Poverty, affluence and the Socratic method: Parents' questions versus statements within collaborative problem-solving
Language & Communication
Parents' rhetorical questions to preschoolers are ubiquitous within collaborative problem-solving, and central to Vygotskian pedagogy. This perspective privileges questions as a discourse structure, important for emergent metacognitive self-regulation. Few studies investigate effects of poverty on parents' collaborative talk, particularly frequency of questions relative to statements, or factors such as parenting-stress and children's language ability. Analyses of 25 parents' scaffolding language during a construction task revealed suppressed questioning among low-SES parents, and among only those High-SES parents reporting high parenting stress. Correlations controlling for child age and language ability revealed associations between parenting stress and less frequent questioning as a discourse style. Discussion focuses on the question of how exposure to rhetorical questions helps children internalize language as a thinking tool.
Thompson, R. B., Foster*, B. J., & Kapinos, J. R. (2016). Poverty, affluence and the Socratic method: Parents' questions versus statements within collaborative problem-solving. Language & Communication, 47, 23-29. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2015.11.003