Scaffolding storytelling and participation with a bilingual child in a culturally and linguistically diverse preschool in Australia


  • Maryanne Theobald Queensland University of Technology



storytelling, children, scaffolding, participation, bilingual, ethnomethodology, conversation analysis


Children frequently share stories as they play. Oral storytelling brings forth matters to do with language competence, and thus may present challenges for those with varying linguistic ability or those who are have a first language other than the dominant language of the setting. This article reports on a study of children’s playground interaction in a culturally and linguistically diverse preschool in Brisbane, Australia. An extended sequence of interaction is showcased in which one bilingual child (aged four years), speaking in his second language, takes up the role of storyteller in a designated ‘storytelling chair’. Sequential analyses using conversation analysis show how scaffolding is collaboratively achieved through a teacher’s responsiveness and the children’s demonstrated competence as storyteller and story recipients. By focusing on the interactional contributions of the members rather than individuals’ linguistic development, findings offer understandings about the co-productive and interactive communicative resources required for scaffolding storytelling.

Author Biography

Maryanne Theobald, Queensland University of Technology

Maryanne Theobald is senior lecturer in education at Queensland University of Technology, (QUT). Her research interests include children’s participation in the early years, and children’s talk-in-interaction in disputes and friendships in the home, school, playground, with digital technologies and in multilingual contexts. Maryanne’s methodological expertise is in qualitative approaches including ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, and participatory research using video-playback. Maryanne has experience as editor, with a special volume, Friendship and Peer Culture in Multilingual Settings (Emerald, 2017), and an ethnomethodological collection, Disputes in Everyday Life: Social and Moral Orders of Children and Young People (Emerald, 2012).


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How to Cite

Theobald, M. (2019). Scaffolding storytelling and participation with a bilingual child in a culturally and linguistically diverse preschool in Australia. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 3(1-2), 224–247.