Using cameras to stimulate the conversation of native-born and immigrant preschoolers

Barbara Marinak, Martha Strickland, Jane Keat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During an investigation related to helping preschool teachers facilitate language acquisition in their English Language Learners, the teacher participants reported that the English language development of immigrant children was delayed when compared to native-born students. In addition, they held the view that language was the key obstacle to the ELLs' learning and socialization in their setting. Therefore, in order to stimulate conversation between the preschoolers and their teachers, cameras were given to native-born and immigrant three and four-year-olds. After selecting three favorite pictures, the children were invited to talk about the photos three times with their teacher. The conversations were scribed as a language experience story. The language samples were analyzed based on mean length of utterance and Stage V (Brown, 1973) linguistic complexity. Data analysis revealed no statistically significant differences in mean length of utterance between the native-born and immigrant preschoolers. Analysis of Stage V complexity revealed statistically significant differences, with the immigrant preschoolers exhibiting more Stage V characteristics than the native-born preschoolers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalUbiquitous Learning
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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