Page 131 - Second language development of newly arrived migrant kindergarteners - Frederike Groothoff
P. 131

Pedagogical practices: focus on teacher behavior 131 programs in the United States. Based on the results of the CLASS, policy decisions have been made to further instruct teachers. The different dimensions of the CLASS – emotional support, organizational support, and instructional support – are also used to find relations between teacher behavior and the development of specific skills. The CLASS instructional scales predict growth in language and literacy skills at the kindergarten level (Howes et al., 2008; Mashburn et al., 2008) and in Grade 1 (Hamre & Pianta, 2007). The instructional support domain has been shown to be especially important for the development of children’s languages skills (Mashburn et al., 2008; Cadima, Leal, & Burchinal, 2010). That said, the influence of emotional support should not be underestimated, because in classes with a high level of emotional support children seem to explore more and therefore learn better in such environments (Hamre et al., 2013). Finally, organizational support influences learning, because in well-organized classes pupils seem to be more engaged in learning and teachers tend to make better use of the time (Hamre et al., 2013; Pianta et al., 2014). The focus of the CLASS measure is the quality of interactions that teachers offer their pupils (Hamre & Pianta, 2007). That the CLASS measures something more than overall classroom quality was demonstrated in a study of Mashburn et al. (2008). They related three aspects of the quality of pre-kindergarten programs to child outcomes on five measures of academic or language skills. (1) They investigated features of program design and infrastructure (for example teacher qualifications and class size), (2) they made a comprehensive observation of the overall quality of the classroom environment (with the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale- Revisited; Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 1998), and (3) they investigated the nature and quality of the emotional and instructional interactions between the teachers and the children (with the CLASS). The third measure of quality, that of teacher-child interactions using the CLASS was most consistently and strongly associated with children’s development. The CLASS has been developed for educational settings in the United States. In the study by Downer et al. (2012) it was shown that the CLASS was also a good observational instrument in educational environments with second language learners, based on a study with almost 3,000 children attending state-funded pre-kindergarten programs in different states in the USA. In the classes that they investigated with a high percentage of Latinos or with various levels of dual language learners, higher scores on the CLASS domains were also linked to positive developmental outcomes in mathematics, language/literacy, and social skills of these second language learners. In order to investigate whether the CLASS was also a useful instrument outside the United States, Pakarinen et al. (2010) used the CLASS in Finland. They provided evidence that the three domains of the CLASS could be applied to educational settings in Finland as well. They concluded that the CLASS has high validity and reliability in the assessment of classroom quality in a cultural and educational setting outside the United 

   129   130   131   132   133