Enabling American students to race to the top through the education reform launched by the Obama Administration begins with attention to its youngest citizens. Studies have shown that high-quality early childhood education is associated with improved school achievement in later years. However, limitations in the reach and effectiveness of federal and state preschool programs have prompted the creation of nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving access to preschool for underserved children. One such organization is Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), whose design includes coaching for childcare providers to heighten the quality of their preschool programs. This study examined the use and impact of the coaches' application of process consultation (PC) and appreciative inquiry (AI) principles with their childcare providers.
The study utilized a mixed-method design that collected data using surveys, interviews, and observations. Two survey instruments and one interview script were designed by the researcher and reviewed by an expert panel. The instruments gathered data about the coaches' perceptions of AI and PC, the coach-provider relationship, ownership and collaboration, the coaches' style, and the impact of coaching. Data collection occurred from November through December 2010. A sample of seven coaches and 49 providers completed surveys, five coaches and five providers were interviewed, and two coaches were observed. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the survey data, the interview data were subjected to thematic analysis, and the observation data were used to create a narrative description.
The LAUP coaches in this study demonstrated substantial use of PC philosophies in their work with childcare providers. The coaches also reported use of AI philosophies; however, the providers were neutral, on average, about whether the coaches used AI approaches. Coaches and providers reported that the use of PC and AI yielded benefits such as building strong coach-provider relationships, positioning the coaches as helpful resources to providers, changing providers' thinking, and co-creating implementable solutions.
Although this study suffered from limitations concerning the small sample size and measurement tools that did not gather sufficient relevant data, the findings were promising. It is advisable to continue using the LAUP coaching model. Further, this study demonstrates that AI and PC philosophies can be applied in one-on-one coaching, in nontraditional settings or industries, and even when organizational change is not the focus. Future studies should utilize a larger sample size and improved measurement tools to gather additional information about the coaches' use of AI and PC and the impact of these philosophies on providers.
|Advisor:||Feyerherm, Ann E.|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 50/03M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Appreciative inquiry, Process consultation|
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