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The Dosage of Professional Development for Early Childhood Professionals: How the Amount and Density of Professional Development may Influence its Effectiveness

The Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Grant: Research and Practice

ISBN: 978-0-85724-279-2, eISBN: 978-0-85724-280-8

ISSN: 0270-4021

Publication date: 12 October 2011

Abstract

Professional development (PD), including coaching and mentoring, for early childhood education and care providers has received increasing attention over the past decade. PD, particularly coaching/mentoring, has been shown to improve classroom quality. We recognize the importance of content and format of PD, but argue that dosage (overall amount) and density (spacing) are important aspects of PD that are worthy of careful consideration. We hypothesize that when PD conveys new information and complex new skills, a dense initial period is likely to produce better results than a less dense delivery. In this chapter, we review the program of research that has led us to a focus on both dosage and density of coaching. We conclude with the results from an ECEPD project in which we systematically varied the density of coaching while maintaining the same overall dosage. Classrooms all received 120h of in-classroom coaching and were randomly assigned to a dense “immersion” condition (20 full days of coaching spread over 5 weeks) or to a low density condition (one full day per week of coaching over 20 weeks). Classrooms in the immersion condition showed gains in quality, albeit modest, over the course of the school year, whereas those in the low-density condition either remained the same or decreased in quality over the school year.

Keywords

Citation

Landesman Ramey, S., Crowell, N.A., Ramey, C.T., Grace, C., Timraz, N. and Davis, L.E. (2011), "The Dosage of Professional Development for Early Childhood Professionals: How the Amount and Density of Professional Development may Influence its Effectiveness", Sutterby, J.A. (Ed.) The Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Grant: Research and Practice (Advances in Early Education and Day Care, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 11-32. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0270-4021(2011)0000015005

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited