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Support for extended discourse in teacher talk with linguistically diverse preschoolers

A study was conducted in a large Head Start organization that serves large numbers of Latino children in order to empirically describe the nature and quality of the classroom language learning environment. By observing 147 literacy-based lessons in 6 classrooms and surveying 167 teachers throughout the organization, we investigated the amount of teachers' use of extended discourse during literacy-based lessons, and when and how Spanish and/or English was used as the medium of communication. Research Findings: Only 22% of the 147 literacy-based lessons observed fostered extended discourse; the most commonly implemented lesson was characterized by a routine format of the teacher talking and the children listening. English was regarded as the language of instruction, whereas Spanish was used mostly to regulate behavior and emotions. By fitting multilevel models to the data, we found that teaching practice was relatively stable across the classrooms. Practice or Policy: More emphasis should be placed on professional training focused on supporting classroom language interactions that foster literacy development and on the use of language that best fosters and facilitates such extended discourse. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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