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The Association Between Peer and Teacher Interactions,  Classroom Factors, and the Social Participation of Dual Language Learners in Preschool


Principal Investigators: Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, Julia DeLapp
Student Researchers: Allison Lundy, Alyssa Barry, Abigail Bourdon, Kendra Flanagan, Fatima Godina

This study sought to determine the relative contributions of peer, teacher, and classroom variables on the growth of preschool dual language learners' (DDLs) social participation with peers in play over the course of a six-month period.

In the fall, an assessment of English language proficiency was given to all children whose families indicated they spoke or heard a language other than English at home. Children identified through this assessment as  dual language learners were then video recorded multiple times during free play, and researchers coded DLLs' interactions with peers and teacher, verbal interactions during play, use of Spanish during those interactions, play spaces and play materials chosen, and whether interactions with peers were positive. 

Findings: Analysis identified the following variables that predicted the frequency of DLLs’ interactions with their peers: 1) teacher interactions in play that included a child’s home language, 2) positive play behaviors by peers 3) verbalizations by peers during play, and 4) the availability of blocks and replica play toys.

Publication: Trawick-Smith, J., DeLapp, J., Bourdon, A., Flanagan, K., & Godina, F. (2022). The influence of teachers, peers, and play materials on dual language learners’ play interactions in preschool. Early Childhood Education Journal.

Video: Fatima discusses what she learned from her study in a student reflection video.

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