Learning vocabulary on screen: A content analysis of pedagogical supports in educational media programs for dual-language learners

Kevin M. Wong, Susan Neuman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Educational media is ubiquitous in the lives of young children, promising high-quality programming to equip them with vocabulary knowledge and school readiness. To meet the needs of preschool-aged dual-language learners (DLLs), many educational programs are marketed to promote vocabulary learning in two languages. In this study, we use a content analysis to examine (1) the extent to which these programs focus on vocabulary in two languages, (2) dual-language instructional supports used in media; and (3) the quality of words taught on screen. We analyzed 50 episodes from five leading dual-language educational programs. Using a flow chart and an iteratively-developed codebook, we identified vocabulary clips and screen-based pedagogical supports used in these programs. Results indicate there were strikingly few vocabulary clips in the videos analyzed. Moreover, most of the clips were of simple vocabulary words taught primarily in English rather than Spanish or Mandarin. The most prevalent screen-based pedagogical supports included repetitions, visual supports, and demonstrations. However, there were noteworthy differences in the types of supports by program and language. Findings suggest that the dual-language appeal of programs may serve more as a marketing tool than an instructional tool for vocabulary development. Implications for research in dual-language vocabulary instruction are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-72
Number of pages19
JournalBilingual Research Journal
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

Fingerprint

pedagogical support
vocabulary
content analysis
language
learning
educational program
school readiness
Education
Vocabulary Learning
Dual Language
Content Analysis
appeal
marketing
Vocabulary
video
programming
instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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abstract = "Educational media is ubiquitous in the lives of young children, promising high-quality programming to equip them with vocabulary knowledge and school readiness. To meet the needs of preschool-aged dual-language learners (DLLs), many educational programs are marketed to promote vocabulary learning in two languages. In this study, we use a content analysis to examine (1) the extent to which these programs focus on vocabulary in two languages, (2) dual-language instructional supports used in media; and (3) the quality of words taught on screen. We analyzed 50 episodes from five leading dual-language educational programs. Using a flow chart and an iteratively-developed codebook, we identified vocabulary clips and screen-based pedagogical supports used in these programs. Results indicate there were strikingly few vocabulary clips in the videos analyzed. Moreover, most of the clips were of simple vocabulary words taught primarily in English rather than Spanish or Mandarin. The most prevalent screen-based pedagogical supports included repetitions, visual supports, and demonstrations. However, there were noteworthy differences in the types of supports by program and language. Findings suggest that the dual-language appeal of programs may serve more as a marketing tool than an instructional tool for vocabulary development. Implications for research in dual-language vocabulary instruction are discussed.",
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