Reflect This week’s readings made it clear that the human mind is very powerful in terms of how the acquisition of language occurs in children. Another important item learned this week is that early home language experiences play a major role in language development during the school-aged years. From chapter 2, it was clear that there are overlapping developmental stages for language development. The first stage is prelinguistic, which typically occurs from birth to twelve months. In other words, birth to when a child’s first real words are spoken. This stage is characterized by the imitation of parents and conversation through smiling, babbling, gurgling, cooing, etc. The emerging language stage (~12-26 months) is characterized by the ’emergence of a child’s first words and the child’s first production of word combinations’.
The developing language stage (~26-46 months) is characterized by ‘growth from the two-word period through the acquisition of basic structures of language, and in understanding and using all the aspects of language’. For instance, in this stage, there is tremendous growth in vocabulary and the use of various parts of speech (verbs, nouns, pronouns, etc.). There is also increased understanding in the area of basic story structure. The language for the learning stage (5-10 or 12 years) typically begins around the age a child begins school. One of the most important developments in this stage is the ‘oral-to-literate shift, with children acquiring the ability to communicate not only in the here and now of everyday conversation but also across time and space through reading and writing and through ever more formal oral language genres’.
The last stage of language development is adolescent language development (age 11+), which is characterized by increased understanding and use of figurative language, adult forms of phonology and communication, more complex sentences (i.e subordinate and coordinate clauses), and increased metalinguistic awareness. Chapter three touched on the idea of cultural diversity and language differences. The biggest takeaway from this chapter was that there are language differences among different cultures, which means that I need to be more culturally responsive. In other words, I need to increase my cultural knowledge, cultural self-awareness, validation of others’ cultures, cultural validity, and cultural relevance. The chapter also touched on a few educational models for teaching children from minority cultural backgrounds. The two most common programs in this area are English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual. One
Connect – This week’s readings really expanded my view on the idea of language acquisition because I was not aware of all the stages prior to this reading. What it really reinforced was the fact that the human mind is amazingly powerful. It also reinforced the idea that reading and talking to a baby is very important for later language development. Children that do not have a language-rich home typically fall behind later on. I babysat my two cousins from birth to 6 years old and as I was reading about certain aspects of language development, I was able to remember some of the language development I saw first hand. I remember that my aunt (their grandma) and I used to read to them all the time, and the benefits are showing today. They both excelling in the area of language at school.
The chapter on cultural diversity and language differences reinforced that the United States is expected to continue to become even more diverse. This means that more teachers are going to need to obtain an ESL endorsement so that they know how to properly work with a wide range of children with different cultural backgrounds and language differences. One part of the reading that I never thought about before was the idea that publishing companies do not have many materials out in Spanish for teaching children with intellectual or learning impairments, which I hope changes as we become more diverse in our country.
Apply – From this week’s reading, it is clear that I need to spend some more time breaking down the stages of language development because there was a lot of information included in the chapter, and I know I will be using it going forward. The biggest takeaway is that I need to go back to school after I finish this program to get my ESL endorsement because it will become much more beneficial in the US as we continue to become more and more diverse. I also need to start becoming more culturally responsive. I grew up going to very diverse schools in U-46, but I feel that I still have some areas that I need to spend time in prior to becoming a licensed teacher and when I am a licensed teacher. I need to spend time understanding cultural differences, time better understanding of how I perceive different cultures, and time better understanding how culture can impact behaviors. If I start working on this now, I think it will become part of my routine to always check in with myself if I am being culturally responsive or not.
- Polloway, E. A., Miller, L., & Smith, T. E. C. (2019). Language instruction for students with disabilities (5th ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed, Inc.