Research Findings: Preschool is a critical period during which children’s development and learning exert a long-lasting impact on their school adjustment and academic outcomes. Although research on monolingual English-speaking children has identified elements of high-quality preschool experiences that can serve as the foundation for teaching all young children, educators recognize that the current knowledge may be insufficient to promote dual language learners’ (DLLs) optimal learning. An area in which more research is needed to better serve DLLs in the preschool setting concerns how teachers use their students’ home language in the classroom. Using multilevel modeling, this study examined the specific ways teachers use students’ home language (Spanish) in their various verbal exchanges in the classroom (i.e., giving directions, requesting language, providing and eliciting contextualized information, and providing and eliciting decontextualized information). These conversations with Latine DLLs, as measured by the Language Interaction Snapshot, uniquely contributed to students’ language and social skills at the end of the Head Start academic year. Results revealed statistically significant relations between teachers’ Spanish talk and DLLs’ social outcomes. Specifically, teachers’ Spanish talk with DLLs and DLLs’ initial English and Spanish skills were positively associated with the latter’s interactive peer play behaviors, whereas DLLs’ initial English skills were negatively associated with their disconnected peer play behaviors. Practice or Policy: Implications for promoting more equitable language learning environments in preschool and for teacher professional development, as well as potential directions for future research investigating DLLs’ school readiness skills, are discussed. (author abstract)
Habla conmigo: Teachers’ Spanish talk and Latine dual language learners’ school readiness skills
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