Improving the quality of Preschool Teachers' Language Practices in Singapore - An Abstract
Early language development is one of the strongest predictors of later school performance and teachers' language use is found to significantly affect its rate and outcome. Though acknowledged for its importance, teachers' language practice is resistant to change, partially due to lack of profound knowledge about its effective components and inner structure. The current study will zoom in on the Shared Book Reading (SBR) sessions in Singapore preschools and explore the instructional strategies teachers use and the linguistic features they have.
The first objective of the study is to compose a coding scheme that could comprehensively describe Singapore preschool teacher's bilingual instructional strategies and linguistic features based on the literature. Instructional strategies (e.g., comments and questions) will be categorized based on their cognitive demands (high to low), while linguistic features (e.g., lexicon and syntax) will be summarized based on their frequency and complexity. Reliability of this two-set coding scheme will be calculated on each level. The second objective is to explore the inner structure of teachers' instructional strategies and linguistic features with nonlinear time series techniques (i.e., RQA and CRQA). 20 teachers' SBR sessions will be extracted from Singapore Kindergarten Impact Project, with 20 teachers from the top 20% and 20 from the bottom 20% according to their evaluation scores based on Classroom Assessment Scoring System.
The results of this study could potentially
1) inform us about effective bilingual instructional strategies and linguistic features in SBR language practice, and
2) facilitate the design of language interventions that aim at improving teachers' language quality at preschool, and
3) provide an outline for teachers' language evaluation in class.