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Influence of adult-child Interactional experiences with educational television on the child’s lexical item pick up: a case study of a 5 year-old watching Dora the Explorer with parents and grandparents

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posted on 2023-01-18, 16:45 authored by Maria Francisca Leal Perez
Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education by Research to the Faculty of Education, Bundoora, La Trobe University, Bundoora.

This is a case study of one Chilean Spanish – English bilingual 5 year old, Fernanda, who was recorded watching 7 Spanish and 7 English episodes of the educational television program Dora the Explorer with family members. The results found show the presence and active involvement of adults during shared-viewing sessions lead Fernanda to analyse with greater frequency the lexical items presented on the show and subsequently reproduced, than when she interacted with the TV only. In addition, adult-child interactions produced more repetitions of longer lexical items in the form of Word Strings (WS=51%), with similar distribution of Echoes and Modifications, while interactions with the TV produced considerably more repetitions of Single Words (SW=69%) with a marked predominance of Echoes over Modifications. Thus, Echoes and Modifications of lexical items extracted from Dora the Explorer indicated a connection between the interactions and the picking up process, suggesting that by using the TV program as language model of English as an Additional Language (EAL), adults can advance language use from superficially picked up to deeply picked up through analysis. The different English proficiency levels of the adults had an effect on the roles assumed by Fernanda during co-viewing, ranging from “learner” to “teacher” to “partner” depending on the context, but showing signs of analysis in the Modifications across the data with some variation. Considering that in countries where English is not the first language there is a growing need to learn EAL, this study’s findings, under its specific context, show the use of educational television as a tool to promote EAL during early childhood through adult-child interactions. Further research studies are required to explore this relationship in a different context to develop an alternative way to promote EAL early to set the path for future generations of EAL Learners for success.


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Faculty of Education.

Thesis type

  • Masters

Awarding institution

La Trobe University

Year Awarded


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This thesis contained third party copyright material which has been removed. The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over all other content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis. The author has declared that any third party copyright material contained within the thesis made available here is reproduced and communicated with permission. If you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact us with the details.

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