Children playing in a push car. An instance wh...

Children playing in a push car. An instance where “vroom” may be used during play in early language development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Most children learn how to listen, speak, read, and write from birth through grade three. They typically begin to use

literacy as a learning tool in the middle to the end of third grade.”  There is a concern when children come from

homes where conversation is not encouraged.  What can parents and teachers do?  Do you agree with the Post University

Blog?  How do the prior topics from Inspired Educationalist relate to the 6 activities in the Post Blog?

Blog – Post University: 6 activities to improve children’s language development.

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It is said that when talking to a person the information that we receive can be broken down as:

  • 10% from what the person actually says
  • 40% from the tone and speed of voice
  • 50% is from their body language.

Have you ever had a child hold your head in their hands as they talk with you?  It is certainly a strategy I have observed that communicates:  I’m interested. I’m available to listen. You can slow down, I’m here. What have you observed about the ways in which children communicate?

Benjamin Lee Whorf

Benjamin Lee Whorf ( Wikipedia)

Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.
Benjamin Lee Whorf

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we talk to each other as educators.  What effect does that have on children’s learning?  When we make a choice to call our time together  “Collaboration ” instead of “staff meeting” does that elevate the subject matter to focus on children’s work instead of  house keeping type topics?  When we call each other “educators” in addition to “teachers” does that imply a different attitude? When we talk about our projections, intentions, and provocations instead of “plans” do we instill a sense of professionalism and a move away from didactic methods? By choosing certain words does it shape the way we think? Some might think we’re just putting on airs but I feel that we are trying to find strategies that support a new way of thinking about children and about our work together.  What do you think?

Have you given thought to the concept that when young children hear judgement words (lovely, nice, beautiful, good, bad, naughty, mean) they often internalize and personalize these words?  For example, if a young child hears “That’s not very nice.” it is felt as “I’m not very nice.”  How can we move from using judgement words?  One way is to practice using descriptive and clear language  that focuses on the behavior and not the child. By saying “Biting hurts” you describe the behavior and its consequences, it is clear and not judgmental.  By saying “Ouch, that hurt Will.” You are showing empathy for the child who was hurt and helping children see the impact of their actions in language they understand.  If we value language as a powerful teaching tool, we will be able to use language to support and guide young children through daily life in the Preschool.