Scaffolding preschool children's problem solving: A comparison between Chinese mothers and teachers across multiple tasks

Jin SUN, Nirmala RAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study compared Chinese mothers' and teachers' scaffolding of preschool children in different problem solving tasks. Participants were 57 children (including 29 girls) from seven kindergartens in Beijing, their mothers and teachers. Mothers varied in educational levels while all teachers were professionally qualified. Children solved four problems (supermarket, jigsaw puzzle, worksheet, and map) with their mothers and four comparable ones with their teachers. These tasks were appropriate for Chinese five-year-olds and differed in terms of dependence on verbal guidance, explicit learning content, contextual information, and complexity. Twenty-eight children worked with their mothers first; the problems were presented in the same order for both sets of dyads. Problem solving episodes (n = 228) were videotaped and transcribed. An interaction turn was the unit of analyses. Results indicated that teachers gave higher-level cognitive support and emotional feedback than did mothers. Mothers with more education provided more optimal scaffolding than those with less education; but teachers' scaffolding for these two groups of children rarely differed. Both mothers and teachers adjusted their scaffolding as a function of task characteristics but teachers were more sensitive to task characteristics than mothers. Possible reasons for these results are discussed. Copyright © 2011 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-266
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Citation

Sun, J., & Rao, N. (2012). Scaffolding preschool children's problem solving: A comparison between Chinese mothers and teachers across multiple tasks. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 10(3), 246-266. doi: 10.1177/1476718X11415578

Keywords

  • Chinese
  • Preschool
  • Problem solving
  • Scaffolding

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