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“And then he was so happy!”: Evaluation and Coherence in Latino Narratives Jamie González Department of Applied Psychology New York University.

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Presentation on theme: "“And then he was so happy!”: Evaluation and Coherence in Latino Narratives Jamie González Department of Applied Psychology New York University."— Presentation transcript:

1 “And then he was so happy!”: Evaluation and Coherence in Latino Narratives Jamie González Department of Applied Psychology New York University

2 Acknowledgements All members of the Child Language Research Team Special Thanks to:  Gigliana Melzi, Ph.D.  Margaret Caspe, Ph.D.  Adina Schick  Alexandra Rodríguez

3 Children’s Narrative Development  Across cultures, stories play an integral role in various aspects of children’s development.  A good narrative provides a skillful organization of relevant and necessary information.  It combines two types of information: 1. Referential Information – based on concrete activities and observable descriptions. 2. Evaluative Information – narrator’s reactions and interpretations.  The information must be presented in a coherent manner.

4 Referential Information An owl came out of the tree. The boy fell on the ground. The dog was being chased by bees.

5 Evaluative Information Boo! The mean owl fleeew out of the tree. “Oh no!” The boy fell on the ground. “Ouch!” The dog is running running running. The bees are going to catch him!

6 Evaluation in Children’s Narratives  At all ages, children use evaluation, but as they get older, they begin to include more kinds of evaluation in their narratives.  There has been little consistency in the way evaluation has been examined by child language researchers.  Some studies have focused on the linguistic features of evaluation, whereas others have focused on its role in conveying emotion.  Though evaluation plays a valuable role in narratives, its simple presence is not enough to make a story coherent.

7  Narrative coherence is “the orderly flow of information that makes sense to the listener” (McCabe & Peterson, 1991, p. 93).  Peterson and McCabe (1983) classified the development of children’s narrative coherence:  “Leap-frog” narratives  “Chronological” narratives  “Ending-at-the-high-point” narratives  “Classic” narratives Narrative Coherence

8  Narrative coherence is “the orderly flow of information that makes sense to the listener” ( McCabe & Peterson, 1991, p. 93).  Peterson and McCabe (1983) classified the development of children’s narrative coherence:  “Leap-frog” narratives  Unsystematic jumps from event to event  Excluding important events in the narrative  “Chronological” narratives  “Ending-at-the-high-point” narratives  “Classic” narratives Narrative Coherence

9  Narrative coherence is “the orderly flow of information that makes sense to the listener” (McCabe & Peterson, 1991, p. 93).  Peterson and McCabe (1983) classified the development of children’s narrative coherence:  “Leap-frog” narratives  “Chronological” narratives  Ordering main events in a chronological sequence  Giving little meaning to the events that occurred  “Ending-at-the-high-point” narratives  “Classic” narratives Narrative Coherence

10  Narrative coherence is “the orderly flow of information that makes sense to the listener” (McCabe & Peterson, 1991, p. 93).  Peterson and McCabe (1983) classified the development of children’s narrative coherence:  “Leap-frog” narratives  “Chronological” narratives  “Ending-at-the-high-point” narratives  Ending with the climactic point of the narrative  Providing little to no solutions to the problem  “Classic” narratives

11 Narrative Coherence  Narrative coherence is “the orderly flow of information that makes sense to the listener” (McCabe & Peterson, 1991, p. 93).  Peterson and McCabe (1983) classified the development of children’s narrative coherence:  “Leap-frog” narratives  “Chronological” narratives  “Ending-at-the-high-point” narratives  “Classic” narratives  Information is carefully organized around a central point or problem in the story  The problem in the story is solved

12 Narrative Coherence  Narrative coherence is “the orderly flow of information that makes sense to the listener” (McCabe & Peterson, 1991, p. 93).  Peterson and McCabe (1983) classified the development of children’s narrative coherence:  “Leap-frog” narratives  “Chronological” narratives  “Ending-at-the-high-point” narratives  “Classic” narratives  This seminal study, like many others exploring narrative coherence, was based on data from English-speaking European-American children.

13 Cultural Variations in Narratives  Studies on different ethnic and cultural communities have shown that there is no universal prescription for telling a good story.  Within US society, there is a widespread misconception that a narrative must have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Children from other cultural groups have different ways of organizing information to create a coherent story.  Children’s narrative abilities develop within their social and cultural contexts.

14  The purpose of the current study was to examine the use of narrative evaluation and coherence in the independent narrations of Latino preschool children.  Research Questions (1)What types of evaluation are most used by 4-year-old Latino children? (2)How does their use of evaluation relate to the overall narrative coherence? The Current Study

15 Participants (N = 73)  Children (36 girls and 37 boys) recruited for a larger study participated in the present investigation.  The mean age of participants was 57 months of age (SD = 3.8), and they were all in their last year of Head Start.  Ethnicity of participants:  53% (n = 39) Dominican  32% (n = 23) Mexican  15% (n = 11) Other Latino  Language dominance:  56% (n = 41) Spanish only  27% (n = 20) Bilingual, English-Spanish  4% (n = 9) English only  12% (n = 3) English, bilingual comprehension

16 Procedure  Participants were visited at their Head Start programs during school hours and interviewed individually in a quiet space.  Children’s language dominance was assessed first, and independent narrations were then elicited.  All children were asked to tell their stories based on the wordless picture book, One Frog Too Many (Mayer & Mayer, 1975).  Narratives were audio taped and transcribed using a standardized system (MacWhinney, 2000).

17 Coding Evaluation  Every instance of evaluation was coded based on an adaptation of the evaluation coding scheme used in Peterson and McCabe (1983).  The following types of evaluation were coded for:  Subjective (e.g., the frog was jealous)  Qualifier (e.g., he was really mad)  Performed (e.g., she was running running running)  Causality (e.g., he ran because he was scared)  Children’s narratives also received an evaluation diversity score, capturing the extent to which children varied their use of evaluation (range = ).

18 Coding Coherence  Coherence was coded using story grammar analysis, which divides the story into four main episodes.  Coding of narrative elements was conducted on a presence/absence basis.  Overall coherence score was determined by adding the number of narrative elements included in the story (range = ).  Inter-rater reliability was established using 14% of the data (86% inter-rater agreement).

19 YESNO SETTINGEVNTThe boy gets a present EVNTThe boy opens the box REAThe boy and his pets are happy EPISODE 1EVNTThe child gets a new frog. MTS The big frog is unhappy (jealous) about the new frog. EVNTThe boy introduces the new frog to his pets. MTSThe big frog has evil (scheming) thoughts. ATTMThe big frog bites the little frog's leg. CONSThe boy and the other pets scold the big frog. CONSThe big frog is not happy. EPISODE 2EVNTThe boy and his pets go to the forest to play. ATTMThe big frog kicks the little frog off the turtle. CONSThe boy and the other pets scold the big frog. CONSThe little frog cries CONS As punishment, the boy and his pets leave the big frog behind.

20 Coding Coherence  Coherence was coded using story grammar analysis, which divides the story into four main episodes.  Coding of narrative elements was conducted on a presence/absence basis.  Overall coherence score was determined by adding the number of narrative elements included in the story (range = ).  Inter-rater reliability was established using 14% of the data (86% inter-rater agreement).

21 Analyses Types of Evaluation  Descriptive statistics were used to determine:  Frequency of evaluation  Percentage of narrative that was evaluative Evaluation and Narrative Coherence  Descriptive statistics were first used to determine:  Children’s evaluation diversity  Children’s level of narrative coherence  Correlations and ANOVAs were employed to:  Examine the relation between coherence and evaluation

22 Children’s Narratives: Evaluation  Overall, the children’s stories contained an average of 44 utterances (SD = 26.9), ranging from 3 to 182 utterances.  On average, children used 13 evaluations (SD = 14.58), ranging from 0 to 72 evaluations in their narratives.  On average, 27% (SD = 19.8) of the children’s narratives consisted of evaluative information.

23 Types of Subjective Evaluation

24  Children’s evaluation diversity scores ranged from , with an average score of 5 (SD = 2.7).  Children’s narrative coherence ranged from (M = 7, SD = 4.6).  Evaluation use was positively and significantly correlated with coherence (r =.77, p <.001). Evaluation Diversity and Coherence

25 Total Evaluation and Coherence F (1,71) = 36.43, p <.001

26 Diversity of Evaluation and Coherence F (1,71) = 39.16, p <.001

27 Summary of Findings  Subjective evaluation was the most commonly used type of evaluation, in particular, references to characters’ emotions.  Evaluation was strongly correlated to overall narrative coherence.  Children who produced highly coherent narratives also produced highly evaluated narratives, and used more diverse types of evaluation than those children who produced less coherent narratives.

28 Discussion and Conclusion  Results show that evaluation might be an essential aspect of narrative coherence.  These results support findings from the few studies investigating Spanish-speaking Latin American children’s narratives.  This past work suggests that mainstream narrative frameworks do not adequately capture the overall structure of Latin American narratives (Shiro, 2003; Uccelli, in press).  The relation between coherence and evaluation in Latino narratives seems to extend beyond language and perhaps denotes a preferred cultural style of narrating.

29 Any Questions?


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