SEX OF SPEAKER AND SEX OF LISTENER AS FACTORS AFFECTING THE INPUT LANGUAGE OF PRESCHOOL TEACHERS

FRANCES GOODMAN GINSBERG, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of sex of speaker and sex of listener on the language which preschool teachers addressed to boys and girls. The input language of male and female preschool teachers was analyzed in order to determine whether differences existed between the language of the teachers related to the communicative codes which have been identified for men, women and teachers and in order to determine whether there was differential input on the part of the teachers to boys and girls.^ The language of four male and four female middle class teachers to 67 girls and 71 boys between the ages of four and five was audiotaped and transcribed. Five thirty-minute sessions were taped in each of the eight classrooms. The transcripts of the tapes were analyzed by three graduate students who had been trained by the experimenter in the classification of the utterance types under consideration. These utterance types were linguistic variables which have been found to be typical of the communicative codes of men, women and teachers.^ In order to determine whether significant differences existed between the input of the male and female teachers or in their input to boys and girls, each hypothesis was tested by means of a two-way analysis of variance with repeated measures. After each utterance type had been tested separately, combinations of utterance types specifically associated with the communicative codes of men, women and teachers were statistically analyzed.^ It was found that there were no differences between the input of the male and female teachers in terms of any of the utterance types under consideration. However, it was found that important differences existed between the input of the teachers to boys and girls. All teachers addressed more embedded imperatives, warnings, vocatives, male register, strong directives and weak directives to boys. In addition it was found that sex of pupil had a differential effect on male and female teachers in eliciting combined directives. Although all teachers addressed more combined directives to boys the sex of the child appeared to be a more salient stimulus for the male teachers as males addressed significantly more combined directives to boys than did females. Finally it was found that the effect of sex of pupil was significant for the male teachers in terms of elicitation of directives and participatory requests. Male teachers addressed significantly more of these utterance types to boys.^ Since there were no differences between the input of the teachers related to the communicative codes which have been identified for men and women it was suggested that a teacher register exists which is common to both sexes. However, since it appeared as though boys hear more of what has been identified as male speech from both male and female teachers, it was suggested that adult input may be an important factor in the child's acquisition of communicative codes.^ Since it appears that teacher input is affected by the sex of the child being addressed, it was recommended that more controlled studies be conducted in order to determine whether the sex of the child alone elicited differential input or whether boys were engaged in activities which would elicit different speech from all teachers. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

GINSBERG, FRANCES GOODMAN, "SEX OF SPEAKER AND SEX OF LISTENER AS FACTORS AFFECTING THE INPUT LANGUAGE OF PRESCHOOL TEACHERS" (1980). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8020984.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8020984

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