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Preschool Teacher-Child DYAD: Sex Differences in Verbal Interaction

Cherry, Louise J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Preschool Children, Sex Differences, Teachers, Verbal Communication


This study describes differences in the quality and style of female preschool teachers' dyadic verbal interaction with the girls and boys in their classes. Sixteen hours of spontaneous speech of four female pre-school teachers and 38 girls and boys was tape recorded in two classroom situations, then transcribed and analyzed. The results showed that teachers verbally interacted more (p < .05), verbally initiated more (p < .01), used more attentional-marked utterances (p < .01) in speech with boys than with girls. Teachers used more verbal acknowledgments (p < .01) in speech with girls as compared to boys. There were no sex differences in the fluency (length and reciprocity) of teacher-child verbal interaction nor in the race of teacher initiation of interaction. (21pp.)

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