Teachers' expression of mental state talk in Head Start classrooms

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth K. King (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Karen La Paro

Abstract: This study examined teachers' use of four categories of mental state talk (verbalizations of mental processes using emotion terms, cognition terms, desire terms, and perception terms) in approximately hour-long observations in 34 Head Start classrooms. Transcriptions of teacher-child interactions were coded utterance by utterance for teachers' expression of the four categories of mental state talk terms, the sentence type the term was used within, the referent of the mental state term, and the classroom activity context within which the teacher was interacting with children. Results indicate that teachers used varying amounts of overall mental state talk and categories of mental state talk, and teachers' used of mental state talk differed depending on the sentence type, referent, and classroom activity contexts. Teachers were more likely to use emotion and cognition terms within statements than within questions, and teachers were more likely to refer to their own emotions than to children's emotions. Differences in teachers' use of categories of mental state talk were found to be associated with teachers' characteristics and observed classroom quality as assessed by the CLASS; teachers in classrooms rated higher in Emotional Support (specifically, Positive Climate and Regard for Student Perspectives) used more emotion terms. Future research and implications for teachers' professional development are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Head Start, Mental state talk, Teacher language
Communication in education $x Social aspects $z North Carolina $z Guilford County
Head Start programs $z North Carolina $z Guilford County
Early childhood teachers $z North Carolina $z Guilford County
Classroom environment $z North Carolina $z Guilford County

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