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IES Grant

Title: Promoting Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence in Young High-Risk Children: A Preventative Classroom-Based Early Intervention Model
Center: NCSER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Conroy, Maureen Awardee: Virginia Commonwealth University
Program: Social and Behavioral Outcomes to Support Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5/1/2008 to 4/30/2011 Award Amount: $1,500,000
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A080074
Description:

Purpose: Approximately 7 to 25 percent of young preschool-aged children are reported to engage in behavior that reflects emotional/behavioral disorders. The early onset of behavior problems strongly predicts later problem behaviors in elementary and middle school, which significantly disrupt the classroom learning environment. Existing strategies to address these early problem behaviors in preschool settings are limited because they do not target classroom factors such as interactions between teachers and students or communication between teachers and childrenís caregivers. In this project, a preventative classroom-based intervention that targets problem behaviors will be developed and evaluated for feasibility of implementation by preschool teachers. The intervention combines the theoretical frameworks of behavioral principles embedded in reciprocal social transactions and an ecological framework for development.

Project Activities: The model will be developed and pilot tested with preschool teachers and children identified as being at high risk for emotional/behavioral disorders. This data will be used to inform the development process, to evaluate feasibility and usability of the intervention in preschool classrooms, and to determine whether the intervention shows promise for ameliorating early forms of problem behaviors in preschoolers.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed classroom-based intervention that targets problem behaviors of young children at high risk for or with emotional/behavioral disorders, published reports, and presentations.

Setting: The participating preschools are located in Virginia.

Population: Sixty preschool teachers with at least a bachelorís degree in education and current teacher certification, and 120 children three to five years of age who have been identified as being at high-risk for emotional/behavioral disorders and who have average or greater cognitive abilities.

Intervention: A preventative classroom-based intervention that targets problem behaviors will be developed and evaluated for feasibility of implementation by preschool teachers. The intervention combines the theoretical frameworks of behavioral principles embedded in reciprocal social transactions and an ecological framework for development. The intervention targets teacher-student interactions and home-school communication as critical features of a successful learning environment for children with emotional/behavioral disorders. The theoretical model underlying the intervention addresses (a) behavioral principles of reinforcement and antecedent stimuli, (b) the transactional, or reciprocal, nature of interactions between teachers and students, and (c) the ecological systems that impact developmental outcomes for young children, most importantly the family and the preschool classroom.

Research Designs and Methods: A formative evaluation guided by the theoretical modelís critical features (behaviorist principles, social transactional processes, and ecological systems of development) and pre- and post-data on teachers and students will be used for the iterative development process.

Key Measures: Implementation fidelity will be assessed using measures of adherence, quality, and dosage. Teachersí general classroom management skills, feelings of burnout and perceived self-efficacy will be measured to explore their potential role as moderators of implementation fidelity and sustainability. The social validity of the intervention, including its perceived acceptability and usefulness to the teachers, will be measured. Observations and parent and teacher reports will be used to measure childrenís social, emotional, and behavioral competence, and other developmental and pre-academic skills, to inform the iterative development process.

Data Analytic Strategy: Quantitative analyses of the teacher and child variables using repeated measures ANOVA and ANCOVA will be used to determine pre- to post-implementation differences on the teacher and child variables and to identify factors associated with successful implementation. Qualitative pattern analysis of teacher reports will be used to identify common themes related to training and implementation issues, typical problem situations in the classroom, and supports and barriers to implementation.

Control Condition: Due to the nature of the research, there is no control condition.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Conroy, M., Sutherland, K.S., Haydon, T., Stormont, M., and Harmon, J. (2009). Preventing and Ameliorating Young Children's Chronic Problem Behaviors: An Ecological Classroom-Based Approach. Psychology in the Schools, 46(1): 3–17. doi:10.1002/pits.20350

Conroy, M., Sutherland, K.S., Snyder, A., and Marsh, S. (2008). Class-Wide Interventions: Effective Instruction Makes a Difference. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40(6): 24–30 . doi:10.1177/004005990804000603

Conroy, M., Sutherland, K.S., Snyder, A.L., Al-Hendawi, M., and Vo, A. (2009). Creating a Positive Classroom Atmosphere: Teacher's Use of Effective Praise and Feedback. Beyond Behavior, 18(2): 18–26.

Conroy, M.A., and Sutherland, K.S. (2012). Effective Teachers for Students With Emotional/Behavioral Disorders: Active Ingredients Leading to Positive Teachers and Student Outcomes. Beyond Behavior, 22(1): 7–13.

Sutherland, K.S., Conroy, M., Abrams, L., and Vo, A. (2010). Improving Interactions Between Teachers and Young Children With Problem Behavior: A Strengths-Based Approach. Exceptionality, 18(2): 70–81. doi:10.1080/09362831003673101

Vo, A., Sutherland, K.S., and Conroy, M.A. (2012). Best in Class: A Classroom-Based Model for Ameliorating Problem Behavior in Early Childhood Settings. Psychology in the Schools, 49(5): 402–415. doi:10.1002/pits.21609


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