Talking about emotions with their caregivers help young children develop emotional competence, and is particularly beneficial for children who display elevated externalizing behaviors. However, prior descriptive work has shown that teacher-child emotion talk in preschool classrooms is scarce. As children are spending increasing amounts of time in preschool programs, there is value in understanding the factors associated with teacher-child emotion talk for supporting these types of interactions. In this study, child and teacher factors associated with teacher-child emotion talk frequency were examined. Participants included 183 preschool teachers and 470 children rated by their teachers as displaying elevated externalizing behaviors in a mix of federally funded (Head Start), state funded, and private preschool programs within two eastern states in the United States. Emotion talk frequency was observed in the context of a standardized, dyadic teacher-child storybook reading task. Results from a multilevel model showed that emotion talk frequency was primarily explained by differences between teachers. Particularly, teachers talked with children about emotions more often when they (1) held an early childhood major and (2) were observed to engage in more responsive teaching. (author abstract)
Teacher and child factors associated with emotion talk between teachers and preschoolers displaying elevated externalizing behaviors
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