Monday, May 11, 2009

What to Study

A colleague of mine was pondering what research question to ask next, which got me thinking about what I believe really needs to to be tackled.

If I were my colleague, I’d be curious about the actual amount of intervention children get—what we sometimes call the dosage question. Usually, this is measured in terms of the amount of time a child attends a program, but I’m interested in (a) how much intervention, typical or compensatory, does a child get from his natural caregivers and (b) how much program time is actually what Fisher, Berliner, et al. called “academic learning time” or true instruction. Part of my question is a political one: I simply don’t believe that only professional time counts. And I believe that a lot of professional time is incomplete teaching.

So what? First, if we could measure what children get from natural caregivers, we could count this as a buffer or asset that the child has. Second, if we could show that complete incidental teaching (setting up an engaging environment, following the child’s lead, eliciting elaboration, and ensuring there’s a consequence) is better than incomplete incidental teaching, which is better than nonelaborative responses, which is better than nonresponsive directives, we’d know more about the whole package of interventions children get and need.


Sonia Pina said...

This is very interesting what you are questioning, because many children spent a lot of time with their caregivers. They have daily routines and experiences that can be beneficial to the child. On the other hand we can always question the relationship that the caregiver has with the child? Is the caregiver a person that response to the child needs? or is it a person that lets the TV do all the work? I believe that questioning the quality relationship that caregiver or the teacher offered should be study?

j kogler said...

It would be great to know what happens in the home when we are not there . I would like to think that the early interventio we provide is having an impact on the family. As service providers we need to remember that what we do needs to be something that the family can handle on their own. When I leave a home I try to review with the caregiver what we worked on and what they can try during the week . Then when I return I ask how it went, this gives me informal data regarding what will work for the family. It is not valid research but it helps on an individual scale.

Courtney Redfern said...

I think this article is very interesting but I do work in a intervention program which is very child focused and center-based . I really do feel that they follow the lead of the child, take in parent input, and have activities that are age appropriate and that the children engage themselves in. I too would really like to know what happens within the home when the parent is only with the child> I know it is always great to have the services providers perspective when there in the home, and they you have the center-based perspective. But i am always interested to see the child alone in the natural environment and there behaviors. i find that children act very different when they are in a comfortable setting.
Courtney Redfern

Tina said...

This point is extremely interesting. I have found that parents are not always accurate reporters so I am never sure what actually goes on inside the home. I am an Early Childhood Special Education preschool teacher and in all fairness, I only see each child for a few hours a day. I perform home visits, but not as often as I would like. It is not fair to question the quality of the time the caregiver and child spend together but instead, we should create more opportunities for home visits. This could model great learning intervention the parents. The more a caregiver can witness great ways to work with their child, the more I think that the techniques they see will spill over into their own family lives thus creating a richer experience for the child.

Brenda Moreno said...

As we know early intervention makes a difference in a child's development. The success of the child does not necessarily depend on the credentials or licenses the caregiver/ teacher holds. It is the quality of services the child receives that makes the difference. If the caregiver/teacher provides an environment where incidental learning can take place throughout, then that adult is doing his/her job. The amount of time should not be as important as the quality of services provided. Unfortunately, many early interventionists do a great job at the centers/clinics with the children but this is not carried over to the homes.
My question is:
Aside from home visits, coaching, and modeling, what are other strategies that can be used to get families to transfer what is being taught in the centers/clinics over to their homes?

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