Teacher Talk during Children's Play in Head Start Preschools: Differences in Quantity, Differences in Quality
Teacher-child interactions in preschool classrooms have been studied extensively (e.g. Mashburn, Pianta, Hamre, et al., 2008), but these interactions during particularly dynamic times of the preschool day are less well-examined. The current study focuses specifically on teacher-child interactions during free choice time (FCT). Teachers in the two higher-scoring classrooms in the study provided more exposure to talk, more sophisticated talk, longer interactions, more discussions, and fewer directives than teachers in the two lower-scoring classrooms. Given the current lack of training in teacher preparation regarding how to talk with children and how to effectively facilitate FCT, this study has implications for teacher preparation and professional development. This study also adds to a research base demonstrating that well-facilitated playtime in preschools can support children's learning, in this case, language development, in developmentally appropriate ways.
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