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A protocol for a three-arm cluster randomized controlled superiority trial investigating the effects of two pedagogical methodologies in Swedish preschool settings on language and communication, executive functions, auditive selective attention, socioemotional skills and early maths skills
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7095-0525
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0897-8911
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2531-368X
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Phonetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8372-9507
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2018 (English)In: BMC Psychology, E-ISSN 2050-7283, Vol. 6, article id 29Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

During the preschool years, children develop abilities and skills in areas crucial for later success in life. These abilities include language, executive functions, attention, and socioemotional skills. The pedagogical methods used in preschools hold the potential to enhance these abilities, but our knowledge of which pedagogical practices aid which abilities, and for which children, is limited. The aim of this paper is to describe an intervention study designed to evaluate and compare two pedagogical methodologies in terms of their effect on the above-mentioned skills in Swedish preschool children.

Method

The study is a randomized control trial (RCT) where two pedagogical methodologies were tested to evaluate how they enhanced children’s language, executive functions and attention, socioemotional skills, and early maths skills during an intensive 6-week intervention. Eighteen preschools including 28 units and 432 children were enrolled in a municipality close to Stockholm, Sweden. The children were between 4;0 and 6;0 years old and each preschool unit was randomly assigned to either of the interventions or to the control group. Background information on all children was collected via questionnaires completed by parents and preschools. Pre- and post-intervention testing consisted of a test battery including tests on language, executive functions, selective auditive attention, socioemotional skills and early maths skills. The interventions consisted of 6 weeks of intensive practice of either a socioemotional and material learning paradigm (SEMLA), for which group-based activities and interactional structures were the main focus, or an individual, digitally implemented attention and math training paradigm, which also included a set of self-regulation practices (DIL). All preschools were evaluated with the ECERS-3.

Discussion

If this intervention study shows evidence of a difference between group-based learning paradigms and individual training of specific skills in terms of enhancing children’s abilities in fundamental areas like language, executive functions and attention, socioemotional skills and early math, this will have big impact on the preschool agenda in the future. The potential for different pedagogical methodologies to have different impacts on children of different ages and with different backgrounds invites a wider discussion within the field of how to develop a preschool curriculum suited for all children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 6, article id 29
Keywords [en]
Intervention, Executive functions, Selective attention, Language skills, Early maths skills, Communication skills, Socioemotional skills, Group-based learning, Digital learning
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158823DOI: 10.1186/s40359-018-0239-yOAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-158823DiVA, id: diva2:1239227
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 1497602Available from: 2018-08-16 Created: 2018-08-16 Last updated: 2018-08-28Bibliographically approved

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Gerholm, ToveHörberg, ThomasTonér, SigneKallioinen, PetterFrankenberg, SofiaKjällander, SusannePalmer, AnnaLenz Taguchi, Hillevi
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Department of LinguisticsGeneral LinguisticsPerception and psychophysicsPhoneticsDepartment of Child and Youth Studies
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