This action research study examines the effectiveness of my leadership style as I collaborated with kindergarten teachers to explore strategies and techniques that match the needs of individual students. The delivery of developmentally appropriate instruction appears to be a clear indicator in predicting if a large number of students will be referred for retention (Mantzicopoulos, 2003b). If a teacher is not aware of the various ways in which to approach a child with delayed social, emotional, or academic growth, the teacher may deem the student as "not ready" for promotion and subsequently recommend grade level retention. The best solution to non-promotion is to provide professional development opportunities for early childhood teachers to learn how to provide a child-centered, developmentally appropriate program that meets the students' social, emotional, and academic learning needs (Nason, 1991). Since retention studies state that a child's self-esteem and motivation to learn will be negatively affected if a child is retained (Armbruster, Lehr, & Osborn, 2003), it was imperative for me to guide teachers to explore various teaching methods so that "no child is left behind" in a previous grade.
Fullan (2006) states that teachers need to be focused on improving their own classroom practices which will result in the success of their students. During this study, I lead my staff through the creation, implementation, and assessment of developmentally appropriate strategies and techniques to improve their classroom practice. The desired outcome was to decrease retention candidates by increasing the knowledge of their teachers. In order to do so, I engaged in capacity building by providing three things: (a) knowledge about best practices for early childhood students, (b) resources for the teachers by giving them the tools they needed to be successful, and (c) motivation to increase confidence among the participants in the study. Coded interviews revealed that by using a caring leadership style, the participants were inspired to pilot the strategies and techniques with their students. The result was that change had occurred in the classroom practices of some teachers which led to a positive effect on the development of their students.
|Commitee:||Sherry, John, Sudeck, Maria|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Early childhood education, Elementary education, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Grade level retention, Intervention strategies, Interventions, Kindergarten, Kindergarten retention|
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