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A pilot study of a micro-course to promote positive teaching practices and prevent exclusionary discipline in early childhood

Description:

The past two decades of research have underscored the concerning use of exclusionary discipline in early childhood education settings and the need for professional development to support educators to use evidence-based practices. Existing professional development, such as coaching and infant/early childhood mental health consultation, are effective but pose implementation challenges due to time and resource demands. The need for scalable, cost-effective professional development that focuses on social and emotional development and challenging behavior is higher than ever. Short, online, self-paced courses (what we refer to as “micro-courses”) are one approach to addressing these challenges. In this paper, we examine initial evidence for how a micro-course can support in-service early childhood educators to learn and use evidence-based universal strategies to support positive behavior, which may indirectly reduce exclusionary discipline. We leverage quantitative and qualitative data from 25 educators who piloted the course in spring 2022 to report on early childhood educators’ engagement and satisfaction with the micro-course and whether educators report any changes in their knowledge or practices. We found that early childhood educators actively participated in the micro-course, found the experience useful and relevant, and reported changes in their knowledge of and comfort with positive behavior support practices as a result of participation. This study can inform future policy, practice, and research efforts to equitably support children's positive behavior, prevent challenging behavior, and eliminate exclusion in early childhood settings. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
Country:
United States

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