Maternal scaffolding styles and children's developing narrative skills: A cross-cultural comparison of autobiographical conversations in the US and Thailand

Sirada Rochanavibhata*, Viorica Marian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cross-cultural differences in reminiscing styles between American and Thai mothers and their four-year-olds were examined. Twenty-one English monolingual and 21 Thai monolingual mother-child dyads participated in a Prompted Reminiscing task (Task 1). Children also completed a Child Personal Narrative task with the researcher (Task 2). Results from the first task revealed that dyads from the two cultures differed in the elaborateness of their conversations. American mothers adopted a high-elaborative style, characterized by greater use of evaluative feedback and scaffolding strategies including descriptions, extensions, labels, and recasts, compared to their Thai counterparts. Thai mothers adopted a low-elaborative style, evidenced by greater use of directives and requests for repetitions. Similar to their mothers, American children adopted a high-elaborative style compared to their Thai peers. Findings from the second task demonstrated that interlocutor scaffolding influences children's communicative styles. When reminiscing without their mother, American children produced longer narratives than their Thai peers. The present work suggested that maternal elicitation strategies differ across cultures and play a role in shaping children's developing narrative skills. By interacting with more competent social partners, particularly their mothers, children start to internalize culture-specific socialization goals and learn to converse in a culturally-appropriate way as early as preschool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100413
JournalLearning, Culture and Social Interaction
Volume26
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Autobiographical memory
  • Cross-cultural
  • Language development
  • Mother-child interactions
  • Narrative
  • Scaffolding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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