Early Intervention of Malay Preschool Teachers in Promoting Children’s Mathematics Learning (Mendaki Main Project)

Project Number
OER 20/08 SW

Project Duration
April 2009 - September 2010

Status
Completed

Abstract
The research adopts a pre-test and post-test mixed-methods design involving an experimental group and a control group, each of which comprises preschool children from five classes (N=200). Intact classes will be matched and randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions. The project also controls for teacher effects. The study will focus on improving kindergarten teachers' ability to nurture early numeracy development and learning in K2 children. An intervention involving the experimental group will include teachers who will have already attended in-service training, as part of the initial pilot project, to assist them to understand pedagogical principles, practices and strategies to assist children's development of numeracy skills, problem solving and reasoning. Further teacher guidelines and mentorship also will be provided on how to implement this in the classroom, and techniques to assist parents to support their children's numeracy learning outside the classroom. This is a unique and significant project in that there is a dearth of research on the early mathematical achievements of Malay children in Singapore, or methods to improve children's achievements as a result of teacher in-service training, in situ mentorship of teachers and strong parent-school relationships to enhance children's mathematical development and learning. Several data sources will be used to monitor the success of the 10-month intervention: Observations of teachers, semi-structured and focus group interviews with teachers, documentation of children's learning in the K2 classes, testing of children's problem-solving, reasoning and numeracy knowledge and skills, documentation of K2/school contextual factors and focus group interviews with parents. Data will be analysed both qualitatively and quantitively to track teacher success in assisting K2 children's numeracy development/learning and children's numeracy-based progress throughout the intervention period. Comparisons will be made between the experimental and control groups using regression analysis and MANOVA. Qualitative data (e.g., interviews, learning artefacts and teachers' plans) will be analysed through content analysis and triangulated with the related quantitative data sources (e.g., Teacher Observation and Child Observation Schedules) to assess the effects of the intervention programme Outcomes of this research will have direct application to Mendaki Singapore (the initiators of this research) and will lead Mendaki's further implementation of the teacher-improvement approach used in this study. The dissemination of the research through publications and conference presentations and proceedings will reach a wider Singaporean and international audience. Both of these outcomes will make significant contributions to educational practices and new knowledge construction in relation to early childhood mathematics pedagogy.

Funding Source
NIE

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