BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT OF CHILDREN IN LONG DAY CARE CENTRES: THE EFFECTS OF TRAINING ON CARERS’ PRACTICES

Abbey, Brenda Joyce (2007). BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT OF CHILDREN IN LONG DAY CARE CENTRES: THE EFFECTS OF TRAINING ON CARERS’ PRACTICES PhD Thesis, School of Education , University of Queensland.

       
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Author Abbey, Brenda Joyce
Thesis Title BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT OF CHILDREN IN LONG DAY CARE CENTRES: THE EFFECTS OF TRAINING ON CARERS’ PRACTICES
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Associate Professor Robyn Gillies
Abstract/Summary This study investigated the effects on carers’ practices, and the knowledge, understandings, and stated beliefs that underpinned those practices, of training them to manage children’s behaviour democratically. Specifically, it aimed to identify the effects of training on carers’ (a) behaviour management practices, (b) knowledge of approaches to behaviour management, (c) understandings of theories of child development and learning, (d) knowledge of the governance that sets the parameters for their behaviour management practices, (e) goals for their behaviour management practices, and (f) perceptions of their role in managing children’s behaviour. The researcher addressed these research questions by conducting concurrent case studies of the behaviour management practices of 17 carers in four long day care centres in South-East Queensland. The researcher assumed the role of privileged observer during the data-gathering phases. The data were collected at all four centres at regular intervals, both pre-training (baseline), and post-training for 20 weeks. During this time, each centre was visited fortnightly with each visit lasting approximately five hours. The data were gathered from direct observations of carers working with the children pre-training and post-training; semi-structured interviews with carers pretraining and post-training; informal discussions with directors and carers throughout the study; analysis of carers’ reflective diaries maintained after the training; carers’ written responses to training activities; analyses of centre documents (such as behaviour management policy); and communications displayed in centre entrances, corridors, and rooms. Pre-training data reflected carers’ established behaviour management practices. Post-training data reflected carers’ practices after the training. Both pre-training and post-training data were categorised and the two sets of data compared. The changes to carers’ baseline practices after the training were attributed to that training. The training program was developed by the researcher from the literature on democratic approaches to behaviour management, on constructivist theories of child development and learning, and on the legislative and ethical parameters of the child care field. Embedded in the training was a respect for carers’ individual and collective knowledge pre-training. The program was drafted prior to the data collection phase, and fine-tuned once the pre-training data were collated. Carers knew that the training session was only one aspect of the training, and that they had each other’s ongoing support, and that the researcher would be their mentor for the duration of the study. The program was delivered over a full day, was interactive and experiential. Each participant received a folder that included selected pertinent readings. After the training, the carers maintained practices consistent with the training (e.g., indirect guidance and prevention); adopted new practices consistent with the training (e.g., educative methods and scaffolding children’s relationships with others); and reduced their use of practices inconsistent with the training (e.g., reward, punishment, and imposed control). They attributed these changes to their intent to align their practices with their new understandings about the way children learn to behave, and the carers’ role in that process. These changes demonstrate the effectiveness of the training. In summary, the results provide support for training carers to manage children’s behaviour in democratic ways. In a more general sense, the results add to the current limited pool of knowledge on carers’ behaviour management practices and to what constitutes an effective training program for carers. Future studies on effective training programs should ascertain the length of time carers uphold changes, and for examining the conditions necessary for the changes to be enduring. Another topic to be addressed more closely would be how to effect change in those practices where carers resist change (e.g., in this study, carers’ rigid adherence to routines, their level of involvement with children).

 
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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:40:20 EST