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A new look at teacher interactional quality: Profiles of individual teacher–child relationship and classroom teaching quality among Head Start students


Preschool teachers’ relationships with children are a critical component of classroom quality. We draw from a sample of N = 2,114 children attending Head Start to examine child-centered profiles of experiences across two dimensions of classroom interaction quality that are often considered separately: individual teacher–child closeness and conflict, and classroom-level instructional and emotional support. Findings reveal considerable heterogeneity in Head Start children’s experiences, as the profiles differed on individual conflict, and classroom emotional and instructional support. The largest profile was characterized by a positive emotional climate and low instructional support. Higher teacher distress was associated with the highest-quality and the highest conflict profiles. The results also revealed early evidence for gender and race and ethnicity-based disadvantages in Head Start classroom experiences. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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