spsm.se/om-oss/english/ https://en.unesco.org/ https://www.unicef.org/ https://talkbank.org/ https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130323073033/https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/Better_Communication.pdf https://www.unesco.se/?infomat=salamanca-deklarationen https://www.government.se/
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