Human Development and Child Studies

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    Preschool Teacher Practices And Beliefs About Digital Technology Use In Classrooms
    (2022-11-09) Claxton, Jill B; Wakabayashi, Tomoko; Oden, Sherri; Smith, Julia; Ricks-Doneen, Julie
    The focus of this dissertation centers around the beliefs that early educationteachers hold regarding the role digital technology plays in the learning and development of young children and how those beliefs are implemented in the classroom. Although there is some previous research on this topic not enough is known about digital technology beliefs and practices at the preschool level. Thus, the focus of this dissertation centers around including the "voices of preschool teachers." Using a mixed methods approach via survey and selected follow-up interviews, 100 preschool teachers expressed their beliefs and practices about digital technology use.Three groupings emerged; one group that favored using technology with young children, one group that favored technology use but with limitations, and a final group that did not see any benefit in using technology with young children. Preschool teachers also related the role technology may play in the learning and development of young children and levels of technology access. Almost all teachers reported that they had access to at least one electronic device; children's access, however, was much more limited. Lived experiences as teachers worked through the COVID-19 pandemic were also reported. Many teachers found that they were able to form better connections with parents and families via an electronic format, often at times that were more convenient for parents to talk. Teachers also reported learning how to use various types of digital technology during the COVID-19 pandemic and they reported continuing to implement what they had learned. Teachers' beliefs about technology use in classrooms by teacher demographics were tested to detect whether there were differences between the three belief groupings. The results indicated that when teachers received technology support they were more likely to have favorable beliefs about technology use.
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    Professional Development To Improve Parent-Child Interaction Observation For Early Intervention Home Visitors
    (2022-11-23) Mackrain, Mary Ann; Wakabayashi, Tomoko; Oden, Sherri; Graetz, Janet; Smith, Julia
    Children who experience positive and nurturing interactions with parents in infancy and early childhood develop healthy and secure attachments and are significantly better prepared to succeed in school (Connell & Prinz, 2002; Pianta et al., 1997). The absence of such care can lead to long-term physical and emotional health challenges such as anxiety and depression throughout life. Parents served by home visiting programs often include the most at-risk families who are struggling to meet their children’s most basic needs for food, housing, safety, and care, which can disrupt them from providing the positive interaction needed for children’s early relational health (Bernard et al., 2015). Early intervention home visitors can observe parent-child interaction and use the results to help families plan for and engage in positive interaction with their children. This mixed-methods study aimed to explore the impact of professional development activities on home visitors’ capacity and confidence in observing and addressing the quality of parent-child interaction within home settings as part of regular home visits.The Parent-Child Interaction Observation for Early Intervention Home Visitors pre- and post-assessments were distributed across six Michigan early intervention programs and completed by 13 of the 17 enrolled study participants pre and post. At post, additional open-ended satisfaction questions were added to the assessment and completed by thirteen participants. Several themes emerged through the mixed-methods study, including the importance of hands-on practice and feedback to warrant home visitors’ practice change, the critical need to leverage diverse learning opportunities to best support adult learners, and the importance of engaging early adopters who volunteer their time and have the will to participate.
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    Pediatric Nurse Practitioners' Developmental Screening Practices For Children Ages Birth To Three
    (2022-07-16) Schulte, Jeanne Marie; Ricks Doneen, Julie; Afonso, Nelia; Oden, Sherri; Wakabayashi, Tomoko
    Developmental screening is the process of using a validated screening tool to identify children at risk of delay. Studies have examined the developmental screening practices of pediatric primary care providers. However, no studies to date have explored the pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) perspective. The specific purpose of this study was to gain information about the developmental screening practices of PNPs. Furthermore, the study explored how perceptions of their knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding developmental screening may contribute to their screening behaviors. A qualitative grounded theory study was conducted using a purposive sampling of primary care pediatric nurse practitioners who care for young children. Six in-depth interviews were completed using a virtual platform. Strauss and Corbin's (1990, 2008) inductive approach to data analysis was used to code and interpret the data. A substantive theory of advancing screening competencies for young children's optimal development emerged from the data supported by six themes related to program and practice knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The themes included (1) developing awareness, (2) integrating connections, (3) taking an active role, (4) creating opportunities, (5) balancing learning expectations, vi and (6) understanding role and responsibilities. The PNPs in this study perceived that as they gain developmental screening experience, they continuously develop interrelated knowledge, skills, and attitude attributes, which contribute to advancing competencies and ultimately lead to more effective screening behaviors that support young children's optimal development. The PNPs in this study followed the American Academy of Pediatrics' developmental screening and surveillance guidelines for general and autism screening using standardized screening tools. They identified areas of program improvement related to developmental screening as additional preparation to work with diverse populations and increased opportunities to utilize the entire screening process. The study's PNPs identified current developmental screening facilitators as physicians, parents, and self-directed. They identified screening challenges as time, practice processes, and parents. The nurse practitioner workforce who care for young children is underrepresented in the literature. Additional research is needed to compare screening practices between pediatricians, family medicine physicians, and family and pediatric nurse practitioners to understand their screening practices and continue to improve developmental screening rates for young children.
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    (2022-03-25) Bishop, Melissa Ann; Wakabayashi, Tomoko; Ricks-Doneen, Julie; Oden, Sherri L; Shambleau, Krista; Carver, Cynthia
    For over 100 years, reading has been a critical topic of discussion in the educationfield. Theories have been developed and revised on how children learn to read and as more research was completed (Crawford, 1995). Literacy and reading scores around the United States have been low for over ten years. In 2019, only 32% of 4th graders nationwide have been proficient in reading (NCES, 2020). Many states have developed laws around reading proficiency targeted at reaching reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Including Michigan's, the Read by Grade Three Law (Act 306 of 2016: MCL380.1280f,2016). In Michigan, the Michigan Association of Intermediate School District Administrators in collaboration with early literacy experts created the Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy (MAISA, 2016a). One county in Michigan developed a literacy coaching program for prekindergarten teachers. This coaching program was the basis for this dissertation research that explores teacher and coach experiences in the program. This research was completed as a mixed-methods case study, using both quantitative and qualitative data sources. Surveys and interviews gathered perspectives of the coaches and teachers on coaching strategies that were effective for them. In addition, the perception of the quality of relationship between the coach and teacher was investigated. Coaching was completed virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and participants shared their experiences with navigating coaching, teaching, and using technology in new ways. Survey and interview data was analyzed using in-vivo coding to explore initial categories and then themes. The study describes a variety of coaching strategies that coaches and teachers found effective. I also compare the reported impact of an in person versus virtual coaching on teachers’ literacy practices. Constructive feedback was not only the strategy reported as used most often, but also it was perceived to have the most impact on teaching practices by both coaches and teachers. Teachers’ strong relationship with coaches affected their success; those reporting a stronger relationship also reached also their goals and gained new knowledge from the coaching program. Resources and difficulties faced varied for the teachers; these ranged from materials, budget, and available staff.
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    (2022-03-26) LeRoy, Adam; Bhargava, Ambika; Oden, Sherri; Niddifer, Jana; Lauer, Nick
    The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in wide disruptions to in-person schooling which have exacerbated conditions in the public-school system. While creating chaos in general, these disruptions have also affected the assessment of children and the delivery of instructional interventions, processes which are crucial to the implementation of Response to Intervention, in which children receive increased academic support at progressive tiers of intervention. The current study used a qualitative design aligned to the classic cultural-historical methods used by Vygotsky. Specifically, this study examined the experiences of Birth to 3-years-old and Kindergarten to Grade Three interventionists, who provided intervention to children during the pandemic. Nine participants, four Birth to 3-years-old interventionists and five Kindergarten to Grade Three interventionists, participated in a series of focus groups in which research questions were presented as tools for analysis. All sessions were audio and video recorded. The data were transcribed and analyzed using in-vivo codes, subcategories, dominant categories and themes.Five themes emerged from the data analysis. The first two themes related to alterations of service but remained distinct on the basis of whether the alteration was in relationship to a social need or of material necessity. The next two themes were primarily characterized by verbal responses that indicated emotions or feelings. The final theme was a distinct set of verbal responses about future orientation and characterized by concerns about educational practice and children’s experiences. The study’s findings capture how interventionists altered services for children during the pandemic, the experience of providing intervention during the pandemic and expectations about intervention in subsequent school years. The methodology developed for this study suggests the potential to align modern methods to classical cultural-historical methods. The data also reveal specific alterations that interventionists implemented, perspectives on their experience and concerns. These verbal responses serve as rich vignettes of the COVID-19 pandemic and have implications for District-level, and other public policy decisions. These findings underscore the importance of conducting studies within a methodological framework that emerges on a clear theoretical basis and may inform future research of Response toIntervention.