Preschool Teacher-Child Verbal Interactions in Science Teaching

Tsung-Hui Tu, Ph.D., Wei-Ying Hsiao,Ed.D.


This study examined verbal interactions between 20 preschool head teachers (N = 20)
and their students in 13 Midwestern child care centers; preschool head teachers were
videotaped for two consecutive days during morning free play time. By operationalizing
Neuman's concept of "sciencing", this study used The Preschool Teacher
Classroom/Sciencing Coding Form, The Preschool Teacher Verbal Interaction Coding
Form, and The Preschool Classroom Teacher Interview Form to analyze preschool
teachers’ verbal interactions with children in science teaching and teachers’ perspectives
about science teaching. During the observation period, the most frequent verbal
interaction entailed giving learning guidance. Teachers used more verbal statements than
questioning statements; they tended to interact with children mostly in the art area.
Comparing teacher verbalizations on Day 1 and Day 2 revealed that on Day 1 in typical
activities teachers used more praise, acknowledge statements, and closed questions than
on Day 2 when a science activity was provided for the head teachers. On Day 2 they used
more learning guidance, information talk statements, and more attention-focusing
questions. The study showed that preschool teachers tended to use more measuring and
counting questions in the block and manipulative areas and used more reasoning
questions in the dramatic play area.


Preschool;Verbal Interactions;Science;Education

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