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L. Quentin Dixon Harvard Graduate School of Education. Parents vs. TV. Parents vs. TV . The Relative Importance of Caregiver Language versus TV Language in Predicting English Vocabulary Skills among Bilingual Kindergarten Children in Singapore. Today’s Presentation. Why Singapore?

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L quentin dixon harvard graduate school of education l.jpg

L. Quentin Dixon

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Parents vs. TV


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Parents vs. TV

The Relative Importance of Caregiver Language versus TV Language in Predicting English Vocabulary Skills among Bilingual Kindergarten Children in Singapore


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Today’s Presentation

  • Why Singapore?

  • Previous Research

  • Research Questions

  • Methods

  • Results

  • Discussion


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Why Singapore?

http://www.goway.com/orientasia/singapore/si_img/singapore_map.gif


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Why Singapore?

  • 3 major ethnic groups:

    • 77% Chinese

    • 14% Malay

    • 8% Indian

  • 4 official languages: Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, & English

  • Most families are not native-English speakers

  • English is the medium of education

    • “Mother Tongue” is a required subject


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Why Singapore?

http://www.internationalreports.net/asiapacific/singapore/2002/images/ScienceStudents.jpg


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Why Singapore?

  • Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) 1995

  • Third International Math and Science Study-Repeat (TIMSS-R) 1999

  • Reading Literacy Study 1991

  • Progress in Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2001


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Previous Research: TV and L1 vocabulary

  • L1 English-speaking children learned vocabulary presented through TV (Rice & Woodsmall, 1988)

  • Viewing “Sesame Street” was correlated with vocabulary growth among L1 English-speaking children (Rice, Huston, Truglio, & Wright, 1990).


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Previous Research: TV and L2 vocabulary

  • Home TV viewing significantly predicted Spanish-English bilingual children’s receptive and expressive English vocabulary at the beginning and end of kindergarten in the US (Uchikoshi, 2004).

  • Dutch children learned L2 vocabulary through viewing subtitled and unsubtitled English TV programs (Koolstra & Beentjes, 1999)


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Previous Research: TV and L2 vocabulary

  • Frequency of TV viewing did not significantly predict English vocabulary of bilingual 2-year-old children in the US (Patterson, 2002)


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Research Question

  • What is the role of caretaker language, TV language and mother tongue vocabulary in predicting English vocabulary of kindergarten pupils in Singapore?


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Stratified Random Sample of Kindergarten Centers by Region

http://www.cdc.org.sg/index.html

28 centers participated


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Within Center, Stratified Random Sample of Children by Ethnicity

n = 285

  • 59% Chinese

  • 22% Malay

  • 18% Indian

http://www.mfa.gov.sg/sections/aboutsg/idx_aboutsg.htm



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Predictors Ethnicity

Home Background Questionnaire

  • Caretaker language

  • TV language

    Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III

  • Translated into Mandarin, Malay & Tamil


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Outcome Measures Ethnicity

  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPVT-III) in English


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Control Variables Ethnicity

Home Background Questionnaire

  • Mother’s education

  • Family income

  • Ethnicity

  • Gender



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Data Collection Procedures Ethnicity

  • 6 local bilingual Research Assistants administered tests

    • Fluent Mandarin, Malay, & Tamil speakers

    • Trained to administer child assessments

  • All data were collected within a 3-week period in July, 2003


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Results Ethnicity




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Discussion Ethnicity

  • Supports studies that indicate children can learn vocabulary from TV (Uchikoshi, 2004; Koolstra & Beentjes, 1999; Rice, Huston, Truglio, & Wright, 1990; Rice & Woodsmall, 1988)


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Discussion Ethnicity

Seems to contradict the finding that number of hours of TV viewing did not significantly predict bilingual children’s English vocabulary (Patterson, 2002)

BUT

Number of hours of TV viewing was not significant


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Limitations Ethnicity

  • Correlational

  • Parental report data


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Acknowledgements Ethnicity

Catherine Snow

Terry Tivnan

Barbara Pan

John Willett

Spencer Research Training Grant


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References Ethnicity

Koolstra, C. M., & Beentjes, J. W. J. (1999). Children's vocabulary

acquisition in a foreign language through watching subtitled

television programs at home. Educational Technology Research and

Development, 47(1), 51-60.

Patterson, J. L. (2002). Relationships of expressive vocabulary to

frequency of reading and television experience among bilingual

toddlers. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23(4), 493-508.

Rice, M. L., Huston, A. C., Truglio, R., & Wright, J. (1990). Words from

"Sesame Street": Learning vocabulary while viewing. Develomental

Psychology, 26(3), 421-428.

Rice, M. L., & Woodsmall, L. (1988). Lessons from television: Children's

word learning when viewing. Child Development, 59, 420-429.


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References Ethnicity

Uchikoshi, Y. (2004). Development of early literacy skills

of bilingual kindergarteners: An individual growth

modeling approach. Harvard, Cambridge, MA.


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