The role of the natural history museum in promoting language word learning for young children

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Abstract

Although strong claims have been made about museums being ideal word learning environments, these are yet to be empirically supported. In the current study, 152 four- to five-year-olds children (81-M, 71-F) from minority backgrounds were taught six vocabulary items either in a museum, in their classroom with museum resources, or in their classroom with classroom resources. At test, children taught in their classroom with museum resources produced significantly more correct responses than children taught in the museum or in their classroom with classroom resources. Children were also significantly better at retaining the target vocabulary items than recalling them. These data demonstrate how context can impact word learning and point to the benefits of a collaborative relationship between schools and museums to support children's language development.

Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • context
  • museum
  • vocabulary
  • word learning

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