Project ABC2 coaching, teaching and learning activities occurred within five Kansas City area early childhood education (ECE) Head Start and community programs during the 2016-2017 school year. The Early Childhood Education programs came together to form communities of practice around a common theme—The Project Approach curriculum framework. This practitioner-researcher project resulted in significant progress in teaching and learning through project work.
Project ABC2 coaches collaborated with teachers enrolled in Project ABC2. Coaches utilized an evidence-based coaching model (Rush & Shelden, 2011) to guide their coach-teacher interactions. Rush & Shelden's (2011) coaching model includes five coaching practices: observation, joint planning, reflection, action and feedback.
The majority of coach-teacher interactions focused on implementing the Project Approach, as over 220 inquiry cycles focused primarily on assisting teachers with aspects of project work. During coach-teacher interactions, coaches and teachers reflected on a wide-range of discussion topics: helping children ask questions, creating planning webs, trying out project topics, utilizing CLASS strategies, brainstorming with children and planning for learning celebrations.
Coaches' demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in their use of coaching practices over the duration of the project, as measured by a teacher survey, The Coaching Practices Rating Scale (2006). Coach-teacher interactions were vehicles to enhance teachers’ existing skills and promote growth in teachers’ implementation of best practices in teaching.
This website is an archive for Project ABC2 documentation and serves as a resource for continuing Project Approach Implementation.
Teacher-child interactions are the critical spaces between teachers and young children where both emotional, social and academic relationships support learning and development. An ample amount of research indicates that high quality teaching behaviors predict and support the development of optimal child outcomes (Pianta, Hamre & LaParo, 2008). In Project Project ABC2 the Classroom Assessment Scoring System(CLASS) was used to measure characteristics of classroom teaching. Characteristics of high quality interactions include supporting children’s language development and critical thinking; connecting content and learning activities to students’ prior knowledge, ideas, engagement and experiences; incorporating descriptive feedback; and fostering persistence in learning and engagement.
Project ABC2 Research Highlights
Teachers’ degree of implementing the Project Approach increased throughout the yearlong coaching project in a statistically significant manner. Teachers’ CLASS scores demonstrated positive gains in almost all dimensions. As found in Vartuli, Bolz & Wilson (2014) there was a strong relationship between the scores on the implementation of project work and scores on the CLASS Instructional Support Domain.
The Project Approach, as a curriculum organizer that centralizes children’s ideas, interests and questions, promotes an enriched classroom environment. In Project ABC2 when teaching and learning was focused around the Project Approach, the teacher-child interactions developed from low-levels of classroom supports, into the kinds of teacher-child interactions supportive of higher-order levels of thinking and learning (Pianta et al., 2008). Time spent in coach-teacher interactions on The Project Approach may be enough for supporting adults’ increased capabilities to influence change in their classrooms, particularly on advanced teaching practices.
Author Bio: Dr. Karrie Snider was the Principal Investigator for Project ABC2 which continued the work of Vartuli, Bolz & Wilson (2014). Project ABC2 utilized content coaches to provide individualized yet standardized coaching across 17 early childhood classrooms during the 2016-2017. Dr. Snider is an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Missouri Early Childhood Program. Her research interests include the parallel processes of teaching and learning for adults and children, high quality curriculum and teacher-child interactions, and culturally responsive teaching. For more information on The Project Approach in research or Project ABC2 contact Dr. Snider at email@example.com.