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Evidence for General and Domain-Specific Elements of Teacher–Child Interactions: Associations With Preschool Children's Development

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Abstract

This study evaluates a model for considering domain-general and domain-specific associations between teacher–child interactions and children's development, using a bifactor analytic strategy. Among a sample of 325 early childhood classrooms there was evidence for both general elements of teacher–child interaction (responsive teaching) and domain-specific elements related to positive management and routines and cognitive facilitation. Among a diverse population of 4-year-old children (= 1,407) responsive teaching was modestly associated with development across social and cognitive domains, whereas positive management and routines was modestly associated with increases in inhibitory control and cognitive facilitation was associated with gains in early language and literacy skills. The conceptual and methodological contributions and challenges of this approach are discussed.

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