Emotion-Focused Teaching Training and Teachers’ Classroom Practices and Teacher–Child Interaction Quality

Negar Fatahi

Advisor: Timothy W Curby, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Pamela Garner, Thalia Goldstein, Katherine Zinsser

Online Location, https://gmu.zoom.us/j/5763487450
April 21, 2023, 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM


Teacher training is critical to promoting teacher practices that influence children’s social and emotional development. However, early childhood education teachers report receiving limited pre-service training on how to promote children’s social and emotional competencies (Cressey, 2017; Jennings & Frank, 2015; Philippe, 2017; Bridgeland et al., 2013). In-service professional development primarily focuses on implementing social–emotional learning (SEL) programs and curricula. However, SEL programs are difficult to implement with fidelity (Bailey et al., 2019) and difficult to sustain (Jones & Bouffard, 2012). Ineffective implementation of SEL interventions is less likely to positively impact children (Jones et al., 2018). The University of Illinois Chicago Alternative Licensure Program (ALP) provides an alternative pathway for early childhood education teachers in Chicago to gain state teacher licensure.  The ALP consists of a pre-residency and a residency. The pre-residency includes coursework in early childhood education and state testing, and the residency consists of instruction, group reflection, and individualized coaching to promote teacher practices across four semesters. This study focused on the residency's first semester, which focuses on promoting children’s SEL through emotion-focused teaching (EFT) practices. As a part of a larger evaluation of the UIC ALP, I examined the ways in which teachers observed and self-reported emotion-focused teaching practices and global teacher–child interaction quality changed while participating in the EFT training. Participants included 60 teachers beginning the program in the Fall of 2021 and 2022. The findings provide preliminary evidence that EFT training can effectively improve teachers’ emotion-focused teaching practices. Teachers' modeling, responding, and instructing practices improved when they received content and skill-focused training.