Take a young child at high risk of doing poorly in the elementary school years, put him or her in a classroom with a great teacher, and that child will do just as well as children who have no such risks. This finding, published in the September/October issue of the journal Child Development, provides important evidence that the quality of everyday experiences in schools can greatly reduce childrens academic and social problems, even closing gaps between children of varying demographic, experiential and developmental backgrounds in the early school years.
Researchers from the University of Virginia used data from a large, national prospective study of children and families to examine whether exposing children at risk of early school failure to high levels of instructional and emotional support in first grade resulted in higher achievement and lower levels of conflict with teachers.
A critical component of this study was that researchers examined naturally occurring variation in everyday classroom interactions rather than an intervention designed to improve classroom interactions. Thus, their findings have implications for every school across the nation.
Andrea Browning | EurekAlert!
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