Teacher-child interactions in the classroom: Toward a theory of withinand cross-domain links to children's developmental outcomes

Jason Downer*, Terri J. Sabol, Bridget Hamre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research Findings: Effective teaching in early childhood (EC) care and education settings requires skillful combinations of explicit instruction, sensitive and warm interactions, responsive feedback, and verbal engagement intentionally directed to ensure children's learning and embedded within a classroom environment that is not overly structured or regimented. These aspects of instruction and interaction uniquely predict gains in young children's literacy, language, and social development, effectively contributing to closing gaps in performance between low-and high-risk children. Less clear is an articulation of the ways in which various types of teacher-child interactions within EC settings independently and in combination contribute to children's development. Practice or Policy: In this article, we argue that conceptualizing this system of contextual inputs and developmental outputs in a purely aligned way (e.g., social inputs → social development; instructional inputs → academic development) constrains understanding of both the pathways through which educational experience may influence development as well as the basic processes that may integrate developmental change in what appear to be phenotypically different outcome domains (e.g., social, self-regulatory, academic).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-6723
Number of pages6025
JournalEarly Education and Development
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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