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“Child engagement in the transition to school: Contributions of self-regulation, teacher-children relationships and classroom climate”.
Research paradigm (Introduction and literature review)
Research paradigm used in this research article is critical as we analysed three perspectives. Firstly, attitude of children was being studied or analysed who were under observation; secondly, parents were analysed as questionnaires were given to them so that researchers could know more about their background. Impact of parent’s background on the development and behaviour of children cannot be denied. Thirdly, grading of teachers has been analysed as they rate children by observing their behaviour and engagement in class activities. It has been seen that teachers have graded children on relative bases as there were many children that they have to observe. So it could be said, critical research paradigm has been used in this research article as there are pieces of evidence that show critical evaluation of children and parents, done by teachers (Cadima,et,al,2015). This research is also presenting a philosophical view of the world as there has been witnessed, involvement of one of the main branches of philosophy known as ontology.
Ontology is the study of being; study of children asserts that it is presenting a philosophical view in which researchers have been concerned with basic realities of nature such as impact of background of parents on children. Nature of human being is also one of aspects that could be seen in this research that has been depicted by the natural behaviour of children who were not focused on behaving in certain manners instead they were provided with natural setting of classrooms for observing their behavioural engagement. Pianta and Rimm-Kaufman have suggested that how vigilantly children would be coping with the changes that are linked with their behavioural engagement in schools. Reschly and Christenson have argued that behaviour engagement is necessary for the successful participation of children in their schools along with their identification in school.
Project aim (Critical analysis)
One of the main aims of the study is to examine how characteristics of child under various contextual factors of classroom, such as quality of teacher-student relation and organization of the classroom are going to play their role in the prediction of behavioral engagement of children in kindergarten and first grade that could be view as fundamental stage of the academic learning (Downer,et,al,2007). This research was done for knowing how the engagement of children in classroom activities would help them in their future academics years. Another primary purpose of this study is to examine how far behavioural engagement would show stability across of kindergarten and grade-first. Critically, it could be said that this research was conducted for knowing the involvement of children in classroom and their progress during the transition period. Critically, it could be said that this research was done for knowing the impact of various surrounding factors that are usually ignored but after this study it has been seen that surrounding of the students and way they are treated defined their future behaviour.
Key research questions
Q.1 Does behavioural engagement of a child help in the development of his social-emotional domains?
Q.2 Is class participation of a child a tool of behavioural assessment?
Q.3 What is the impact of low education of mothers on the inhibitory control of child?
Q.4 What would be the impact of teacher-child conflict on the behavioural engagement of child?
In this research article, researchers have used various methods for checking behavioural engagement of children during the transition period at school where they get their primary academic education. There is utilisation of three types of methods for collecting required information such as questionnaire, rating by making reports and observations. Researchers were there for observating, self-regulation, inhibitory control, teacher-child relationship and impact of behavioural engagement of child in classroom climate.
First of all, parents were being given questionnaires, and they were interviewed as well for knowing the background of children and their parents. It was essential to have knowledge about the background of children's parents who were participating in this research as they would have strong impact on the grooming and behaviour of a child that he/she would show throughout his/her life (Cannella,et,al,1997). Parents were given questionnaires that they had to fill about their demographic background that included many questions such as names, education of mothers, and the gender of the child along with age. Data for this research was collected in two wave forms as it was collected once in the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year.
Teachers had to make reports about the behavioural engagement of children as per their observation that they took during their classes. Teachers were keenly observing each child how he/she were engaging in classroom activities and what sort of attachment children were having. Teachers were also having a look whether a child had any conflict with teacher or not. It is a fact that environment in which children spend initial years of their life significantly cast impacts on them for long times. Teachers were also given questionnaires that they filled for the researchers, so that the researchers could have most accurate results. Most importantly, researchers were directly observing children. Critically, it could be said that the researchers were directly having an eye on the participants when they checking behaviour of each child through camera.
In the study, the participants selected were children, kindergarten and teachers who used to teach students of kindergarten and first-grade. Parents were also participants of this research as they filled questionnaires for their demographic background. In total 145 children participated in this research, 75 were girls and boys were 70 in numbers. On average, age of selected participants was six years and two years. Classrooms where children were enrolled were 30 in numbers. Each of the first-grade teachers was having 14 years of teaching experience on average with a professional degree in education. All the participants including parents were under the observation of teachers and researchers. Parents were not directly monitored but their questionnaires were studied for extracting information about their background. This thing was quite clear to the teachers and the researchers that the selected participants would have different nature. So one of the competent teachers were selected for this research
Construction of children
Children were positioned in a very systemic way where they were participating as objects of the research. Teachers and researchers were observing them. There could be seen a clear link as children being the objects in this research as they were unaware that their behavioural engagement was being observed by the researchers (Carlson,et,al,2007). Yes, children were treated well, by teachers who were behaving in a quite ethical manner. It was seen that teachers behaved well with students for winning their confidence so that children would behave in a natural way that would be beneficial for this research. Structurally children were not acting uniformly as they belonged to different parents who greatly influenced their behaviour. One of the obvious things that have been observed in this research was that boys were showing less engagement in the class activities and were having more significant conflict with teachers. It could be said that was because of the nature that they cannot change. There has been seen evidence of strong relationship between the adult researchers (teachers) who were monitoring behaviour of participants in class and those who were exhibiting their behavioural engagement in natural setting by pointing towards their background.
From the research, it could be concluded that there was quite low level of teacher-student conflict reported by teachers and the level of closeness between these two figures is satisfactory. Also, the level of conflict among children is quite low. Engagement of children who were both in kindergarten and first-grade was average. The recorded readings of the engagement of students in first-grade were 78% out of the total time of the observation. It could be said that they learnt something in kindergarten that helped them in first-grade. Association between students of kindergarten and first-grade was considered positive (Birch,et,al,1997). As a result, it could be seen that there was positive association between teacher-child closeness and engagement of children in kindergarten while on the other hand the conflict between teacher-child conflict and peer-teacher conflict was seen having a negative relation with that of behavioural engagement for kindergarten students.
In the case of first-grade, researchers have observed negative relation of teacher-child conflict and peer-teacher conflict as well, that shows involvement of self-directed behavior. It was also reported by the researchers that boys showed relatively lower levels of behavioural engagement for both classrooms (kindergarten and first-grade). But when the association of the background connection was inspected, it was seen that education of mothers was both weakly and positively associated with the inhibitory control of students whether it was a boy or girl. One of the main things that have been seen while compiling the result of this research was, boys were having lower level of teacher-child closeness while having higher level of teacher-child conflict (Fredricks,et,al,2005). As a whole, it could be concluded, children who showed a higher level of behavioural engagement in kindergarten, were reported by the teachers demonstrating more competency for classroom organisation for first-grade. Approach that has been chosen for this research article is not much satisfactory as people may show biases and lack of interest of a teacher may affect the outcomes of this research. The whole of the research is not evaluated directly by the researchers so the chosen approach cannot be said satisfactory as there are many gaps in this approach.
Strengths and limitations
This research is going to be helpful for many people like parents and teachers who are going to be in direct association with children. By having a look at this article teachers could learn a lot that they could practically implement in their classrooms for improving the performance of their students. Following are the strengths and limitations of this study material:
Children would get positive feedback from their teachers when they would participate in classroom activities.
Positive engagement in classroom would have positive impact on the overall academic learning of children.
By applying tactics that have been mentioned in this research article, teachers would see level of competency of each child.
Children need guidance and attention in the early age that they would get from teachers if they would put little efforts.
This article involves observation of many people that could mould the actual results that should be gathered at the end.
Biases of teachers could not be controlled.
A child may have healthy relationship with a peer but may not have some relation with others as there would be number of students in classroom.
This research could be used for getting knowledge about children of kindergarten and first-grade only.
Personal preferences can also affect the authenticity of the provided information and observed details.
Lack of training of the observer or the teacher would also affect gathered data and results.
Birch, S. H., & Ladd, G. W. (1997). The teacher-child relationship and children's early school adjustment. Journal of school psychology, 35(1), 61-79.
Cadima, J., Doumen, S., Verschueren, K., & Buyse, E. (2015). Child engagement in the transition to school: Contributions of self-regulation, teacher-child relationships and classroom climate. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 32, 1-12.
Cannella, G. S. (1997). Deconstructing Early Childhood Education: Social Justice and Revolution. Rethinking Childhood, Volume 2. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 275 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001.
Carlson, S. M., & Wang, T. S. (2007). Inhibitory control and emotion regulation in preschool children. Cognitive Development, 22(4), 489-510.
Downer, J. T., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Pianta, R. C. (2007). Engagement in Learning!. School Psychology Review, 36(3), 413-432.
Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P., Friedel, J., & Paris, A. (2005). School engagement. In What do children need to flourish?(pp. 305-321). Springer, Boston, MA.
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