Title

“Aunty, cat chair pe bethi hai” - using stories to support and assess the development of vocabulary of two year old bilingual children through a collaborative action research

Date of Award

5-29-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Professional Development Centre, Karachi

Abstract

Vocabulary has been found to be a predictor of later language development (Lee, 2011). Research indicates stories to be great stimulators of language, especially in enhancing children’s vocabulary. Pakistan’s National Curriculum for Early Childhood Education (2007) also emphasizes on the importance of supporting children’s vocabulary development. Through a collaborative action research, I explored the role of stories, told monolingual and bilingually, to support vocabulary development of two years old bilingual children at a private English-medium school in Karachi, Pakistan. Two teachers, facilitating this age group and four randomly chosen children from the classroom participated with me in the study. Data was gathered through various tools including, interviews, classroom teaching, and reflective conversations. Anecdotes of the four participant children were also maintained throughout the study. Findings revealed that stories supported children’s vocabulary development. Children enjoyed both monolingual (English or Urdu) and bilingual stories (Urdu and English). Moreover, vocabulary development can further be supported by reinforcing the key vocabulary through play and language games. A change in the teachers’ and my perception regarding the power of stories and storytelling, both monolingual and bilingual stories, was seen as a result of the intervention. The study also brings to light the importance of having bilingual stories to support language development in both the home and classroom languages. It also raises questions about assessing progress in both languages. It also highlights that along with stories, the storyteller, in this case the teacher helps support vocabulary development in children. It also raises questions about supporting the professional development of these teachers, about the use of stories as a teaching pedagogy as well as different strategies of telling stories.

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