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Examining the Relationship Between Preschool Teachers’ Use of Social and Emotional Teaching Strategies and Children’s Challenging Behavior and Social Skills
AuthorLee Fuquay, Janice Kimmie
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Because there are immediate and long-term implications when preschool children exhibit challenging behavior in the classroom, it is crucial to prevent and address challenging behavior as early as possible. Social and emotional teaching strategies have been shown to reduce challenging behavior of preschoolers and increase social and emotional skills. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine if social and emotional teaching strategies correlated with changes in the challenging behavior and social skills of preschoolers with persistent challenging behavior. Data were obtained from an archival data set of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) efficacy study of an intervention for preschoolers with persistent challenging behavior. The data set included baseline measures of teaching practices in classrooms as measured by the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT) and changes in preschooler’s challenging behavior and social skills using the Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) collected at pre- and post-test of study participation (spanning 4 months). Pearson correlations of the teaching practices and children’s change scores for challenging behavior and social skills were analyzed for possible statistical significance. Results showed that teaching behavior expectations and teaching problem solving were associated with statistically significant reductions in preschoolers’ challenging behavior for children who participated in the intervention group of the original RCT. No statistically significant relationships were identified for teaching social and emotional competencies, friendship skills, or expressing emotions. Implications for persistent challenging behavior in preschool classrooms are discussed.