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Symposium II/6 Teachers’ Practice: Interaction with Children. Well-being and Involvement as a Key Element in a Scottish National Study on Children's Behaviour from the Ages of 0-6 Aline-Wendy Dunlop on behalf of the +ve Behaviour Project Team.
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Symposium II/6 Teachers’ Practice: Interaction with Children Well-being and Involvement as a Key Element in a Scottish National Study on Children's Behaviour from the Ages of 0-6 Aline-Wendy Dunlop on behalf of the +ve Behaviour Project Team
Positive Behaviour in the Early YearsPerceptions of staff, service providers and parents in managing and promoting positive behaviour in early years and early primary settings
A collaboration • The Scottish Executive: - Pupil Support and Inclusion Division - Early Education and Childcare Division & • Council Area A • Council Area B • The University of Strathclyde • A funded project through competitive bid
At a Glance 1Wellbeing in a Societal Context • Demography • The proportion of children in the UK population has decreased from 25% in 1976 to 20% in 2002 • In 2001, nearly 1 in 4 dependent children under 16 had experienced the divorce of their parents • Poverty • Child poverty rates have been declining since 1999/2000 • In 2002/03 28% percent of children in Britain were still living in poverty • The UK continues to have the highest proportion of its children living in workless families in the EU • Bradshaw & Mayhew (2005)
At a Glance 2Wellbeing in a Societal Context • Education • Number of day care nursery places increased • School exclusion rates increased – with higher rates of school exclusions reported for children from low income households • Housing • Overall and across UK housing conditions improving • Low income and ethnic minority households more likely to live in poor housing • Health • UK has one of highest prevalence rates of asthma in the world • Infant mortality rate and sudden infant deaths is declining Bradshaw & Mayhew (2005)
Sharing the Project • Perceptions of Positive Behaviour • Context of study • Methods - pilot and main study • A focus on Well-being and Involvement • Possible ways of looking at impact • What we might like to do next (eg use of data in teaching; work with students; impact of dissemination; an intervention study)
Perceptions of Positive Behaviour • Children’s behaviour invites the attention of their parents and attracts the interest of education professionals. • a focus on positive behaviour in young children allows us to establish both the evidence on perceptions of positive as well as on disruptive or negative behaviours. • Contemporary public debate, discussion in the media - suggests a deterioration in standards of behaviour. • Challenging behaviour as a relative concept
Context of the study • As part of a high profile policy on school discipline - • The Scottish Executive wished to explore the nature of provision and the experience of practitioners inearly years settings, in the age range 0-6, in relation to children’s behaviour • The emphasis specified to be on positive behaviour • Additionally - • To take account of relevant family factors and circumstances • To investigate strategies used by parents, practitioners and service providers to manage behaviour and promote pro - social behaviour, • To establish the extent to which practitioners feel skilled and prepared
Research Questions • What is the extent and nature of behaviour difficulties among children in early years and early primary settings? • What strategies do parents, practitioners and service providers use to manage behaviour and promote pro - social behaviour? • What practices can be identified by staff and parents as successful, in relation to supporting transitions from nursery/pre-school to school? • What effective approaches to training and support can be identified for staff in early years settings?
Well-being and involvement as key elements • The study design, in taking a positive approach to young children’s behaviour, used the Leuven Well-being and Involvement Scales to gain insights into day-to-day behaviour in group day settings for children 0-6. • This presentation focuses on the aims of the study, the methods, and the approaches used with participating practitioners, and shows how feedback gathered in response to the piloting of research instruments influenced decisions to scaffold their use of the Leuven Scales. • Forty-four settings were approached with the aim of gathering data on adult perceptions of the behaviour of approximately 2,000 children. • Staff from all participating early childhood settings were introduced to the ‘Process-oriented Child Monitoring System’ through an introductory full day conference in collaboration with the Centre for Experiential Education, and were offered follow up training in a local centre or in their own workplace. • Two rounds of well-being and involvement screening were undertaken four months apart. • The presentation provides a rationale for using the Leuven Scales, and describes anecdotally the way in which the concepts of well-being and involvement had an impact on the practitioners involved. • The process of the study confirm both the concepts of well-being and involvement, and the use of the scales by staff trained in their use, as helpful in addressing quality issues in both pre-school and early primary settings, and therefore as central elements in this study.
Researching Interactively • The project team aimed to stimulate practitioners ideas about behaviour in the children in their charge, by - • Asking about perceptions of behaviour in children • Acknowledging the interactive nature of development • Working in a scaffolded way, acknowledging staff perceptions and present understanding • Creating zones of proximal development through training sessions • Reflecting together on their practices
Methods - The Pilot Study • 5 settings in 2 Local Authorities - Nursery Centre (0-3 / 3-4); Primary School and Nursery Class (4-5 / P1); Child & Family Centre (0-3) ; Child Care (3-4); Primary School (4-5 / P1)
Strand A- Practitioner Pack: Project Leaflet Consent Form Return Envelope Consent Form Goodman's Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Adult Strategies Questionnaire Sample of Leuven Involvement Scale - Young Children; Process Oriented Monitoring System Transition Questionnaire (P1) Return Envelope for Instruments Strand B- Parent Pack: Project Leaflet Consent Form Return Envelope Consent Form Goodman's Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Parenting Daily Hassles Scale Adult Strategies Questionnaire Transition Questionnaire (P1) Return Envelope for Instruments The Pilot Procedure
Set of Guidance on Instruments for Practitioners Process Oriented Monitoring Scale (POMS) / Leuven Involvement Scale (LIS) • Wellbeing and involvement are highly indicative of quality in education. • The level of well-being in children indicates how they are developing emotionally. Children who are in a state of well-being, feel like ‘fish in water’. • Involvement means that a child is intensely engaged in an activity. • Please screen the children in your group by observing his/her levels of wellbeing and involvement. Use the whole-class screening forms to note down your observations.
Feedback on the Pilot Questions asked: 1. How did you find the questionnaires? 2. Was it easy to do? 3. How long did it take you? 4. Would you like anything to change? Was there anything missed out? 5. What did you think of the wording? Could we have said anything in a better, clearer way?
Ask for contextual information on parents Ask for information on additional support needs Good to reflect more on children’s behaviours Need to facilitate completion of measures by parents in some cases Some minor changes to wording in non-standard measures - eg the transition questionnaire titles Feedback from the pilot
Feedback on using the Leuven Scales Practitioners felt observing both aspects properly is lengthy. eg. 27 3-4 year olds were observed and it took them about 2 hours to do this- time was a big issue. It was found difficult to assign a level to both aspects; Whole-Class Screening Form 1B was used. Needed to look at meaning of Involvement concept first. It was good to discuss screening afterwards with all key workers, to share views and also for trainee Nursery Nurse who gained and learnt a lot from the discussion that took place (N).
Methods main study- socio-economic status Of the 41 settings - • 25 were in areas of high social deprivation, • 11 were in the medium range, • 6 settings in areas of low social deprivation. • Data source - the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (2004), Scottish Executive National Statistics publication (2005).
Area A 18 settings. 5 Primary schools, one of them being an independent school. Area B 23 Settings 11 Primary schools, 6 with an associated nursery class. Method - Early Childhood Settings (n=41)
Scaffolding practitioners’ use of the Leuven Scales. • The day conferences • The follow up training days • Training in the participating settings • Exploring concepts of well-being and involvement in a Scottish Context • Observation skills, optimum development (ZPD), play as a source of information…. • The scales in use across the age range- 0-6 years
The training process • Staff take a positive view of children’s well-being and involvement • They were able to use the whole range of possible scores - from ? through to Level 5 • During training they found themselves cautious and tended towards scores of 3 + or 3- • Discussion with colleagues was very helpful in firming up tentative responses • By the end of training sessions almost all participants felt confident • Within a month many requested ‘top-up’ training • The team used local video and the Centre for experiential Education videos, so that a balance was struck between experienced use and cultural relevance.
Case Studies • 18 (9 boys and 9 girls) • In parallel parents attending the focus group discussions in the case study settings were asked to complete the Process Oriented Child Monitoring System (POMS 2.2) (Laevers et al) to give an overall well-being score and also • a score in four relational fields of well-being: relationships with the teacher/early educator, relationships with other children, relationships within their play, class and school world, relationships with members of the family and close friends.
Case Studies • All eight case study settings had taken part in the first phase of the project and had received training in the use of the Well-being and Involvement Scales. After a period of day-to-day practice during which settings were asked to take a particular observational focus on these two dimensions, staff completed a whole class monitoring sheet summarising the well-being and involvement of children in the class. • Well being is defined as when children’s basic needs are met, for tenderness & affection, • security and clarity, social recognition, feeling competent, physical needs and to develop a strong sense of meaning in life…. through interaction. • 7 of 8 case study settings completed on well-being and involvement (Round 1-n=320; Round 2 - n=310)
Repeating the measures • 4 month interval • Can there be change over time in children’s well-being and involvement? • Conversations about the impact on practices generated by a growing understanding of the importance of well-being and involvement • A desire to ‘intervene’
Planned analysis • Comparison of levels of well-being and involvement at 2 points in time • Levels of well-being by age and setting • Levels of involvement by age and setting • Relationships between levels of well-being and levels of involvement • Relationships between well-being and involvement and other factors - for example levels of deprivation, age of parents, quality of the learning environment, behaviours perceived to cause concern, adult strategies, transitions
Taking action • The training on emotional well-being was seen as brilliant and the staff use techniques from ' the Laevers’ ‘Box of feelings' which had been purchased by the Council. The 'feelings/ emotional barometer' is used by all children and the Family Support Worker uses ‘smileys’ to bring out feelings. This was seen as a new and positive change. ' We are asking the children about their feelings, how they feel about things, we never used to concentrate on their feelings, just how they behaved.’ • Staff also used photographs to explore feelings and 'persona dolls' were beginning to be used. Explore actions causing reactions. The key for changes in behaviour was seen as links with the parents and good communication. Staff have a very good relationship with most parents but there are 'hard-to-reach' parents with children who are perceived as most vulnerable.
Questioning the data • How might staff feel if they had identified high/low levels of well-being and involvement in their setting? • What action might they wish to take? • The constraints that perceptions research might impose • The desire to intervene - POMS (n = 18)- overall well-being, relationship with teacherearly educator, relationships with other children, relationships within their play, class and school world, relationships with members of the family and close friends., linking to the “Intervening Early Schedule”(n=25) - emerging sense of self, self in relation to the early years setting, feelings, relationships with adults, relationships with children • Future research