Publication Date

Summer 2015

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Lemerise (Director), Carl Myers, and Elizabeth Jones

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Specialist in Education


Research has found that many children who come from a low socioeconomic background often begin their schooling careers behind most students. Head Start programs around the nation are utilized to close the gap in achievement, by providing those students with the educational support necessary to prepare them for future schooling. However, when assessed with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), Head Start programs have been found to be weaker in the area of Instructional Support. As a result, teachers are falling short in the way they provide feedback, incorporate higher thinking skills, and foster language development. In order to strengthen the instructional support component, research has supported the utilization of professional development to foster ways of incorporating informative praise which then encourages the desired behaviors and provides a rich language model for children This study was designed to provide professional development to Head Start teachers in order to increase informative praise and decrease commands and negative comments utilized by teachers. An increase in the number of general praise statements and informative praise statements used directly after the training was administered was found. However, as time progressed, the amount of praise decreased back to the levels before the training was given. It was also found that negative comments and commands decreased continuously throughout all observations after the training.


Clinical Psychology | Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education | Psychology