The project aims to provide to practitioners with the methodology and the instruments for self-evaluation and self-improvement at a ‘low cost’ way. To achieve this goal, the project will implement to the educational field an innovative technique named Discrete Choice Modeling (DCM). The DCM is widely used in marketing, biostatistics and other scientific areas, while its use in education is still very sparse. The usefulness of the DCM is that it reveals the real and actual preferences of the responders, by extracting their representations about a topic.
By implementing the DCM method in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), the project will develop a self-assessment tool and a self-improvement educational package to investigate and in turn to support the way early childhood educators promote physical activities in their classroom. Physical activities in ECEC were selected as the domain for which the Self-Improvement Educational Package (SIEP) will be initially developed, because of the integral part physical activity has in the development and learning of young children (CEECD, 2011, OECD, 2001; 2012).
The project will be implemented in four phases:
- Development of the Teacher Self-Assessment Assistant (TSAA): The initial development of the self-assessment tool based on the DCM approach. The TSAA will contain the most important attributes for promoting physical activities in ECEC.
- Self-assessment phase: Test the validity and reliability of the TSAA in a pilot and then a main study. At the end of this phase, the TSAA will be a valid and reliable instrument ready to be applied in the ECEC field practice.
- Development of the Self-Improvement Educational Package (SIEP): The SIEP will be developed based on the attributes contained in the TSAA in order to include supportive materials for all the dimensions of promoting physical activities in ECEC. This way, according to the feedback they will receive from the completion of TSAA, they will be able to use the SIEP and design their personal training agenda.
- Self-improvement phase: Early educators will fill in the TSAA and get feedback about their weaknesses and strengths in promoting physical activities in ECEC. The SIEP will be provided to them and it is anticipated that based on their self-evaluation they will design their personal training agenda based on the contents of the SIEP. Any changes in their competences regarding the promotion of physical activities will be measured. Additional measures will assess any impact on their students’ physical activity levels.