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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The oral interaction of native speakers and non-native speakers in a multicultural preschool : a comparison between freeplay and contrived NS/NNS dyads Kennedy, Elizabeth Anne


While researchers generally recommend a 1:1 ratio of native speakers (NSs) to non-native speakers (NNSs) be maintained in multicultural preschool classrooms, these- ideal proportions are often unrealistic in regions where populations reflect high concentrations of ethnic groups. In these areas, where enrolments usually consist of a majority of NNSs, pedagogical modifications may be necessary to ensure second language learners are exposed to sufficient amounts of 'meaningful target language input' which is considered essential for second language acquisition (Krashen, 1979). This study investigated the effects of deliberate pairing on NSs and those NNSs who had low English language proficiency (L) in one multicultural preschool where NNSs outnumbered NSs by 3:1. Four NS subjects were videotaped, employing a multiple baseline design, as they interacted with their peers during a math game activity time. The effects of the treatment on four interactional measures were analysed using Ruvusky's statistic. Results, as predicted, indicated significant differences for three of the four measures. When deliberately paired, both NSs and NNSs(L) took more turns, and NSs uttered significantly more directives to their NNS(L) peers than they did during the freeplay situation. -Deliberate pairing of NSs and NNSs(L) has been shown to be a successful technique for exposing NNSs(L) to increased levels of target language input in this multicultural preschool. Implications for teachers are outlined and the role of NSs in multicultural classrooms is discussed.

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