Links to research articles written by our researchers, and to popular science articles about the Centre and Centre employees.
Winding down the stressed out: Social and emotional learning as a stress coping strategy with Norwegian upper secondary students
[Research Article] International Journal of Emitional Education (Volume 11, Number 2, November 2019) A universal school-based intervention was developed to enhance coping with school-related stress by building students’ social and emotional competence. The intervention was carried out in six classes in three upper secondary schools in southwestern Norway, and covered mindfulness, self-regulated learning, and social competence. Three focus groups were conducted with a stratified selection of general education students (n=24) and one focus group with primary school teachers (n=6). Summative content analysis was conducted using NVivo Software. Findings indicate that the students perceived the core themes useful, and believed that the intervention increased their coping with school-related stress and to some extent improved their learning environment. Teachers’ perceptions supported these findings to some degree. Future directions for universal school-based interventions to build social and emotional competencies are suggested.
Bidirectionality in self-regulation and academic skills in play-based early childhood education
[Research Article] Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (Volume 65, November–December 2019, 101064) Support for the idea that self-regulation and early academic skills co-develop in young children is accumulating. The majority of this research, however, is conducted in countries with a school readiness approach to early childhood education. We investigated bidirectional relations between self-regulation and mathematics, expressive vocabulary, and phonological awareness in children (N = 243, ages 6–7) making the transition from a play-based kindergarten context to a formal educational context in first grade in Norway. Cross-lagged panel models showed that there were bidirectional relations between self-regulation and mathematics, but not between self-regulation and expressive vocabulary or phonological awareness. Expressive vocabulary significantly predicted self-regulation, and self-regulation significantly predicted phonological awareness, although the latter association attenuated when controlling for vocabulary. Given these interrelations, intentionally targeting a combination of these skills in a playful manner may support children's transition from a play-based kindergarten context to a more formal learning environment in first grade.
Perceived Teacher Support and Intentions to Quit Upper Secondary School: Direct, and Indirect Associations via Emotional Engagement and Boredom
[Research Article] Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research (2019) Teachers are crucial agents in adolescents’ school life, and teachers’ roles involve both academic and socio-emotional functions. This study examined how first-year students in upper secondary school in Norway (n = 1379) perceive aspects of teacher support (emotional support, feedback quality, and autonomy granting), and the associations with intentions to quit school. Based on priori considerations, direct associations of teacher support with intentions to quit and indirect associations via emotional engagement and boredom were tested through structural equation modeling. The model was adjusted for GPA, gender, immigrant background, and study track. Results indicated that perceived emotional support was the most central aspect of teacher support, as revealed by both indirect and direct associations with intentions to quit. Feedback quality and autonomy granting were weakly and indirectly associated with intentions to quit. Boredom was an important factor associated with intentions to quit.
Exploring improvement in teachers’ instructional support: classifying and analyzing patterns of change in a national initiative on classroom management
[Research Article] International Journal of Leadership in Education (2019) What teachers do in the classroom is a key determinant of student learning processes and outcomes. The current study explores the levels of and improvement in teachers’ instructional support throughout a school-wide initiative that aimed to develop classroom management in Norwegian lower secondary schools. The sample contained 227 teachers from nine schools. The results of growth mixture modeling (GMM) indicate that the majority of teachers did not improve. The teachers who did improve reported higher initial instructional support levels than the non-improving teachers. The improving teachers also reported higher job satisfaction and less stress from student behavior. No significant differences were found between the two groups with respect to emotional exhaustion and stress from workload. The study illustrates an approach relevant for evaluating improvement in teachers’ practice within specific interventions as well as in ongoing professional development. The results may have implications for the length, focus and content of professional development for teachers. The study provides knowledge that may be relevant to school and district leaders initiating improvement efforts in their school(s).
Physical Activity Reduces Children’s Risk of ADHD Linked to Longer Screen Times
[Popular Science Article] EcoWatch (April 19, 2019): People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.
How Much Screen Time Is Too Much? Over Two Hours Per Day Linked With ADHD and Behavioral Problems in Kids
[Popular Science Article] Newsweek (April 17, 2019): Kindergartners who use screens for more than two hours a day are more likely to show signs of behavioral problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study by Canadian scientists.
Emerging School Refusal: A School-Based Framework for Identifying Early Signs and Risk Factors
[Research Article] Cognitive and Behavioral Practice (Vol. 26, Issue 1, Pages 46-62, February 2019): Student’s academic and social-emotional development is increasingly jeopardized with mounting absence from school. School refusal (SR) is one type of school attendance problem (SAP) that is often associated with absence from school. Once established, it can sometimes be difficult to treat. To prevent established SR and associated problems, indicators of emerging SR and risk for SR should be efficiently identified and acted upon. Risk factors are often discussed in relation to SAPs generally rather than considering risk for specific types of attendance problems. Based on literature review, this paper provides an account of the likely signs and risks for emerging SR. A school-based framework is provided to support school personnel and parents in working together to identify these signs and risks. Several challenges associated with the implementation of the framework are discussed.
Do Teachers Matter? Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Interactions and Student Engagement
[Research Article] Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research (February 11, 2019): The current study examined the associations between students’ perceptions of classroom interactions and students’ emotional and behavioral engagement. Given the nested structure of the data, multilevel analyses were employed to examine these associations. A total of 1769 Norwegian fifth to tenth graders from 100 classes and 10 schools participated in a web-based survey. Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, confirmatory factor analysis and multilevel structural equation modeling. The results indicated that students who perceived high-quality classroom interactions were more engaged in school, and teachers’ emotional support showed the strongest association with engagement at both levels. Furthermore, the findings indicated that primary school students were more engaged emotionally than lower secondary school students, and female students were more behaviorally engaged than male students.
Variation in center quality in a universal publicly subsidized and regulated childcare system
[Research Article] Labour Economics (Vol. 55, December 2018, Pages 230-240): A large literature suggests that high quality childcare programs can produce positive and lasting effects by promoting math, language and social-emotional skills, referred to as school readiness skills, especially for children of parents with low education. Hence, a universal childcare system with easy access has the potential to make a substantial difference in children's lives and reduce socio-economic disparities in educational outcomes. However, if childcare quality varies across centers, universal childcare systems can also potentially increase disparities in school readiness if the children of more highly-educated parents select into centers of higher quality.
Domain-specific effects of attentional and behavioral control in early literacy and numeracy development
[Research Article] Learning and Individual Differences (Vol. 68, December 2018, Pages 61-71): In a longitudinal study, we investigated the direct and indirect contributions of two aspects of executive functioning - attentional and behavioral control - to the development of early literacy and numeracy in kindergarten and first grade.
Trajectories of students’ perceived instructional support
[Research Article] Social Psychology of Education (December 4, 2018, pp 1–25): The aim of this study was to explore trajectories of teachers’ instructional support as perceived by students during a national initiative to develop lower secondary schools. Grade eight and nine students (N = 815) from nine Norwegian schools participated in three waves of data collection within one-and-a-half academic years. Growth mixture model (GMM) techniques were applied to examine change over time in students’ reports of instructional support, allowing the examination of the impact of change in subgroups characterized by different types of growth trajectories.
How teachers can improve their classroom interaction with students: New findings from teachers themselves
[Research Article] Journal of Educational Change (Vol. 19, Issue 4, pp 511–538, November 2018): Teachers are the most important agents in shaping education for students and to bring change and innovation in educational practices. There is a lack of knowledge about how teachers learn and transfer their knowledge into practice in the classrooms. Teacher educators have repeatedly argued that classroom management is a critical pedagogical skill that teachers must master in order to maximize classroom interaction. This study aims to contribute to the understanding of how lower secondary school teachers learn and improve classroom interaction in the context of an educational intervention.
Teachers’ perceptions of their collective and individual learning regarding classroom interaction
[Research Article] Educational Research (November 2018, Vol. 60, Issue 4, Pages 459-477): Collective and individual learning may complement each other and strengthen the learning outcome for teachers, and subsequently increase student learning. Collaboration between individual teachers and collective groups might not only improve teacher professional growth, but also develop school as an organisation.
Perceived Classroom Interaction, Goal Orientation and Their Association with Social and Academic Learning Outcomes
[Research Article] Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research (May 29, 2018): This study aimed to investigate students’ perceptions of classroom interaction and goal orientation in association with academic achievement, school non-attendance, and disobedience among students in lower-secondary schools. The sample contained 1975 students from grades 8–10 (age 14–16) in 11 Norwegian lower-secondary schools. The results generally supported the theoretical model in which classroom interaction is significantly associated with goal orientation, which in turn is associated with academic achievement, school non-attendance, and disobedience. However, some grade-specific relations were observed.