The facilitative role of adults in the language development of Afrikaans and Sesotho-speaking preschool children Prof JJE Messerschmidt, Ms JCF Venter, Mrs MJ Ramabenyane, Dr CM Vorster Department Curriculum Studies School of Education University of the Free State E-mail: [email protected] INTRODUCTION The cultural diversity of the Republic of South Africa is reflected in: 11 Official Languages Sesotho Afrikaans Differences: • in grammatical structure • in social and cultural environments Family home forms the first language environment for a child and the interaction between children and adults in early language development is stressed INTRODUCTION (continue) A Comparison of language acquisition of Afrikaans- and Sesotho-speaking children between the age of 18 months and 3 years. To describe the facilitative role of adults in the language development of Afrikaansand Sesotho-speaking learners against the background of Vygotsky’s theory on language development. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Vygotsky’s theory on language development and the Zone of Proximal Development Role of adults in the language development of children from different cultural groups VYGOTSY’S THEORY ON LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT AND THE ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT Role of the adult Social contact : primary function of Speech Verbal interaction concept formation SOCIAL-INTERACTIVE BASES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT AND SCAFFOLDING MODEL THE ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT THE ROLE OF THE ADULTS IN THE LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN FROM DIFFERENT CULTURAL GROUPS Adults serve as language models Communication with children Roles of different adults Piagetian cognitive-developmental view – guides and set the stage for learning. Vygotsky-based cognitive-developmental view more prominent and directive Provide scaffolding experiences Give and take conversation –critical factor TABLE 1: RECORDINGS OF INTERACTIONS Child A B H W L R Age 2;2 2;1 2;4 2;0 1;7 1;6 2;5 2;2 2;5 2;1/2 1;10 1;9 2;1 2;0 2;0 2;1 RESEARCH DESIGN Main Aim To determine the role of adults in the language development of Afrikaans- and Sesotho-speaking preschool children. Research questions • • • • What role do adults play in the interaction with the children? Are the adults scaffolding / facilitating language learning and how? Do the participating adults aim at raising the level of development of the children and how? What are the similarities and differences in the social context and the roles of the participating adults of the two language groups? DATA COLLECTION METHODS AND PROCEDURES Demarcation of the study and selection of target group: six children of ages ranging from 18months and 28 months four Afrikaans-speaking children and two Sesotho-speaking children video-recordings: every week of 30 min video-recordings transcribed and analysed (inductive) no categories, but let data speak for itself RESULTS OF THE STUDY Social environment The interaction and facilitative role of the adults - setting the framework - extending paradigms, vocabulary and sentences - scaffolding cohesion - learner-centred facilitating style Interviews with the mothers INITIATING CONVERSATION BY MEANS OF TUTORIAL ”QUESTIONS “WHERE?” SCENARIO 1: L(1;7) Mother: Papa o kae? (Where is daddy?) Child L: A yo. (He is not here.) Mother: O ile kae? (Where has he gone to?) Child L: Le kae? (Gone to?) Mother: Ee. Mama yena o kae? (Yes, Where is Mummy?) [L1:12-16] SCAFFOLDING FUTURE TENSE SCENARIO 2: L(1,7) Mother: Ere "Karabo o a tla ka mosho." (Say "Karabo is coming tomorrow.) Child L: Arabo o te to. [L1:108-109] INITIATING CONVERSATION BY MEANS OF “TUTORIAL” QUESTIONS “MANG”. SCAFFOLDING THE VALUE OF APPRECIATION SCENARIO 3; L (2,0) Researcher: Oo ke mang? (Who is this one?) Child L: Portia. Researcher: Ke mme wa mang? (Whose mother is Portia?) Child L: Ee (Yes). [Researcher gives L fruit] Mother: E re "tanki" (Say "thank you"). Child L: Anki. E a hlala. (Thanks. I am playing). Mother: A re bale he. (Let us read). Researcher: O bapala le mang? (Who are you playing with?) Child L: Nana (Baby). [L3:17-28] SCAFFOLDING LINGUISTIC FORM SCENARIO 4; L(2;0) Mother: Child L: Mother: Child L: Mother: Child L: Mother: Child L: O ile kae? (Where has she gone to?) A tlung (In the house). Ka tlung? (In the house?) Ee (Yes). O kae Busi? (Where is Busi?) O ile kolong (She has gone to school). Sekolong (School). Ee (Yes). [L3:41-48] Mother: Child L: Mother: Child L: Mother: Child L: Kibi o kae? (Where is Kibi?) A yo (He is not around). O ile kae? (Where has he gone to?) Etse (Asleep). O robetse? (Is he asleep?) Ee (Yes). [L3:66-71] HIGHLIGHTING THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN AFRIKAANS AND SESOTHO-SPEAKING CHILDREN IN INITIATING CONVERSATIONS STARTING WITH THE TUTORIAL QUESTIONS SCENARIO 5: B(2,1) [The father sits with the computer on his lap and show photo's. The mother takes the videorecording.] Father: Wie’s daai? (Who's that?) Child B: Lelia. Father: Wat doen Celia? (What is Celia doing?) Child B: Hmmm … B Mother: Speel sy met B? (Is she playing with B?) Father: Celia hou vir B vas. Wie’s daai? (Celia is holding B. Who's that?) Child B: B tit (sit). (B tits). Father: B wat? (B what?) Child B: B … eh ..tyn (tuin). (B ... eh garden). Father: B sit in die tuin. Dis reg. En daai, wat’s daai wat daar spuit? (B sits in the garden. That's right. And that, what's that that there?) Child B: Pyt (spuit). (spray ) [B1:56-66] [Later the child repeatly says "torietjie", meaning "storietjie" (story). The father does not understand and continues with questions on the photo's. The mother interprets the child correctly.] Mother: Storietjie ... Wil jy 'n storietjie hoor? (Story ... Do you want to hear a story?) [B1:72] Mother: [takes place next to the child on the coach.] Daarsy! Kom ons kyk 'n bietjie wat's hier in! (There we are! Let us look what in here). [She opens the book and starts with tutorial questions] [B1:89] EXTENDING VOCABULARY AND SENTENCES SCENARIO 6: B(2;2) [Mother and child are talking about the moon and stars in a book.] Child B: Hm. [looks up]: Wa(ar) sterretjie? (Where star?) Mother: Sterretjies is net in die aand. In die aand dan kan jy die sterretjies en die maan sien. (Stars are only at night. At night, then you can see the stars and the moon). Hoor daar! Wat is dit? Wat maak so? (Listen! What is that?) Child B: Plane. Mother: Is dit 'n plane? Dis 'n vliegtuig ja! (Is it a "plane"? It's a plane (in Afrikaans), yes). Child B: Vliegtuig maak. (Plane makes). Mother: 'n Vliegtuig maak so. (A plane makes like this) .Child B: [Makes noises]. Mother: Ja, hy dreun! Hoor hoe dreun hy. .......(Yes, it rumbles! Listen how it rumbles). [B2:450-457] FACILITATING THE CONSTRUCTION OF A RELATIVE CLAUSE SCENARIO 7: W(2:1/2) Mother: Dis mooi né! (It's nice, he!) Child W: Ja. Dis Tannie Betsie se rooi kar (Yes. It’s Aunty Betsie's red car). Mother: Wat daar ry. Hy ry vinnig (That drives over there. It drives quickly). Child W: Dis Tannie Bes wat da ry. ....(It's Aunty Bess's car that drives over there). [W2:86-89] SCAFFOLDING COHESION “ADVERBS” SCENARIO 8:H(2;4) [The theme is being naughty. Child H identifies a naughty boy at the play group.] Father: Child H: Father: Child H: Child H: Child H: Father: JP. Wat het hy gedoen vandag? (JP. What did he do today?) Hy't my ogies geslaan. (He hit my eyes). Het hy jou ogies geslaan? (Did he hit your eyes?) Hm.Father: En toe? Toe huil jy? (And then? Did you cry?) Hm.Father: Het jy? (Did you?) Ek het eina gekry. (I was hurt). Het jy eina gekry? En toe? Wat het Lida gemaak? (Were you hurt? And then? What did Lida do?) Child H: Toe het Lida met hom gehaas (geraas). (Then Lida scolded at him). [H1:155-164] A LEARNER-CENTRED FACILITATING STYLE (1) THE MOTHER PUTS CHALLENGES AND ENCOURAGES PROBLEM-SOLVING SCENARIO 9: H(2;5) Child H: Mamma. Mother: Ja. Child H: Sê vir my wat doen ek met my kama (kamera). (Tell me what am I doing with my camera). Mother: H, wat doen jy met jou kamera? (H, what are you doing with your camera?) Child H: Sit hom hie innie boojtjie se hm ... in sy ... sy plek in. (Putting it in the drill's hm ... in its ... its place in). Mother: Sit hom waar? (Putting it where?) Child H: Hieso in. (In here). Mother: Op ‘n plek? (In a place?) Child H: Hierie plekkie. (This place). Mother: Ek sien. Ai! Ai! (I see. Ai! Ai!) [H2:107-114] Later in the dialogue: [Child puts drill in toolbox] A LEARNER-CENTRED FACILITATING STYLE (2) Mother: Daarsy! Pas hy in? (There he is! Does it fit?) Child H: Hm. Mother: Joe-joe-joe! Is jy bly? (Joe-joe-joe! Are you happy?) Child H: [Want to close the toolbox]. Hy makie nog toe nie (It does not close again). Mother: Uh-uh. Kan hy nie toemaak nie? (Uh-uh. Can't it not close?) Child H: Uh. Hielie ... hierie ding kannie toemakie. (Uh. This ... this thing cannot close). Mother: Hoekom nie? (Why not?) Child H: Somme nie. (Because). Mother: Dink jy die boortjie is te groot? (Do you think the drill is too big?) Child H: Ja. (Yes). Mother: Hm. Mamma sien ook so. (Yes. Mommy also sees). [H2:154-165] DISCUSSION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE RESULTS AND FINDINGS OF THE STUDY RESEARCH QUESTION 1 Parents play an important role in the interaction with the children by: Encouraging language production Inviting children to do things together Allowing children to take the initiative Making requests for action DISCUSSION AND INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS (CONTINUE) RESEARCH QUESTION 2 Adults, especially mothers and some of the Afrikaans fathers were raising the level of language development by: Extending the paradigm of wh-questions’ Expanding utterances of children as examples of a higher level of language development, Scaffolding for cohesion with adverbs especially with the older children, Encouraging problem-solving by means of learner-centred style Using repetition While mothers were seen as real facilitators, other adults seemed to spoil the developmental patterns, DISCUSSION AND INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS (continue) RESEARCH QUESTION 3 The facilitative role of the mothers was similar in many respects. This may be a manifestation of a universal subconscious ability of mothers and caretakers to adapt their speech when communicating with pre-school children. Some of the differences in scaffolding were noted, were probably due to the fact that Afrikaans children were a little older at the time the transcriptions were taken. It seems that in the Sesotho culture adults and children were talking mainly about people (and not about things) Iin the Afrikaans environment books are highly valued in facilitating language development. The Sesotho environment seems to lag in this respect. It seems as if the television has taken over from the old tradition of story telling. INTERVIEWS WITH THE MOTHERS (1) All mothers agree that they play important roles in the language development of their children, Three of the mothers say that they help with pronunciation. All mothers believe that they teach vocabulary Mother A views books as part of the environment Mother B explicitly mentions that mothers or caretakers should be an example for the children She also mentions that her child uses the words he hears from the stories read to him by the caretaker Mother C mentions books, magazines and TV programmes Mother D mentioned toys and cell-phones as aids in language development INTERVIEWS WITH THE MOTHERS (2) AFRIKAANS MOTHERS (A&B) Usually first to communicate with their children Consider interaction very important Reading is also considered very important SOTHO MOTHERS (C & D) Refer to the roles of others in the community Usually encourage their children to speak up Take their children to places like shops and church to encourage language development Afrikaans mothers view books as part of the environment Sotho mothers emphasize significance of other community members RECOMMENDATIONS Caretakers of preschool children should take cognizance of the important facilitative role adults play in the language development of children. They should take an example of the scaffolding done by mothers in a close relationship with their children. They should create an environment conducive to language development where the use of books should have a place. This is more significant in the Sesotho environment where the lack of books is a concern. Caretakers as well as teachers in multicultural situations should be aware of cultural differences and adapt their interaction to incorporate appropriate scaffolding in order to maximise cognitive and language development. CONCLUSION Description of the facilitative role of adults in the language development of some Afrikaans and Sesotho children. Mothers and some fathers aimed at raising the level of language development and operate in zones of proximal development. This scaffolding is an ongoing process and levels are raised on a continuous and progressive basis. Similarities between the cultural groups are proof of the universality of the phenomenon. Differences in the environment and interaction style of the cultural groups also come to the fore.