Using social knowledge while interacting at the classroom sand center: Facework and cohesion strategies

The goal of this study is to inform teachers’ practice by identifying specific language strategies that young children use in their play and suggesting ways that teachers can build on our findings to support students’ language and literacy. Deductive analyses of video-recordings of 5-year old children playing at the sand center revealed that children used cohesive strategies, such as repetitions and conjunctions, to tie together the ideas from one speaker to the next, in order to maintain the flow of the play. Children also used facework strategies, such as complimenting peers, softening regulatory language with words such as “just, ” and showing interest in others’ activities. These strategies helped children to build relationships with peers and enhance their positive self-esteem as members of the play group. Children used language primarily for imaginative purposes, in addition to communicating information, regulating others’ behavior, and expressing their individuality and emotional responses to activities at the sand center. Primary teachers may find these results useful for guiding assessment of children’s knowledge of and flexibility in using linguistic and semiotic resources to achieve social purposes and to create cohesive narratives in informal interactions. © The Author(s) 2018.

The goal of this study is to inform teachers’ practice by identifying specific language strategies that young children use in their play and suggesting ways that teachers can build on our findings to support students’ language and literacy. Deductive analyses of video-recordings of 5-year old children playing at the sand center revealed that children used cohesive strategies, such as repetitions and conjunctions, to tie together the ideas from one speaker to the next, in order to maintain the flow of the play. Children also used facework strategies, such as complimenting peers, softening regulatory language with words such as “just, ” and showing interest in others’ activities. These strategies helped children to build relationships with peers and enhance their positive self-esteem as members of the play group. Children used language primarily for imaginative purposes, in addition to communicating information, regulating others’ behavior, and expressing their individuality and emotional responses to activities at the sand center. Primary teachers may find these results useful for guiding assessment of children’s knowledge of and flexibility in using linguistic and semiotic resources to achieve social purposes and to create cohesive narratives in informal interactions. © The Author(s) 2018.

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