Do Teacher's Observe the Same Social–Emotional Exchanges in the Classroom as Researchers?




Liverette, Kristina

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There is growing interest from researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers in children’s social–emotional competence and how to assess those competencies, because social–emotional competence is predictive of academic competence. Preschool-aged children are able to learn about social–emotional competence and classroom norms while attending childcare. The classroom environment is new to many preschoolers and thus, they might behave differently in the classroom than at home. Additionally, teachers are likely to know their students fairly well as they spend a lot of time with them. Therefore, teachers may be good at assessing and reporting a child’s social–emotional competence in the classroom. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether teachers reported social–emotional competencies similarly to objective researchers. A secondary purpose was to assess whether or not children’s social–emotional competencies are interrelated. Results demonstrated that the researcher-observed and teacher-rated social–emotional behaviors were associated, as predicted. However, when using a combined factor of both researchers’ observations and teachers’ ratings to predict children’s social information processing, no significant results emerged. Furthermore, children’s emotion knowledge was assessed as a moderator of the above relation. Results demonstrated that emotion knowledge was linked with children’s social information processing, but that no significant interactions for the created factors and emotion knowledge occurred. These results show that teachers and researchers may observe similar behaviors in the classroom, and therefore, teachers can be considered as resources of insight to children’s social–emotional behaviors.