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Partnering to encourage transfer of learning: Providing professional development follow-up supports to Head Start teachers

A randomized-controlled field trial evaluated the effectiveness of two interventions, training supplemented with peer coaching and training supplemented with on-site consultation, to promote the transfer of learning from the workshop to the classroom. Specifically, the study investigated the impact of follow-up professional development strategies on teacher and child behaviors following professional development sessions on the topic of child social and emotional competence. All teachers attended a series of three professional development trainings and teachers were randomly selected to participate in the control group or one of two treatment groups. Participants in the control group received no follow-up activities following the trainings. Participants in the peer support treatment group worked with peers to develop take-home action plans, provided verbal consultation to their co-workers in the classroom environment following training modules, and met with a peer group to discuss the successes and barriers to action plan implementation. Participants in the consultant support treatment group received assistance from the trainer in creating take-home action plans, received one on-site visit and one phone call from the trainer following each training module, and met with the trainer to discuss successes and barriers to action plan implementation. Professional development outcomes were evaluated using a multi-level model. Evaluation methods measured (a) participant reaction, (b) teacher learning, (c) teacher behavior change, (d) child behavior change, (e) teacher belief change, and (f) organizational variables affecting implementation. Changes in teacher knowledge, teacher attitude, teacher behavior, and child behavior were measured for 18 Head Start staff and 50 students. Descriptive statistics indicate that participants in both follow-up support groups demonstrated a greater increase in use of teaching strategies associated with child social and emotional competence than participants in the control group. Descriptive statistics also indicate that the teachers in the control group reported the greatest decrease in child problem behavior. Neither of these findings were statistically significant within study parameters. Limitations of the study included participant sample size, timing and duration of the study, and measures used. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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