About the Project
The Impact of Professional Development on Preschool Teachers’ Use of Embedded Instruction Practices: An Efficacy Trial of Tools for Teachers is a Goal 3 research project funded by the National Center for Special Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences of the United States Department of Education. In this project, we will compare several approaches to professional development to determine which are efficacious for helping teachers implement embedded instruction practices with young children with disabilities.
This study will use a randomized controlled trial to compare the efficacy of two versions of the Embedded Instruction for Early Learning: Tools for Teachers (EIEL:TfT) professional development program— using on-site coaching versus web-based self coaching — to one another and a control group to determine the impacts on teacher practices and child outcomes. The study will involve 108 early childhood special education teachers randomly assigned to one of two EIEL:TfT conditions (on-site coaching or self-coaching) or a business-as-usual control group. Each teacher will have three target children in their classroom with a developmental delay or disability. Child, teacher, and classroom data will be collected in four waves throughout the implementation year; teacher and classroom data will be collected during the sustainability year. Data will be analyzed primarily with analyses of covariance to determine group differences in outcomes, with additional analyses used to examine mediation, moderation, and sustainability of instructional practices in the second year.
Embedded instruction involves intentional teaching of individual child learning goals within the context of routine classroom activities, routines, and transitions. Prior research has found evidence that this approach can be effective with young children with varying disabilities, but it is not always implemented with fidelity. The research team created the EIEL:TfT professional development program to support teachers in implementing embedded instruction with children. The professional development program involves a series of high-quality workshops and a variant of practice-based coaching (on-site or self-coaching). Practice-based coaching is a cyclical process between a teacher and coach (or self-coach) to support the use of effective teaching practices that lead to positive outcomes for children.