I noticed a lot of self-talk during the case study building sessions last year with kindergarten kids. You may recall that I am going a seven year case study starting in grade K and going to grade 6 with 8 or 9 kids. I hear my son’s self-talk all the time. He is the same age as the case study kids. I have always thought of it as a dialogue for fantasy play. That’s what I see most in my son, especially when engaged in play. However, I did notice a variety of types of self-talk during the case study sessions, from a girl who had a constant stream of talk that centered on social issues (who was walking by, who else was in the case study) to fantasy-type talk, to one advanced builder whose self-talk was an ongoing discussion of his building choices.
I happen to be reading some Vygotsky for my doctoral course in Math, Science, and Learning Technology research. Vygotsky’s theory was that this self-talk is social in younger children and transforms into internal, rational thought in older kids. In contrast, Piaget and others (and I thought this too) thought it was something younger kids did that dies off with time. So it was interested to read Vygotsky’s thoughts on this, which put the whole thing in a new perspective for me and got me interested in examining this further. I have to say that I am having many experiences like this where I read a study of theory article that relates directly to something I have observed and was wondering about.
This motivated me work some more on uploading the hours of video from the case study. I did figure out how to use an external hard drive with iMovie so I would not fill up my internal hard drive. After I review video, I’ll try and post some video clips that show the differences in self-talk with different kids. It certainly is interesting that the most advanced builder had the self-talk that sounded most like rational thought, just like Vygotsky theorized.