Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Modern Research in Education, Teaching and Learning
A Student Review of Process Quality in Education: Teacher-Student Interactions and Language in Early Childhood Classrooms
Lisa D. Tafuro, Samatha Ferrara, and Kiley Cutichio
The social inequities across the fifty United States of America are indisputable. Widespread disparities in income and education fuel a persistent achievement gap. The gap, however, does not reflect children’s lack of achievement. Instead, it reveals a lack of opportunity. Sadly, children across America have unequal access to quality education and, in particular, to quality early education (Takanishi, 2017). Programs vary in method, availability, and implementation, and, as a result, they distribute structures and processes of quality unevenly, primarily when serving low-income children. One way to ensure quality in early learning across all communities is to improve teacher training. The literature suggests that training educators about teacher-student interaction patterns and how to embed educational dialogue in culturally sensitive ways can drive children’s language and cognitive gains during the preschool years (Burchinal et al., 2008; Burchinal, 2018). Teachers’ vocabulary and grammar impact students’ long-term language performance. Teachers’ language plays an integral role in children’s ability to problem-solve, follow instructions, and deconstruct social contexts. Fundamental to children’s learning is their socio-emotional competency and the ability to self-regulate. Teachers’ language impacts children’s ability to manage their behavior and engage with peers. Yet standards for teacher certification programs, curricula, and professional development do not exist. Current research out of Great Britain, Mexico, Canada, and the US highlights teachers’ need to improve student interactions. Emotionally supportive and cognitively stimulating shared experiences with teachers may be one of the most powerful ways to effect change in early childhood classrooms, especially for diverse learners.
Keywords: early childhood education, student-teacher interaction, inequity, dialogue, quality process.