Research Labs

Dr. Curby's Research Lab

 

The Development In School Contexts (DISC) Lab examines how children develop in classrooms settings and what teachers do to facilitate that development. Our interests focus on two related sets of aims. First, we examine how teacher-child interactions serve as a mechanism for children’s development. In other words, we are interested in exploring how different types of interactions teachers have with students (emotional, organizational, instructional) relate to children's growth (academic, emotional, social). Second, we are interested in the measurement of teacher-child interactions. Interactions are difficult to quantify, and if we can’t measure these interactions well, then we are going to have difficulty (reliably) relating these interactions to children’s development. Thus we examine, the stability, variability, and reliability in the measurement of teacher-child interactions.

Dr. Denham's Research Lab

In Dr Denham's lab, we are beginning the Teachers as Socializers of Social Emotional Learning (TASSEL) IES-funded study. We will examine preschool teachers’ role in helping their students develop social and emotional competence as they prepare to move into kindergarten. Children’s abilities to regulate their behavior, emotions, attention and effort (self-regulation) and get along well with others (social cognitions, emotions, and behaviors) are identified as crucially important school readiness skills. As more and more children are spending time in the preschool setting, it is important to examine this venue, and little (if any) work has been done in this area. It is hoped that the results of this study will help in the development of methods and tools preschool teachers can use to help their students to prepare social and emotionally for kindergarten entrance. At the same time, we continue our interest in assessing children's emotional and social competence, and anticipate both finishing reports from our 6-year NICHD-funded Assessing Social-Emotional Skills for School Readiness (ASESSR), and refining new computer based versions of the assessments. Finally, our data on preschooers’ social-emotional competence, as well as older children’s forgiveness , and parents’ socialization of these abilities – collected in several longitudinal studies – continue to bear fruit.

Dr. Pasnak's Research Lab

Pasnak’s Cognitive Interventions laboratory has focused on helping children who lag in cognitive development to catch up to their peers. This sometimes involves blind or mentally challenged youngsters, or those with ESL or minority status, but more often it is children who are behind their peers cognitively for no identifiable reason. "Learning set" methods are used to teach children the key cognitive constructs, such as patterning, appropriate for their age. The synthesis of content and method leads to meaningful gains on IQ tests and in academic achievement that endure for at least a few years, and some gains in self esteem for the children. This research has been supported by large grants from the Institute of Educational Science. New work is currently with first-graders.

 

Dr. Winsler's Research Lab

Dr. Winsler's research lab is currently exploring four different areas: 1) the quality and type of early childcare experiences for ethnically-diverse, urban children in poverty, and the school readiness and early public school trajectories for such students. Multiple family, child, preschool, public school, and neighborhood predictors of children's delayed entry to kindergarten, early grade retention, early academic performance, special education placement, and high-stakes standardized test results are explored for both typically developing at-risk students and students with disabilities; 2) private speech (self-talk) and parent-child interactions and ment of children's behavioral self-regulation and executive functioning in both typical children and those with autism and/or ADHD; 3) Bilingual language development and maintenance, and the acquisition of English among English Language Learners (ELL) and its role in early and later school performance. Also studied is the sociolinguistic language environments of early childhood classrooms with linguistically diverse children; and 4) Motivation and self-regulated learning as predictors of academic performance and retention among college students. A combination of methods are employed in Dr. Winsler's lab, including direct child-assessments, tasks, and interviews; parent- and teacher-report instruments; secondary analysis of archival datasets; surveys; classroom observations; and the qualitative and quantitative coding and analysis of behavior from video and/or audio tapes.