EXPLAINING EVENTS IN NARRATIVES: THE IMPACT OF SCAFFOLDING IN 4 TO 12 YEAR OLD CHILDREN
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The focus of this article is the manner in which 4 to 12 year old children deal with the 'evaluative' component of narratives (Labov & Waletsky, 1967). After spontaneously telling their first version of a story of a misunderstanding between two characters, constructed on the basis of a sequence of five images, children participated in a scaffolding procedure during which they were questioned about the reasons for the events. After this non-intrusive, Piagetian-styled clinical interview, children were asked to recount the story a second time. For children's first narratives, our study confirms earlier results by showing that, before 8-9 years, children rarely mention the epistemic states of the characters. The false belief of one of the characters and its rectification are rarely mentioned before 10-11 years and even at that age by few children. Presenting a story based on a misunderstanding does not facilitate this kind of narration. However, in the narrative produced after scaffolding, 6-7 year old children increase considerably their references to the characters' internal states, and from 8-9 years, the expression of false belief and of its rectification. These results call for multiple evaluations in order to best grasp children's narrative competence.
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