Drs. Tiedan Huang and Chun Zhang have been awarded a $365,000 research grant by The Foundation for Child Development. Between December 2016 and December 2018, they will join the NYC Early Childhood Research Network, which includes scholars from Columbia University, New York University, Fordham University, Bank Street College, and the City University of New York (CUNY), to examine early care programs and their workforce focusing on dual language learners in New York City’s Universal Pre-K programs in public and community-based settings.
Working with colleagues from the Network, Huang and Zhang will send feedback to the New York City Department of Education, Administration of Children’s Services, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that will inform and improve current New York City Universal Pre-K program policies and practices.
GSE Dean Virginia Roach, Ed.D., is particularly excited about this project. She says, “Because this research addresses classroom practice from the perspective of the labor force, the findings will not only be helpful to the field, but to our programming here in the graduate School of Education. I congratulate the faculty in developing a research project that will impact the field nationally, in New York City, and at Fordham, demonstrating the power of well-designed research studies.”
According to Huang and Zhang, social interaction with linguistically knowledgeable adults plays an important role in children’s language acquisition. They will conduct intensive classroom observations across 50 locations in New York City, as well as use various research methods to collect information on the workforce characteristics, instructional practices, and professional learning needs of teachers and site leaders. Though their research, they hope to gain a better understanding of relationships among characteristics of early care and education professionals, program components and supports, and optimal classroom instructional practices.