- Jessica Barnes-Najor, PhD
- Ann Cameron, AA
- Christine Sims, PhD
Research Project Description
Current protocols for assessing child-teacher interaction quality in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) early care and education settings do not adequately account for the influence of Native language and culture on those interactions. A recent national study of AI/AN Head Start programs measured child-teacher interactions, however, there were too few observations within the study design limitations to support a thorough analysis of the psychometric properties of the instruments used. A knowledge gap therefore remains with respect to our understanding of how widely used measures of child-teacher interaction fare in AI/AN early care and education settings. To address this gap, we propose a pilot study that will inform next steps for a nationally representative study of AI/AN Head Start that would allow for a careful analysis of measures of child-teacher interactions within AI/AN communities. Specifically, the pilot study would allow us to explore relationships among child-teacher interactions, Native language and culture in the classroom, and children's social-emotional development.
The pilot study will also allow us to answer the questions about the feasibility of a larger national study. To this end, we propose recruiting a random sample of 10 AI/AN Head Start programs, 20 classrooms, and up to 400 children. Data will include:
- Child-teacher interaction quality as measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System,
- Children's Native language and culture experiences in the classroom as measured by the Native Culture and Language in the Classroom instrument, and
- Children's social-emotional development based on teacher and parent report.
Observations will be video recorded to allow for dual coding. Community-based research staff will be supported to help gather data. Data will be analyzed to begin to explore the relationships among the study variables, and these findings will be used to support a grant application for the full study.
Jessica Barnes-Najor, PhD
Barnes-Najor is a developmental psychologist at Michigan State University. She is a co-investigator for the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center, partnering with AI/AN early childhood education grantees across the nation to address community identified research topics. She is also a co-PI of Wiba Anung, a research collaborative including nine Michigan tribes. Her work examines the cultural alignment of research methods to assess the quality of interactions in early childhood care settings.
Ann Cameron, AA
Cameron is the Head Start Director for the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan. She is responsible for the overall administration of early childhood programming for 20 classrooms in seven tribal communities and serves as the Online Student Advisor for the Bay Mills Community College Early Childhood Education. She is a long-standing member of the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center Steering Committee and the National Indian Head Start Directors Association Board of Directors.
Christine Sims, PhD
Sims is an Associate Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. She serves as a faculty member in the Bilingual Program and in Educational Linguistics and established the American Indian Language Policy Research and Teacher Training Center. Sims' career is focused on providing support for Native language program planning and advocacy on behalf of Native language communities and language policy issues.