ERIC Number: ED229128
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Conversational Strategies in Comprehension Monitoring.
Speer, James Ramsey; And Others
The purpose of the two studies reported was to investigate why young children, especially kindergarteners, so often treat vague, ambiguous, or otherwise unclear instructions as though they were perfectly informative, instead of asking what they mean. It was hypothesized that when faced with vague instructions children might employ two ordered classification strategies: (1) heavy reliance on collateral information such as physical context and speaker's gestures to figure out what the speaker means; and (2) in case the first strategy doesn't work, guessing. Results of the first experiment support the claim that children do in fact use a salience strategy. The data are also consistent with the claim that children use a guessing strategy. The second experiment sought more directly to demonstrate children's use of the guessing strategy. Findings suggest that, contrary to characterizations which portray young children as profoundly egocentric, in communication settings young children do make inferences about the mental state of speakers. Further, children whose communication is profoundly bound to a particular physical context may be unaware that there are circumstances in which contextual features are unnecessary for interpreting language. Such children may find it extremely hard to learn how to read simply because they don't understand the nature of the enterprise. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Comprehension Monitoring; Contextual Expectations; Instructions
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Detroit, MI, April 21-23, 1983).