Teachers’ talk in preschools during circle time: The case of revoicing

Rachel Yifat, Sara Zadunaisky-Ehrlich

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


This study focused on a specific feature of preschool teacher talk, revoicing(a situation in which the teacher repeats, fully or partially, what the child said inthe immediately preceding turn), within a specific interactional context, circle time, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the type of language mediation thatoccurs in this learning event. Data included recordings of 20 circle-time sessionswith children from two age groups: preschool children (mean age of 47.4 months)and kindergarten children (mean age of 68.7 months). This age range enabled usto explore whether the use of revoicing reflects teacher attentiveness to the levelof the children’s developing linguistic and conversational skills. Revoicing wasmanifested in two forms, exact and reformulated, and was found woven into theteachers’ talk throughout the interaction with both younger and older children, regardless of the topic or pedagogical aims of the session. Although revoicingserved various pedagogical needs, it functioned mainly as a marker of acknowledgment, serving as a type of “filler” to sustain group involvement, and did notopen a new slot for the children to join the discussion. This pedagogical actionwas more frequent with the younger children. The findings of the study should beviewed in light of the consensus that preschool teacher talk plays a significant rolein supporting the development of children’s language and of their conversationaland literacy skills. Therefore, teacher awareness of the pedagogical goals thatmay be accomplished by their conversational moves, and their effect on the natureof interaction, is important in establishing an understanding of the theoreticalunderpinnings of their practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-226
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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