CONNECT Modules: An International Perspective

by Raquel Corval


Raquel Corval, a visiting scholar from Portugal, discusses cross-cultural implications of using the CONNECT Modules in her home country.

As a visiting scholar from Portugal I had the recent opportunity to collaborate with the CONNECT project. I can see how the CONNECT Modules can fill the gap in Portugal for early childhood professionals who may not have enough skills and knowledge to respond to the everyday challenges that they face. One of the goals during my one month stay in the US was to explore ways to translate, adapt and implement CONNECT Modules in my country. I began with Module 1, Embedded Interventions.

As I worked through Module 1, I saw activities that I think will work well in the context of Portugal with some modifications. Some other resources, like the policy advisory  would need to be replaced. My plan is to make the adaptations and translation, then use Module 1 in a three-part workshop; then evaluate the relevance of the design of module and content as well as the efficacy of module on learners’ evidence-based decision-making skills.

The learners in the workshop will be early childhood professionals including preschool teachers, therapists, and psychologists and the trainers and evaluators will include me and my team in Portugal. Breaking the workshop down into 3 different sessions will allow learners to have time to go back to their professional contexts to put what they have learned to practice, then reflect and share back with the group their questions, challenges, things that worked or did not work well.

It is an exciting time for the field of early intervention in Portugal. The new public Portuguese law for EI (Executive Order nr. 281/2009) has led to a coordinated effort between the Ministries of Employment & Social Solidarity, Health Care and Education, in partnership with private services, as well as the engagement of families and communities to begin developing the Early Childhood Intervention National System (SNIPI). The goal of the SNIPI is to ensure that early intervention services are provided throughout the nation, and it has certainly raised expectations amongst professionals, experts and families. Another innovation under the new law is the use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework (ICF-2001) for screening and referring. This makes Portugal one of the first countries to introduce the use of ICF by law.

About the Author: Raquel Corval is a visiting faculty scholar from Portugal, at FPG Child Development Institute, UNC-CH. She was one of the two awardees to receive funding from the American club of Lisbon in 2010 to collaborate with a US institute of higher education. In Portugal, she is an early intervention lecturer in the School of Education at Instituto Superior de Educacao e Ciencias (ISEC). At the same time, she is also a team member of the school’s early intervention center (GADIF).


  • What are some of the challenges you might anticipate in the cross-cultural use of the CONNECT Modules?
  • Are there supports and resources that you think could help extend the use to other countries and cultures?



CONNECT in the portuguese culture

Hello everyone,
As the GADIF team coordinator, I had the opportunity to follow the whole process, before Raquel’s leaving to work one month with the CONNECT team at the Frank Porter Graham Institute, during her stay there and since she returned. I’ve to congratulate Raquel for her enthusiasm since the beginning, investing in the CONNECT project and for her great job, the things already developed during her stay and since she return.
In our centre, GADIF, our team intend to develop a research line focused on the translation and adaption of the CONNECT modules for the Portuguese context. It’s obvious for us that this process need to be carefully planned, implemented and assessed in order to make the changes needed to promote the suitability of the materials. We are also aware of the cultural issues.
In our first CONNECT meeting, after Raquel´s return, the need for Portuguese videos and testimonials was immediately focused and we all agree on that. However, these things take a lot of time and unfortunately we cannot have a team working exclusively on the CONNECT project. Summarizing, this is something that we want to pursue, oriented as much as possible by the plan that is being defined with the CONNECT team, which is being extremely helpful and supportive of our work. There’s a lot done already. A great part of the activities and handouts for the learners on module 1 were translated to Portuguese and in a short period of time will be revised to achieve an agreement on the first draft version.
Also, I would like to acknowledge the support given by the CONNECT team at the FPG for their confidence and encouragement that is being given and tell them that their wise advices, opinions and suggestions are always welcome in our work.
Best regards

CONNECT in the portuguese culture

Hello Pam and everybody,
since the time our PhD student Susana Castro participated with you in the discussions regarding the Module 1, we are very much committed in the process of the Portuguese translation and adaptation of CONNECT – Pam, as previously referred, I believe that it would be of great interest to first implement the materials in a smaller scale, to pilot their adequacy. In fact, as we have been receiving all your materials since last summer, in the scope of our teams’ ECI Project we have been implementing some of the materials and are in the process of introducing sub-titles in some of the videos. Also some masters students are involved in the implementation and study of CONNECT materials in the scope of their research. We haven't had opportunity to share ideas with the Lisbon team, but are looking forward to it.
As Raquel Corval and Isabel Chaves de Almeida (from the Lisbon team) are coming to attend some seminars in our faculty the present week, we will be talking about this and will share our ideas and post our comments on the blog.
I am thrilled with this joint venture!
Thanks! Best,
Ana Isabel Pinto


I think that this project is of an extremely importance here in Portugal, because most of the childhood professionals don't have the skills, knowledge and formation needed.But I have some questions: can we use and apply the online information? or do we need to have some training before?

Portuguese translation

Hello everyone!
Congratulations on the very hard and useful work you all have been doing!
I am particularly interested (along with my team in Porto University) on the translation and adaptation of the CONNECT modules to Portugal. I believe Raquel is doing a very good job with module one, however, I wonder how did she get to the 70% of similarities between videos and activities of the connect module and the Portuguese culture. Could you please share this with us? I would say the cultural might be very prominent, and maybe it was important to develop similar videos but with Portuguese families and Portuguese Professionals, and maintain the activities. What do you say about this? How can we here in Porto collaborate on this adaptation more closely? ,br /> Kind regards to everyone,
Susana Castro and the Porto team

Portuguese translation

Thanks so much for your interest and comments, that helps to explain the process and my thinking about the work I´ve been doing with Module I. When I say 70% of the activities, I´m not including the videos (and american handouts about policies, legislation)as I think they are cultural-specific and would need to be replaced by portuguese ones. Like you said, what I think is that a great percentage of the handouts and activities will suite our professionals concerns on how to give a better response to children and promote quality. Moreover, I think that the 5 steps learning can be very helpful for them.
I hope we can accomplish this great (and central) goal of producing Portuguese materials, creating new videos, making interviews with portuguese experts on those subjects, developing documents about the portuguese policies, recommended practices, legislation, getting the families testimonials, etc. But now, I think the first step is actually having the GADIF team going through the materials already translated by me during my stay at the Frank Porter Graham and get an agreement on the right concepts tu use (such as how will we translate embedded interventions, environmental modifications, etc.), adaptations that should be made in the activities to fit better in our context, think about new activities, etc. Then, we will need to test it and find its weaknesses and strenghts.
That´s a lot of work but the challenge is worth it!

developing Portugese videos

We at CONNECT are so excited and supportive of all the activities in Portugal focused on the cross-cultural translation. Producing videos in Portugal demonstrating the practices within the Portugese context is an excellent idea. As you know the majority of the videos we are using illustrate community-based practitioners working with real children and families in real settings. They were not rehearsed. Most of these we developed ourselves here in NC, but we have been fortunate that in some cases we have been able to use video resources developed by our colleagues around the country. For example, Larry Edelman, a member of our CONNECT Steering Committee, has developed and implemented a very interesting project called Results Matter. Early interventionists and teachers in his project are using affordable and portable videocams to build their observation, assessment and practice skills. The videotapes made by teachers are at this link
I share this in the spirit of thinking about different ways to collect video examples that demonstrate effective practices.
Raquel can speak more about how she assessed the different CONNECT assets and decided which ones to use in the Portugese translation. I think a big motivating factor was practicality.
Eager to hear more...and to invite others from Portugal and other countries to join this discussion.

developing Portugese videos

I am amazed at the creative and effective ways that teachers and early intervention providers have been using video to better serve children and families. And I also think that video is one of the most powerful ways to illustrate exemplary practices. The project that Pam referenced is actually titled the "Results Matter Digital Video Initiative" and is just one small component of Results Matter, which is the Colorado Department of Education's statewide system of child and family outcome measurement. This video project in Colorado is growing by leaps and bounds and we've added about 20 new providers this fall. Recently we've added 15 new video clips and more to come soon to the web site:
I have also been facilitating a video project with preschool special educators in California that is a partnership among the Desired Results access project, Los Angeles Unified School District, and the California Department of Education's Special Education Division. This winter we will be expanding to include new programs and providers in other parts of California. There are some very interesting and useful examples of the teachers' stellar work available for viewing and downloading at:

developing Portugese videos

Larry, Thanks for providing this additional information about the wealth of web-based resources that have come from these projects.

Portugese translation

Hello Raquel,
The process you used for creating the translation is very thorough and might be a good model for others. Perhaps you would be willing to share with others? We could help create a document that would outline the steps you are taking. Thanks for all you and your colleagues are doing. Hello to all.

Portuguese translation

That’s an excellent idea. To let you know about my experience with the CONNECT I’ll share with you the main goals I established for my one month visit to the FPG. First of all, I tried to become familiar with the CONNECT materials already developed and then analyze the suitability of the videos, activities, materials, module structure for the Portuguese learners. I found that around 70% of the activities were suitable, reflecting the Portuguese culture and dilemmas. However, all the activities and handouts related to the policies, legislation and rights needed to be replaced by new ones informing about the Portuguese context. Then the translation and adaptation began. I decided to translate the learner’s materials first. It’s done now! That was my priority because without it I couldn’t implement the module for Portuguese learners. Simultaneously, I began to work on the course outline and goals. Through some discussion with the CONNECT team and my own team in Portugal we decided to test the CONNECT with a three-part workshop as I explained in the blog. However, we thought that could be a good idea to another session (4th)to make a follow-up, 3 months later.
During my stay I tried as much as I could to get a deeper contact and understanding of the modules development, participating in every team meetings on the CONNECT Modules. Another thing that could have helped a lot would be my participation in a course where the instructor could be using the CONNECT modules but unfortunately one month was not enough the arrange it. But I think that can be very helpful and give important insights and ideas about its use.
Now, I’m in Portugal again with a plan for the CONNECT. The next steps will be:
- All the team will go through the activities and handouts to “evaluate” the translation, adaptation, make suggestions, etc. We hope that in 3 months time, we will have the final version of the Portuguese Module 1. I´ll keep in touch to let you know what we´ll do next!

Portuguese translation

Hi Raquel
Thanks for sharing the process and ideas on how you are adapting CONNECT modules for the Portuguese context. There has been interest from China, Singapore, Canada and Australia about the modules and I think all the information you are sharing on your adaptation process will be greatly appreciated. It's never easy being a pioneer so let us know how we can continue to help support your work.

Portuguese translation

Hello Raquel, Pam and Chihing,
I am happy to hear that Raquel is implementing module 1 in Portugal. I've have discussing it with my team in Porto (Portugal) and we are very interested in collaborating in the adaptation of the connect modules in several ways - coursework, training, supervision - but we think the process of adaptation should be carefully planned. It would be interesting if you could share with us the method of adaptation for Portuguese cultural context you used, since it seems to us that cultural differences are prominent. How did you analyze the materials and conclude about 70% of similarities? Would it be interesting to develop similar videos with Portuguese families?
We are happy to discuss this in further detail soon - perhaps in the 27th of November in Porto? Looking forward to discuss this with Raquel, as well as hearing Pam's suggestions.
Best regards to all the connect team,
Susana Castro and the Porto team

Portuguese translation

We look forward to this. Let us know how we can help disseminate information about this resource when it is available. We will announce it on our website and through our electronic newsletter. You might, in fact, want to ensure that your colleagues in Portugal have signed up for our electronic alerts, if you think they are interested in being on the mailing list. Chih-Ing Lim is the contact for dissemination. Are there contacts in Brazil that we should include in our announcement about the Portugese translation? Thanks and greetings to your team!