Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 72667
Teachers’ Practices during Group Conversation at Prekindergartens in Quebec

Authors: Élizabelle Ouellet, Angélique Laurent, Constance Lavoie


Group conversation, also known as circle time, is a learning context frequently used in preschool education in Quebec. This context is an ideal opportunity for teachers to support the development of children’s language and thinking development. Moreover, circle time encourages interactive conversations between the teacher and the children in a group setting. However, the research done on this topic was conducted mostly in the last decade and concerned kindergarten teachers’ practices. In addition, the literature suggests some issues about teachers’ practices to enhance children’s language and thinking. For example, teachers use basic language strategies such as repeating, asking closed-ended questions or talking more than the children during this activity. In Quebec, before 2019, prekindergartens were only available for children from 4 to 5 and coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds and are now accessible for all children across the province regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds. Therefore, the objective of this research is to describe the practices used by prekindergarten teachers to lead conversational groups. Based on the conceptual framework of Doyon and Fischer (2010) for five years old kindergarten, this study allows a scientific update and adaptation of their grid for analyzing teachers’ practices during group conversation for four years old prekindergarten. In the sample, the participants were 13 full-time female prekindergarten teachers. They were all trained and experienced in preschool education. For the method, more than 6 hours of circle times were filmed and analyzed by one researcher with Nvivo. Two other researchers conducted 20% of blind coding throughout the process. The analysis grid included three types of practices: 1) management practices, 2) communication orientation practices, and 3) feedback practices. Management practices refer to the management of children's behaviors and of their turns to talk. Communication orientation concerns the combination of a topic (or theme) and a communicative intention. Feedback practices is about the use of open-ended questions, extension related to the children’s statement, and positive comments. Preliminary results showed that, regarding management practices, teachers and children are seating in circle, and the management is mostly done by the teachers. Concerning communication intention practices, the main theme is chosen by the teachers and is mainly about personal experiences. In terms of feedback practices, most of them are related to the ideas and the concepts children state, and few are about phonology, syntax, or vocabulary. The practical contributions will be used for initial and continuing training in the fields of preschool education and oral language teaching.

Keywords: education, prekindergarten, group conversation, teachers' pedagogical practices, language development

Procedia PDF Downloads 10