Teacher-child relationship quality for young children with parent reported language concerns
Hand, Kirstine Alicia (2008) Teacher-child relationship quality for young children with parent reported language concerns. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.
Previous research has demonstrated the importance of the qualities of the teacher-child relationship on children’s development. Close teacher-child relationships are especially important for children at risk. Positive relationships have been shown to have beneficial effects on children’s social and academic development (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Pianta & Stuhlman, 2004). Children with language difficulties are likely to face increased risks with regard to long term social and academic outcomes. The purpose of the current research was to gain greater understanding of the qualities of teacher-child relationships for young children with parent reported language concerns. The research analyses completed for this thesis involved the use of data from the public-access database of Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). LSAC is a longitudinal study involving a nationally representative sample of 10,000 Australian children. Data are being collected biennially from 2004 (Wave 1 data collection) until 2010 (Wave 4 data collection). LSAC has a cross-sequential research design involving two cohorts, an infant cohort (0-1 year at age of recruitment) and a kindergarten cohort (4-5 years at age of recruitment). Two studies are reported in this thesis using data for the LSAC Kindergarten Cohort which had 4983 child participants at recruitment. Study 1 used Wave 1 data to identify the differences between teacher-child relationship qualities for children with parent reported language concerns and their peers. Children identified by parents for whom concerns were held about their receptive and expressive language, as measured by items from the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) (Glascoe, 2000) were the target (at risk) group in the study (n = 210). A matched case control group of peers (n = 210), matched on the child characteristics of sex, age, cultural and linguistic differences (CALD), and socio-economic positioning (SEP), were the comparison group for this analysis. Teacher-child relationship quality was measured by teacher reports on the Closeness and Conflict scales from the short version of the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS) (Pianta, 2001). There were statistically significant differences in the levels of closeness and conflict between the two groups. The target group had relationships with their teachers that had lower levels of closeness and higher levels of conflict than the control group. Study 2 reports analyses that examined the stability of the qualities of the teacher-child relationships at Wave 1 (4-5 years) and the qualities of the teacher-child relationships at Wave 2 (6-7 years). This time frame crosses the period of the children’s transition to school. The study examined whether early patterns in the qualities of the teacher-child relationship for children with parent reported language concerns at Wave 1 predicted the qualities of the teacher-child relationship outcomes in the early years of formal school. The sample for this study consisted of the group of children identified with PEDS language concerns at Wave 1 who also had teacher report data at Wave 2 (n = 145). Teacher-child relationship quality at Wave 1 and Wave 2 was again measured by the STRS scales of Closeness and Conflict. Results from multiple regression models indicated that teacher-child relationship quality at Wave 1 significantly contributed to the prediction of the quality of the teacher-child relationship at Wave 2, beyond other predictor variables included in the regression models. Specifically, Wave 1 STRS Closeness scores were the most significant predictor for STRS Closeness scores at Wave 2, while Wave 1 STRS Conflict scores were the only significant predictor for Wave 2 STRS Conflict outcomes. These results indicate that the qualities of the teacher-child relationship experienced prior to school by children with parent reported language concerns remained stable across transitions into formal schooling at which time the child had a different teacher. The results of these studies provide valuable insight into the nature of teacher-child relationship quality for young children with parent reported language concerns. These children experienced teacher-child relationships of a lower quality when compared with peers and, additionally, the qualities of these relationships prior to formal schooling were predictive of the qualities of the relationships in the early years of formal schooling. This raises concerns, given the increased risks of poorer social and academic outcomes already faced by children with language difficulties, that these early teacher-child relationships have an impact on future teacher-child relationships. Results of these studies are discussed with these considerations in mind and also discussed in terms of the implications for educational theory, policy and practice.
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|Item Type:||QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)|
|Supervisor:||Berthelsen, Donna C.|
|Keywords:||teacher-child relationships, young children, language skills|
|Divisions:||Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
|Institution:||Queensland University of Technology|
|Deposited On:||16 Jul 2009 04:09|
|Last Modified:||09 Feb 2011 13:52|
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