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Early Childhood Special Education Teachers' Use of Embedded Learning Opportunities Within Classroom Routines and Activities

Rahn, Naomi L., PhD; Coogle, Christan Grygas, PhD; Ottley, Jennifer R., PhD

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000132
Original Research/Study

Embedded learning opportunities are one evidence-based practice for addressing individualized education program goals for young children with special needs. In this study, we used quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze 8 early childhood special education teachers' use of embedded learning opportunities during the usual conditions of typical classroom activities. We analyzed video-recorded 10-min segments of adult-directed, child-directed, and routine activities for each teacher's use of embedded learning opportunities to address their children's individualized education plan goals. In addition, we gathered qualitative data on teachers' perceptions, barriers, and needed supports regarding embedded learning opportunities. Teachers used embedded learning opportunities infrequently, but there was significant variation among teachers. Teachers used verbal antecedents (e.g., directives, questions, and models) most frequently and were most likely to address children's communication goals. There were no differences in the rate of teachers' use of embedded learning opportunities across activity types. Teachers reported needing supports such as training and additional staff to implement embedded learning opportunities. Implications for teacher training and research are discussed.

College of Education and Human Services, West Virginia University, Morgantown (Dr Rahn); Early Childhood Education Program, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia (Dr Coogle); and Department of Teacher Education, Ohio University, Athens (Dr Ottley). Dr Rahn is now with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Madison.

Correspondence: Christan Grygas Coogle, PhD, Early Childhood Education Program, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030 (ccoogle@gmu.edu).

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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