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Social competence and oral language development for young children of Latino immigrants

In this study we analyze how parent and teacher ratings of young Latino children's social competencies in rural California are associated with children's oral language development. We find (a) that there is considerable incongruence between parent and teacher ratings of child social competence, (b) that both parent and teacher ratings account for meaningful variation in children's oral language development, and (c) that incongruence between parent and teacher ratings is associated with oral language above and beyond the effects of parent and teacher ratings alone. Practice or Policy: Young Latino children's social competencies contribute to their oral language development. These competencies represent an important, though to date underutilized, asset for building stronger academic/language functioning. Part of the paradoxical development of Latino children (i.e., strong social though weak academic/language competence) could be attributable to cultural differences that underlie teacher and parent perceptions of social competence. Teachers of young Latino children should (a) be aware of the cultural nature of social competence and (b) explore culturally responsive ways of interacting in classrooms to build stronger oral language functioning. (author abstract)
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Reports & Papers
United States
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Executive Summary
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