Do kindergarten teachers possess adequate knowledge of basic language constructs to teach children to read English as a foreign language?

Kwok Shing Richard WONG, Susie RUSSAK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The contribution of teacher knowledge to learning outcomes at the beginning stages of literacy acquisition is of growing concern because the ability to provide quality instruction is central to successful literacy acquisition, particularly for pupils with dyslexia. To date, the majority of research has focused on teachers of English as a first language. Yet, English is the most widely taught foreign language today. The present study extends the exploration of teacher knowledge by probing two heretofore unexamined groups of teachers who are responsible for teaching beginning stages of literacy in English as a foreign language: regular class teachers who are non-native English-speaking (N = 96) and native English-speaking teachers (N = 24) working in the kindergarten setting in Hong Kong. As these two teacher groups serve as gatekeepers of beginning English as a foreign language literacy for kindergarten children in Hong Kong, it is crucial to gather information about the depth and quality of their teacher knowledge. This information can be instrumental to improving the quality of beginning literacy instruction in English and assisting early identification of dyslexia. Both groups completed the basic language constructs survey (Binks-Cantrell, Joshi, & Washburn, Annals of Dyslexia, 62, 153–171, 2012a). Results showed while native English teachers performed significantly better than non-native English teachers, total percentage correct scores were below 50%, except for phonological awareness tasks. All teachers scored higher in items requiring syllable as opposed to phoneme manipulation. Only teacher type predicted teachers’ performance on the survey. The need for quality instruction, particularly for children at-risk for dyslexia or those struggling at the beginning stages of literacy acquisition, is addressed. Copyright © 2020 The International Dyslexia Association.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Dyslexia
Early online date06 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 06 Apr 2020

    Fingerprint

Citation

Wong, R. K.-S., & Russak, S. (2020). Do kindergarten teachers possess adequate knowledge of basic language constructs to teach children to read English as a foreign language? Annals of Dyslexia. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11881-020-00197-8

Keywords

  • Basic language constructs
  • Content knowledge
  • English teachers