Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top

Published on May 09, 2022

CECE Releases Findings from Study of Multilingual Learners

First page of journal articleCECE investigators and student researchers have published "The influence of teachers, peers, and play materials on dual language learners’ play interactions in preschool" in Early Childhood Education Journal. The article describes findings from a study observing the interactions of emergent bilingual preschoolers and their peers and teachers. Former endowed chair Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, CECE director Julia DeLapp, and students Abby Bourdon, Fatima Godina, and Kendra Flanagan conducted the study and contributed to the article.

For the study, researchers video recorded the play interactions of dual language learners (DLLs) for a total of 80 minutes per child. Researchers then coded each minute of video footage, examining DLL interactions with teachers and peers and identifying the play materials and play areas chosen by children during free play. Researchers noted whether teachers or peers spoke to DLLs, and whether verbalizations included a DLL's home language.

The study found that four variables predicted the frequency of DLLs' interactions with peers:

  • Teacher interactions with DLLs during play that included a child's home language
  • Positive play behaviors by peers
  • Peers speaking to DLLs during play
  • DLL play with blocks or replica play toys

"This study is a culmination of years of work that we are so proud to finally see published," noted research assistant Abby Bourdon, '22. "I am lucky to not only have learned throughout the experience, but also grateful to have expanded the field of education. Having the opportunity to participate in research was one of the best parts of Eastern for me, and it confirmed my passion to continue to teach and learn about children's development." 

Research assistant Fatima Godina added, “As a dual language learner myself, it was really interesting to be part of this study and get to see the results. It really influenced my future career, and it sparked an interest in the field of research." (See a video of Fatima further describe her experience working on this study.)