Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Positive interactions vital to pre-K learning

Date:
September 9, 2013
Source:
Vanderbilt University
Summary:
A new study shows young children improve self-regulation skills in classrooms where teachers exhibit approving behavior with a positive emotional tone.

Positive interactions in a pre-kindergarten classroom may be equally or more important to the future academic development of 4-year-olds than learning letters and numbers, according to Dale Farran, senior associate director of the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt's Peabody College for education and human development.

Farran is co-author with colleagues Mary Wagner Fuhs and Kimberly Turner Nesbitt of a new study showing that young children improve self-regulation skills in classrooms where teachers exhibit approving behavior with a positive emotional tone.

The article, "Preschool Classroom Processes as Predictors of Children's Cognitive Self-Regulation Skills Development," is scheduled for publication in an upcoming edition of School Psychology Quarterly.

"There are two take-away main points: First, there is a direct relationship between what goes on in classrooms and how much gain children make in self-regulation measures," Farran said. "We haven't known whether self-regulation was actually environmentally influenced or whether it just happened naturally with age. Second, these data show which experiences children have in 4-year-old classrooms that affect development of those particular skills."

The data came from more than 800 racially and ethnically diverse preschool children in 60 classrooms across five school systems in the Southeast using a variety of proven testing modalities. The research marks the first time empirical data have proved what many educators have believed to be true anecdotally: Children acquire better cognitive learning skills in a classroom infused with "positive affective interactions," Farran said.

Self-regulation skills, also called "executive functioning," are related to children's ability to control their effort, pay attention and stay on task. Lack of those skills creates adjustment problems and potentially impedes learning, according to Farran. Children in classrooms infused with more positive behaviors made gains not just in classroom regulation but also academically, she noted.

Learning the alphabet and numbers is more generally associated with kindergarten readiness, and most children can easily master those tasks. But many more children have trouble paying attention and remembering, or they have trouble persisting when something gets hard. "Oddly, a positive tone in the classroom does not just affect children's social development. The more positively welcoming classrooms are," she said, "the more children are going to learn in them."

The researchers hope their findings will encourage more professional development in this area. One of the behaviors observed was "behavior disapproval" or signaling to a child that despite what he or she has chosen to do, the teacher wants the child doing something different. Although this teacher behavior can be delivered quite positively, the more behavior disapproval, the less gain children made in self-regulaton.

"Reducing disapproval and increasing approval are work for the teacher," Farran said. "The teacher must anticipate what's coming up and not redirect after the fact. It's a more subtle kind of planning that takes a lot of skill on the part of teachers."

But it's well worth the effort, she adds: "Pre-K classrooms ought to be a place where people enjoy learning together."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University. The original article was written by Jennifer Johnston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fuhs MW, Farran DC, Nesbitt KT. Preschool Classroom Processes as Predictors of Children's Cognitive Self-Regulation Skills Development. Sch Psychol Q., 2013 Jul 29

Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University. "Positive interactions vital to pre-K learning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909130944.htm>.
Vanderbilt University. (2013, September 9). Positive interactions vital to pre-K learning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909130944.htm
Vanderbilt University. "Positive interactions vital to pre-K learning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909130944.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins