Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Regional Professional Studies

First Advisor

Dr Barry Down

Second Advisor

Ms Janet Hunter


This study focuses on how a group of seven Kindergarten teachers perceive their practices to support the language learning of young children. From a socio-cultural perspective, developing language competency at Kindergarten is a priority because of its pivotal role across all learning areas and the opportunity it creates for all children to add to their linguistic capital in an informal setting prior to formal schooling. This study is based on a collaborative, participatory model built on a mutually beneficial relationship between researcher and participants. It uses a narrative methodology to foreground the teacher's voice. Teacher participants in the study contribute their own stories and their reflective interpretations on language events in their Kindergartens. Data from these 'teacher stories' and 'narratives of experience' based on semi-stru.:tured interviews provide a base for analysis and interpretation. Partnerships and finding balance through diversity emerge as themes linking the perceptions of this group of teachers. Findings indicate that social partnerships between teacher and children are foundational to language learning at the Kindergarten and that in constructing effective curricula for language learning teachers find a balance between teacher and child-initiated language events, large and small group/individual contexts for learning, acceptance of diversity and intervention practices and finally, balance opportunistic teaching with systematic planning. Significantly, this study provides a space for teachers' voices to be heard lhrough the telling of their own stories. The final outcome is a map of the landscape showing what language learning looks like in seven Kindergartens in regional Western Australia at a time when teachers are adjusting to change and reflecting on their role supporting children learning language on entry to the school system.

Included in

Education Commons