This study investigated how Chinese adults adjusted their scaffolding in interactions with children during problem-solving tasks. Fifty-seven 5-year-olds (from low and high socioeconomic status [SES] backgrounds) completed a playlike task (puzzle) and a school-like task (worksheet) with their mothers and teachers, respectively. Adult-child interactions were videotaped, and the analyses focused on how adults adjusted their scaffolding as a function of children's responses. Results indicated that teachers adjusted their scaffolding more appropriately than mothers, and that adults' sensitivity to children's understanding was associated with more appropriate scaffolding. Children from middle or upper SES families received more optimal scaffolding than those from lower SES families, and both mothers and teachers provided more skilled scaffolding in the school-like task than in the playlike task. Findings suggest that family SES, adults' professional training, and task characteristics, as well as adults' understanding of children's mastery, should be considered in the analysis of dyadic problem solving.


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pp. 110-140
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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