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Early childhood education
Language learning
Teaching quality
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O’Brien, B., Nurul Taqiah Yussof, Poorani Vijayakumar, Malikka Begum Habib Mohamed, & Leong, X. E. R. (2020). Exploring characteristics of quality in language teaching & learning: The Mother Tongue Adapted Coding Scheme (MACS). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 53, 586-600.
Teacher–child interactions are an integral factor influencing the quality of early childhood education, and multilingualism is increasingly prevalent in many contexts. In the multilingual society of Singapore this is particularly relevant because early childhood classrooms follow a bilingual policy and include the teaching and learning of Mother Tongue languages. To evaluate what constitutes quality for preschool language teaching in this multilingual context, the Mother Tongue Adapted Coding Scheme (MACS) was developed to examine teacher–child interactions during blocks of Mother Tongue language lessons. The comprehensive observational rating scheme for language learning included four domains: language input, language output, varied teaching strategies, and English use for teaching Mother Tongue language. This rating scheme was applied to fifty-one classrooms where teachers were videotaped while they conducted Chinese, Malay, or Tamil language lessons. Within the observed classrooms, four hundred and ninety-one children were assessed on their Mother Tongue language learning over three years for receptive vocabulary, reading, and morphological awareness. Overall interrater reliability on the MACS was high across language classrooms (K > 0.72). Correlation and exploratory factor analyses indicated a main factor for the language input and output domains, and separate factors for English language use. Teachers’ factor scores were found unrelated to their scores on the CLASS. Higher factor scores on input/output quality were correlated with having more high progress learners (compared to peers) for receptive vocabulary, but less high progress learners for reading. Implications for future applications and adaptations of the MACS are discussed in light of the use of rating tools to examine and better understand the constituents of ECE quality within multilingual contexts.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly. The published version is available online at
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