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Title: Children's communication in a problem-solving context : gender differences and their effects upon adult assessment of task-ability
Author: Thompson, Robert Bruce
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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The main aim of this research has been to address the issue of meaning in children's task-related utterances, by examining speech acts made whilst solving a challenging problem and their relationship with task-ability. Of particular interest is communication which in educational settings may be interpreted as being help-seeking, reflecting dependence or low self-confidence. A central concern in this work is possible gender differences in the way children express themselves and interact with adults in problem-solving settings, and particularly how such differences may be interpreted, by caregivers and teachers. Chapter 1 introduces the issues addressed in the thesis, including the historical context of gender research in the areas of cognitive ability, interactional style and achievement motivation and expectation. The literature review (Chapter 2) provides a central theoretical framework (deriving from developmental psychology, speech act theory and pragmatics) within which the experimental design, data analysis and interpretation of findings are discussed. An important tissue is the presumed relationship between children's achievement motivation (including task-mastery, competitiveness, etc.) and affiliative motivation (including cooperative international styles, deferential language use, etc.). This research has specifically examined the validity of these constructs as gender-related, and moreover, their presumed existence as competing motivations. The experimental work was conducted with nursery children, an age group which has received little attention with regard to task-related communication. This was undertaken to determine the degree to which children's spontaneous communication, particularly help-seeking behaviour, reflects actual ability. Of specific interest were possible gender differences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available