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Abstract

Investigated associations between the questioning and answering behaviour of mothers and children in a design that allowed analyses within as well as between social classes. Thirty-two six-year-old children volunteered their knowledge and asked questions of their mothers about a variety of objects in a natural context.

Social class differences in the children were found in the quality of questioning and the amount of knowledge displayed, but for the latter there were differences between tasks, and the incidence of questioning confounded the predictions made. Class differences in mothers' behaviour likewise differed by task.

An index of the mothers' provision of cognitive meaning and of feedback was shown to correlate highly with children's rates of questioning and knowledge revealed both within and across classes.