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Authors

  1. O'Keefe, Casey

Abstract

This article provides a review of problems associated with teachers' talk and indicators of higher quality teachers' talk for use with lower socioeconomic status (SES) Head Start students. Then it shows how one Head Start teacher, called Michele in this article, responded to professional development that was aimed at increasing the quality of language input during storybook interactions, especially for children from low SES communities. Michele's attempts to modify her classroom discourse in her response to her experiences may inform future efforts to work with teachers to improve their classroom interactions with children in inner city Head Start programs, including those who are bilingual and bidialectal. In addition, the article describes the methods that were used to increase Michele's awareness of her language use and draws examples from her experiences in attempting to translate them into higher quality of language input for her Head Start students in actual practice. This qualitative case study shows one teacher's journey and highlights several turning points along the way, perhaps serving as evidence that the intense effort required for this type of change is worth it.