The Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) is hosting Denise Rocha, M.S., Liliane Amparo, Ph.D, and Pedro Pires from Brazil’s Instituto Alfa e Beto (IAB), from June 25 through July 13. Leading the IAB team is founder João Batista Araujo e Oliveira.
The IAB team is partnering with CASTL to develop a series of post-graduate interactive distance-learning courses and a coaching model for early childhood educator professional development. The courses, which will focus on strengthening teacher-child interactions, will be supplemented with coaching conducted both in person and via the Internet with the aid of classroom videotaping.
The Baby College project aims to reach five thousand early childhood teachers and caregivers in Brazil over the next five years, according to Rocha. “We hope to reach between 50 and 100 municipalities in various regions out of the 5,550 municipalities in Brazil.”
Early childhood education in Brazil includes the first six years of education, Rocha said. From zero to four, children attend childcare centers, called creches, while four- and five-year-olds attend preschools. Preschool attendance is part of compulsory education, and in 2011 about 85% of children were already attending part-time preschools. About a quarter of the preschools are private. The remainder are funded by local governments.
“For children from zero to four years there are different provisions, but creches is the primary model,” Oliveira explained. The majority of creches are public or run by nongovernmental organizations but partially funded by local governments. There are also several types of arrangements, including home visiting programs and other non-formal alternatives.
“The major problem, however, is quality, and this is an issue that IAB intends to address, with the collaboration of CASTL.”
“The demand is increasing, but the capacity to expand is very limited,” he said. “The major problem, however, is quality, and this is an issue that IAB intends to address, with the collaboration of CASTL.”
The primary goal of the project is to prepare high-quality early childhood education professionals, document their performance, and be able to monitor and supervise teacher’s induction programs, according Bridget Hatfield, the lead CASTL researcher on the project. Hatfield will be collaborating with IAB during the development of resources to maintain efficacy of observations, the coaching process and the frameworks of effective classroom interactions.
Oliveira was familiar with CASTL’s work in the area of early childhood professional development and initiated the project with Bob Pianta. Pianta is director of CASTL and dean of the Curry School of Education. Oliveira has worked as a teacher, consultant, public administrator, professor of higher education, and for the World Bank in Washington, DC, and the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. His last public office in Brazil was as Deputy Secretary of Education.
While the Brazilian leadership team is here, members of the CASTL team are presenting the wide range of resources developed at the center, said Hatfield, from the different versions of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ to methods of coaching both in person and online to building a video library of teaching examples to the development underway on the Effective Classroom Interactions online course. This partnership reflects CASTL’s dedication to translating evidence-based theories of effective teaching and learning via diverse classrooms around the world, Hatfield added.
“The IAB team will then go back and build out versions of this work that adapts CASTL’s research and resources to the Brazilian culture,” she said. “We will continue working with them to ensure that the resources they develop are consistent with implementation research and evidence of effective observation and coaching practices. It’s a great opportunity to increase the reach of CASTL’s work.”
IAB is a non-governmental, non-profit organization established in 2006 to disseminate and promote the use of evidence-based educational policies and practices to improve educational outcomes for Brazilian students. IAB has established partnerships with the federal government of Brazil, six state governments, and programs reaching more than 500,000 students in more than 700 municipalities. Its most important projects include a literacy program (Programa Alfa e Beto de Alfabetização), an accelerated learning program for children who have had to repeat a grade or grades (Programa de Aceleração da Aprendizagem), subject-specific programs for early grades in math, science, and Portuguese language arts, and a program for preschool children (4- and 5-year-olds).
On Friday, July 13 at 11 a.m., the team will present a lecture in Holloway Hall entitled “Translating Effective Teacher-Child Interactions for Early Childhood Educators in Brazil.”
by Lynn Bell
PHOTO CAPTION: Denise Rocha, M.S., Pedro Pires, Liliane Amparo, Ph.D, and Bridget Hatfield