A Study of Reasoning Talk Between Australian Chinese Mothers and Their Preschool Children: What Messages Are Mothers Sending?

Jiangbo Hu*, Jane Torr

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The everyday conversations that occur between mothers and children, particularly those involving reasoning, are a major vehicle for the transmission of information and values to young children. This study explored the manner in which five Australian Chinese mothers engaged in reasoning talk with their preschool-aged children. A total of 83 instances of spontaneous reasoning talk were identified and analysed according to the manner in which the mothers justified their claims or statements, using Hasan’s reasoning structure framework to underpin the analysis. Both regulatory and nonregulatory contexts were analysed. The analysis revealed that in regulatory contexts, where a child’s behaviour is being controlled (for example, “eat up your dinner quickly”), mothers provided more socially based reasons to justify their directives. In nonregulatory contexts, such as shared reading, they used more logical reasoning based on universal laws of nature. The findings suggest that the reasoning talk that takes place between mothers and children provides a rich opportunity for mothers to convey their values to their children, with implications for children’s learning across a number of domains.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)180-193
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Language, Identity and Education
    Volume15
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2016

    Keywords

    • Chinese children
    • Chinese mothers
    • preschool
    • reasoning talk

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