"شما نمی توانید بگویید شما نمی توانید بازی کنید": مداخله در روند طرد اجتماعی در کلاس درس مهد کودک
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|30820||2003||21 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Volume 18, Issue 2, Summer 2003, Pages 185–205
Interventions aimed at decreasing social exclusion in school or early childhood classrooms are typically targeted at changing the behavior of the rejected or isolated child, and do nothing to address the exclusionary behavior of the peer group. We suggest an alternative approach, wherein the classroom climate is altered to discourage social exclusion. Drawing on the work of Vivian Paley, an intervention study was conducted to assess the effect of implementing a rule that disallows overt exclusion among classmates. The year-long intervention was conducted in six kindergarten classes, with four additional classes serving as a control group. Observations and teacher reports did not differ between Target and Control classes, but significant intervention effects were found in two areas: Children in Target classes reported via sociometric assessment that they liked each other significantly more at the end of the year than did children in Control classes, yet reported higher levels of social dissatisfaction than did Control children. Suggestions for future tests of this type of intervention are made, and ideas are offered for early childhood educators considering the use of a non-exclusion classroom rule.
Being excluded by peers clearly is a difficult social and emotional experience. In fact, young children report worrying about peer relations as much or more than any other issue in their lives (Ladd, 1990). Researchers have found that children who are sociometrically rejected (i.e., rated by peers as disliked) are often targets of aggression from peers, both overt (e.g., physical abuse or verbal threats; Coie & Kupersmidt, 1983; Dodge, Coie, & Brakke, 1982) and relational (where harm is deliberately inflicted through more subtle means, such as ignoring, or spreading rumors; Crick & Grotpeter, 1995 and Galen & Underwood, 1997). The problem of exclusion is evidenced by academic difficulties (DeRosier, Kupersmidt, & Patterson, 1994; O’Neil, Welsh, Parke, Wang, & Strand, 1997; Volling, MacKinnon-Lewis, Rabiner, & Baradaran, 1993), by elevated levels of loneliness and depression among rejected children (Cole & Carpentieri, 1990), and by the fact that children in therapy are twice as likely to have peer relationship problems than other children (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1981). In addition to the day-to-day struggles excluded children face, there appear to be long-term consequences. Longitudinal studies have shown the link between early peer relationship problems and mental health and/or criminality problems in adolescence and adulthood (Coie et al., 1995 and Cowen et al., 1973; Kupersmidt & Coie, 1990; Roff, Sells, & Golden, 1972). It is estimated that as many as half of “disordered adults” have a history of problems in their peer relationships (Parker & Asher, 1987), sometimes beginning at a very young age (Vitaro, Tremblay, Gagnon, & Pelletier, 1994). Because of the serious consequences of social exclusion, investigators have tried to understand the reasons underlying it. One reason children are found to be excluded is simple: They behave in ways their peers do not like. Aggression is clearly, the most disliked behavior among children, characterizing up to half of them (Coie & Cillessen, 1993). Other behaviors that are disliked by peers include being socially withdrawn, disruptive, uncooperative, hyperactive, anxious, immature, and lacking in prosocial skills (Ledingham & Schwartzman, 1984 and Putallaz & Gottman, 1981). However, not all exclusion is caused by unlikable behavior ( Cillessen, van IJzendoorn, van Lieshout, & Hartup, 1992). Children also are excluded or disliked for being “different,” for having qualities that make them stand out. For example, being a racial minority within the classroom increases the chances of rejection, particularly among girls ( Kistner, Metzler, Gatlin, & Risi, 1993), as does being unattractive or having some type of disability ( Bierman, Smoot, & Aumiller, 1987; Hartup, 1983). Children also might be excluded because their peers perceive exclusion to be culturally sanctioned, or to be necessary to their groups’ smooth functioning ( Killen, Lee-Kim, McGlothlin, & Stangor, 2002). Research attention has most recently turned toward developing intervention programs for excluded children. These programs are almost always based on a child deficit model (Zakriski, Jacobs, & Coie, 1997), in that they are targeted at changing the excluded child, either directly or indirectly (see Asher & Coie, 1990 and Malik & Furman, 1993, for reviews). Social skills training interventions are most widely used, and teach the target child interactional skills (e.g., making eye contact) or social concepts (e.g., cooperation) through direct instruction, modeling, role playing, reinforcement, and feedback (see Nangle, Erdley, Carpenter, & Newman, 2002). Social-cognitive training programs are more indirect, and attempt to change the cognitive processes (e.g., attributions) underlying the poorly-accepted child’s behavior (see e.g., Bash & Camp, 1985). A third type of intervention, the peer-mediator approach, is based on the assumption that through positive social interaction with their peers, excluded children can acquire the cognitive and social skills necessary for effective peer relations (see Goldstein, English, Shafer, & Kaczmarek; 1997; Kalfus, 1984 and Mathur & Rutherford, 1991). This approach typically involves pairing the target child with a “peer-helper” who acts either as a model or as a tutor/reinforcer to the target child. Results from intervention programs vary widely, generally yielding modest success (Zakriski et al., 1997), but often times program effects do not continue beyond the intervention itself (see Malik & Furman, 1993 and Mathur & Rutherford, 1991). This lack of generalization and maintenance could be because training often is with adults, and the problems lie within the peer group, or because intervention plans do not take into consideration the reasons behind children’s exclusion (i.e., groups of non-accepted children are treated as homogenous). Also, research has shown that negative reputations are hard to break, that, even if a child’s behavior improves, peers are not necessarily willing to give them a second chance (Graham & Hoehn, 1995; Hymel, Wagner, & Butler, 1990). Thus, interventions aimed at changing the behavior of an excluded child do not guarantee acceptance by the peer group. In summary, diverse approaches have been used to deal with the problem of social exclusion, but most intervention programs have in common a focus on changing the excluded child. Although the peer group plays a large role in preserving the poorly-accepted child’s social situation, intervention programs ignore the peer group’s role in exclusion. What would be the effect of aiming an intervention effort at the peer group itself, rather than just at the “problem” children? Vivian Paley, author and kindergarten teacher, raises this question in her book, You can’t say you can’t play ( Paley, 1992). Paley’s book highlights the fact that social exclusion is a group phenomenon, and questions why teachers allow children to reject each other, given that it interferes with learning in the classroom. She explores the ramifications of implementing a classroom rule that disallows overt exclusion, and finds that whereas most children and teachers realize the seriousness of social exclusion, many are ambivalent about her proposed solution because they believe children have the right to choose their friends. Paley counters with the argument that school is different from home, that at home children can make their own choices, but school is for everybody and no one should be left out. Paley implements the rule in her class and reports eventual success. Implementation and empirical validation of class-wide social interventions are rare (see Brown, Odom, & Conroy, 2001). In their review of early childhood peer-related social competence interventions, Brown et al. label class-wide interventions aimed at changing children’s attitudes towards their classmates (e.g., their classmates with disabilities) “affective interventions.” These interventions incorporate into the regular curriculum class-wide activities such as those that promote awareness, encourage interaction, provide problem-solving experiences, and challenge stereotypes. Interestingly, Brown et al. note that even though affective interventions are heralded by educators as beneficial, they have not been well tested. An exception to this is an intervention conducted by Favazza and Odom (1997), where kindergartners in a 9-week experimental group participated in storytime discussions about disabilities, structured play including children with disabilities, and parent-led readings about disabilities. Post-intervention, this group was found to have significantly higher levels of acceptance of children with disabilities than did comparison groups. Although the focus of their study was to change children’s attitudes about peers with developmental disabilities, these types of activity would presumably function to affect change in attitudes about other kinds of non-accepted children, as well. The current study, inspired by Paley’s thesis, is similar to Favazza and Odom’s affective intervention in that it is a class-wide kindergarten intervention, it involves indirect (story-telling, discussion, and role play) and direct (encouragement of inclusive play) experiences, and has as its goal a change in attitude that should ultimately increase inclusiveness. And whereas the goal of Favazza and Odom’s project was to increase the inclusion of children with disabilities, our goal was to increase inclusion of all children in play. There are several reasons why kindergarten may be a good time to conduct a class-level intervention to decrease exclusion. First, kindergarten teachers are expected to teach socialization; teachers at this level should therefore be amenable to making a social intervention part of their curriculum. Also, according to observers and children themselves, early childhood friendship tends to be defined in terms of shared activity, rather than by more psychological constructs such as intimacy or loyalty (see Newcomb & Bagwell’s meta-analysis, 1995). Therefore, simply broadening the range of acceptable play partners within a class may facilitate the formation of friendships that might otherwise not come into being. And there is evidence that what happens early is particularly important in the process of peer acceptance. In the preschool classroom, for example, high levels of cooperative play early in the year forecast gains in peer acceptance over the year (Ladd, Price, & Hart, 1988); if cooperative play could be facilitated in an intervention effort in early kindergarten, this naturally-occurring phenomenon might take over and prevent or lessen exclusion during the year. Also, it may be important to start early in the school experience because the experience of being excluded, per se, appears to have negative consequences that contribute to continued rejection in the future. One study of preschoolers (Olson, 1992), for example, showed that at the beginning of the year, children contributed to their own rejection by initiating “socially aversive exchanges” with peers, but by the end of the year, peers had begun to actively victimize those children. Thus, although the rejected children’s aggression was mostly reactive at this point, they were still aggressive, and therefore, disliked and excluded. A final argument for early intervention comes from Patterson’s “limited shopping” hypothesis, where the behavior of antisocial children is seen as altering the contexts in which they engage ( Patterson, Reid, & Dishion, 1992). Over time, these children have fewer and fewer chances to have positive social experiences that might steer them down a better path, so the later an intervention is implemented, the less likely it is to succeed. An intervention such as Paley’s would try to alter the child’s interactional context, enlarging it even though the natural reaction of the group might be to cut the child off. And even if only one mutual friendship is formed via a non-exclusion policy, research suggests the excluded child’s experience could be significantly altered (e.g., the child’s level of loneliness would be no greater than accepted children’s; see Sanderson & Siegal, 1995). The purpose of the current project was to pilot a class-wide intervention disallowing overt social exclusion in the kindergarten classroom and playground, and to assess post-intervention whether children in intervention classes differ from children in non-intervention classes in their (a) liking for each other, (b) feelings about themselves and about their peer relations, and (c) exclusionary play behavior. We were interested in comparisons at both the classroom-level (i.e., were intervention and non-intervention classroom means significantly different at the end of the study?) and as a function of sociometric status (i.e., did the pilot study differentially affect children identified as excluded and accepted at the beginning of the year?). Intervention effectiveness would be demonstrated by one or more of the following post-intervention differences: Relative to children in the non-intervention classes (and controlling for initial classroom differences), children in the intervention classes should report liking their classmates more, report greater self-perceived acceptance and social satisfaction, have a lower level of teacher-reported peer difficulties, and be observed to have less exclusionary behavior during play. Because the intervention was aimed at entire classes of children rather than just the excluded subgroup of children, whether differential change will be found in excluded versus accepted children was an exploratory question. 2. Method 2.1. Recruitment After presenting the intervention idea at a district-wide meeting of principals, three principals agreed to participate in the project. Classes from the three schools (A, B, and C) were assigned to either a Target group (classes where the intervention was implemented) or a Control group, with a total of 10 classes participating (6 Target and 4 Control). A partial randomized group design was employed, in that classes were randomly assigned to Target or Control status only after logistical constraints were taken into account. For example, classes that were team taught could not be assigned different intervention statuses, nor could classes that shared playground time. The resultant distribution was 5 Target classes and 1 Control class at school A, 2 Control classes at school B, and 1 Target and 1 Control class at school C. 2.2. Sample One hundred and forty-four children (73 boys, 71 girls) participated in the project. Kindergarten classes in all three schools met for the full school day (e.g., 07:45–02:45). All children were required to be 5 years old on or before September 1 of the kindergarten year, and none of the participants were repeating kindergarten. All participating schools were neighborhood schools (i.e., children were not bussed out of their neighborhoods to attend school), thus, ethnic distributions within schools reflected the participating children’s neighborhood make up. Ethnic group distribution among participants was 57% Euro-, 34% Mexican-, 5% Asian-, and 4% African-American. Socioeconomic status (SES) ranged from poverty level to upper middle class, with the majority of families being lower-middle class. School A served a low-SES population of primarily Mexican-American families, although a large group of Euro-American families was represented, as well. School B included middle-class and higher SES families, and was comprised primarily of Euro-American children. School C had fairly equal representation of all ethnic groups, and family SES ranged from low- to upper-middle SES. 2.3. Teacher preparation Control class teachers were told they were participating in a study of social exclusion and that we needed to use their class to find out about the typical kindergarten peer experience. Teachers in the Target classes agreed to let us introduce the rule to their students and incorporate it into their classroom policy. After baseline data were gathered (i.e., after teachers filled out Wave I questionnaires), Target teachers were asked to read Paley’s book as background to the intervention effort. The research team met with teachers to discuss implementing the rule before it was introduced. After the rule was introduced, research team members met informally with teachers approximately once a week to discuss mechanics of implementing the intervention and address any concerns the teachers might have. These visits also served as reminders to teachers that they were to be adhering to the guidelines of the intervention. 2.4. Procedure 2.4.1. Pre-intervention phase (Wave I) Children were given at least 8 weeks from the beginning of the kindergarten year to become acquainted before data collection began. After the 8 weeks passed, pre-intervention sociometric and child interviews were conducted, and teachers filled out a questionnaire packet for each participating child. Children at risk of exclusion (i.e., sociometrically rejected and neglected children) were subsequently observed 12 times during freeplay periods, for a total of 1 hour of observation per child.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our study offers some suggestive evidence that encouraging non-exclusion can affect young children’s social experience in the classroom. If an intervention such as ours could be refined and shown to have greater impact, particularly for excluded children, there could be multiple benefits. An intervention at the group level has the potential to affect the experience of children who are being excluded for non-behavioral reasons; teaching social skills doesn’t change the ethnic background or physical characteristics of a child. And for children at risk for exclusion for behavioral reasons, being accepted by even just a few peers has been shown to help children have a good start in the academic environment, easing the transition to school (Ladd & Price, 1987) and facilitating a sense of belonging at school (Legault, Caron, Montgomery, David, & Paquette, 1997). The result could be a true inclusive classroom environment, not just because of the diversity of children enrolled in the class, but because of the climate of acceptance in the classroom.