Volume 59, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Sharing-time' is a common, purely verbal, group activity between teacher and pupils in Dutch kindergarten. The choice of a conversation is usually free. The children and the teacher are in a circle and the main purpose is to improve the social skills of the students. It would be beneficial if this time could also be used to stimulate language skills. The question, however, is whether a conversation with a free-choice topic is capable of stimulating language proficiency effectively. Our paper reports on a comparison between three free-choice conversations and three so-called subject-centered conversations, in which the subject of discussion is predetermined and made tangible by means of a concrete object. These two types of conversation were compared on the feedback strategies, minimal responses, types of questioning, turn giving, and recognizing pupil input. The most important findings show that in the subject-centered conversations the teachers gave more feedback and different types of questioning were used. The results, and the fact that the pupils were clearly more motivated, lead us to the tentative conclusion that subject-centered conversations are better for the language development of young children than free-choice conversations. Further development of this didactic tool therefore deserves serious attention.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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