Infants’ experience with ‘near and clear’ educator talk: individual variation and its relationship to indicators of quality

Sheila Degotardi*, Feifei Han, Jane Torr

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study investigated the quantity of audible and intelligible (‘near and clear’) educator talk directly experienced by under-two-year-old infants attending early childhood education and care (ECEC) programmes and examined whether the quantity of educator talk was related to characteristics of quality in their ECEC room. Participants were 57 infants attending separate infant rooms in and around the Sydney metropolitan area, Australia. Each infant was observed for 3 h, wearing a small, custom-designed digital language processor (DLP) which digitally recorded and generated measures of ‘near and clear’ adult talk, unclear talk and infant vocalisations. Structural quality indicators include educator qualification, group size and educator-infant ratios, and Interaction Quality was assessed using the ITERS-R Interaction and Listening and Talking subscales. Infants’ experience with ‘near and clear’ talk was predicted by Interaction Quality, the presence of a degree-qualified teacher and group size. ‘Near and clear’ talk was also significantly and positively related to the quantity of infant vocalisation and, negatively, to their level of exposure to unclear talk. Findings are discussed in terms of conceptualisations of quality in infant ECEC rooms, as well as the potentials and limitations of the ‘near and clear’ talk measure for use in future studies of language development in this context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)278-294
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
    Volume26
    Issue number3
    Early online date27 May 2018
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018

    Keywords

    • early childhood education
    • infants
    • language development
    • qualifications
    • quality
    • teacher-child interactions

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