professional learning, neuroscience, behavior, early childhood educators, beliefs, practices, challenging behavior
How early childhood educators understand and interpret the challenging behavior of children will affect how they respond and influence student-teacher relationships. While recent neuroscience explains how challenging behavior can be understood as an automatic response to neurophysiological stress, this research is seldom shared with early childhood educators who generally report lacking tools to manage child behavior and may interpret all challenging behavior as a willful act. This mixed method study examined the effects of a 2-day professional learning (PL) program regarding the neuroscience of child behavior on early educator beliefs and practices in regard to challenging behavior. Pre-post analysis of survey data with 42 participants (PL = 20, control = 22) shows a significant change in beliefs and practices from a “misbehavior” lens to a more supportive stance for the PL participants. Themes from post PL site visits and focus groups with PL participants support this result. Findings suggest that professional learning on the neurophysiological roots of child behavior should be considered for inclusion in the pre-service and in-service training programs of early childhood educators.
Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies (FAHCS)
Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Leadership
Early Childhood Education Journal
Peer Reviewed/Refereed Publication
© Angie Rosati & Jacqueline Lynch
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Original Publication Citation
Rosati, A,, & Lynch, J. (2023). Professional learning on the neuroscience of challenging behavior: effects on early childhood educators' beliefs and practices. Early Childhood Education Journal, 51:235–245. doi.org/10.1007/s10643-021-01301-2
Rosati, Angie and Lynch, Jacqueline, "Professional Learning on the Neuroscience of Challenging Behavior: Effects on Early Childhood Educators’ Beliefs and Practices" (2022). Publications and Scholarship. 22.