The Feeling Thinking Talking Intervention with Teachers Advances Young Children’s Emotion Knowledge

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Because emotion knowledge and language skills each contribute to children’s success in school and life, the Feeling Thinking Talking (FTT) intervention combines the advancement of language skills and of emotion knowledge in teachers’ child-directed conversations. Teachers from centers of early childhood education in Germany were taught Language Support Strategies and how to apply them during emotion talk while reading picture books, while reminiscing about emotional events, and in everyday conversations with the children in their care. The evaluation of the FTT intervention entailed a comparison between the FTT group (N = 43) and a business-as-usual (BAU) control group (N = 67) with N = 110 children (Mage = 49.41 months, range = 33-66 months at T1) who were individually tested using objective tests on receptive vocabulary and emotion knowledge before (T1) and after the FTT intervention (T2), and in a follow-up three to six months later (T3). After a multiple imputation procedure, mixed multilevel models indicated that the children taught by the FTT group teachers made faster progress in their emotion knowledge than their agemates in the BAU condition, especially in their knowledge of mixed emotions, when numerous covariates were controlled. Results suggest that young children’s emotion knowledge can be promoted alongside with language skills by a teacher-led intervention supporting child-directed emotion talk in early childhood education. Discussion focuses on emotion talk as the mechanism for the transmission of emotion knowledge.
Keywords: Early childhood education, teacher-led intervention, emotion knowledge, language support strategies, professional education
Research Highlights:
• The Feeling Thinking Talking (FTT) intervention integrates the advancement of language skills and emotion knowledge in a training of early childhood teachers’ child-directed conversations.
• Emotion knowledge of children whose teachers had participated in the FTT training improved over time when compared to a control group and age, sex, vocabulary, and other covariates were controlled.
Translated title of the contributionDie Fühlen Denken Sprechen Intervention mit Fachkräften verbessert das Emotionswissen von jungen Kindern
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Development
ISSN0961-205X
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23.12.2021