Child’s Language Development

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Using information from Chapter 1, how would you support the statement “the teacher is the most important assessment instrument?” What principles should guide early childhood teachers’ teaching of language and literacy?

According to Vukelich, Christie, Enz, and Roskos, the development of a child’s language skills depends on parental involvement, teacher’s guidance, as well as individual peculiarities of a child. Every infant makes early attempts to communicate, and parents strive to engage their children in conversation. It is a fact that parent-child interaction creates a basis for successful language learning. It should be noted that teachers play a crucial role because the teaching techniques being applied also have a great impact not only on the general development of a child but also his or her language learning abilities. Developing language skills leads to literacy improvement but only if parental support contributes to a child’s gaining communicative competence.

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First of all, it should be mentioned that Vukelich, Christie, Enz, and Roskos do not underestimate the importance of a teacher’s role in literacy development. A teacher, by applying the correct approaches and methods, enables children to improve their language skills by interacting with their peers and engaging in lively discussions. It makes sense to state that all educators should be aware of the subtleties of the Early Childhood Program in order to implement teaching methods and curriculum properly. A wrongful approach may hinder the development of a child’s language and communicative skills. Therefore, the peculiarities of the implementation of a curriculum depend mainly on the number of children in a group, which also affects the choice of materials to be presented to the class.

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Furthermore, a teacher has to create an appropriate environment that is print-rich and “risk-free.” A “risk-free” environment enables children to integrate new skills with those that have been previously acquired. Providing young students with appropriate literacy materials encourages them to cognize new things. According to Vukelich, Christie, Enz, and Roskos, a “risk-free” environment is central to children’s learning about language and literacy. As a result, the cognitive growth becomes obvious and teachers are satisfied with the development of a child’s cognitive abilities.

In my opinion, the assessment of the learning process is essential as it stimulates children to work harder to progress and achieve better results. As a matter of fact, the use of standardized tests is often criticized. According to its opponents, it is not the best way for a teacher to assess a child’s progress whereas classroom-based real-life reading and writing tasks are prioritized. That is why, teachers are not encouraged to use standardized tests as it is better for them “to gather evidence of what their children know through classroom-based real-life tasks” (Vukelich, Christie, Enz, and Roskos 14). I agree that “the teacher is the most important assessment instrument” because only he or she can assess children objectively considering the achievements and efforts of each of them. Children cannot assess themselves, that is why only a teacher is able “to use multiple indicators to assess and monitor a child’s development” (Vukelich, Christie, Enz, and Roskos 14). However, it should also be noted that praising children is almost equal to the assessment as it ensures a strong motivation for them to gain knowledge.

Thus, it is significant for a teacher to follow the key principles and strategies to avoid difficulties during the working process. One of the most important principles is the adaptation of the materials regarding the age of the students to make them suitable for the development level of the latter. I find the strategy of mental imagery the most appealing as it helps children build various associations that contribute to a better understanding of a particular subject.

In addition, a teacher has to allow children to experiment with paper and pencils because while doing so they develop their creativity. What is more, even by drawing on paper children create and attach a new meaning to an object that they have not been aware of before. In this manner, a teacher engages children in both purposeful reading and writing. Nevertheless, the most important task of a teacher is to help parents understand their role in a child’s literacy as they are also expected to make a significant contribution in this regard. Children require parents’ and peers’ support on their way to developing literacy skills.

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How are the neural maturation process, motor development, and language development interrelated? What advice (based on research) would you offer a new parent about how they can support their child’s language development?

The general development of a child does not include only language development or, for instance, high IQ. It is a complex phenomenon that includes language development, motor development, and neural maturation process. These components cannot exist separately as they complement one another by creating interrelation leading to a general result.

Every child has a natural instinct to learn the language. Nevertheless, an infant is supposed to develop this instinct by training memory and improving creativity. The neurobiological approach, for instance, presupposes that a child has the ability to learn language due to neurons. A child starts perceiving the language at an early age due to such sections of the brain that are responsible for hearing and interpreting a language. Therefore, it is recommended to engage children in conversation as much as possible in order to develop their neural networks.

Moreover, Vukelich, Christie, Enz, and Roskos underline that motor development depends on the neural maturation process as the proper functioning of the brain enables children to control the movements of their bodies. For example, a child may turn the head in response to the sounds that are articulated by parents. Such motor behavior means that children percept information due to neurons and try to react to it by making body movements. It should be noted that the interrelation of motor development and the neural maturation process is obvious because motor behavior is impossible without the proper work of neurons. Thus, the proper functioning of neurons enables children to gain control over their bodies. Therefore, the early development of neural networks gives the foundation for motor competence and, eventually, contributes to cognitive as well as overall development.

Nevertheless, the process of learning a language may be challenging for children. Thus, parental involvement is extremely important. They not only help infants to perceive and understand the world but also teach them how to communicate. Parents talk to infants, although they are aware that a young child cannot understand the meaning of their words. Communication with toddlers is a perfect strategy because neuron networks are already working, and the child perceives the sounds, although only subconsciously. Having heard the sounds, children try to imitate and repeat them. Although these sounds may differ from those of an adult, a child trains his or her systems thus boosting the development processes.

Parents are always willing to accelerate their child’s language learning processes. However, some of them are unfamiliar with the subtleties of teaching their child. Thus, a lack of parental experience may have an unfavorable impact on a child’s development. Therefore, young parents strive to gain knowledge to create a stimulating atmosphere for young language learners.

There exist many approaches that may be helpful in this regard. Firstly, it is not expected from parents to teach children language structures because they acquire them listening and imitating the sounds. In addition, infants cannot pronounce the sounds clearly; that is why parents do not have to criticize the efforts of a child but are supposed to support and praise them.

To put it differently, parents are to observe the child’s early attempts, but they may transform his or her sentences into well-formed structures. Besides, it makes sense to use age-appropriate vocabulary while talking to the child because he or she cannot perceive difficult words. Parents’’ rate of speech is also essential as it influences a child’s psychology. Children may speak at an abnormal rate and “their speech is often incomprehensible and unclearly articulated” (Vukelich, Christie, Enz, and Roskos 43). Thus, it may lead to serious psychological disorders, such as stuttering.

Finally, parents should talk face-to-face with their children at a distance to enable them to see a mother’s or a father’s mouth uttering the words. It is an effective method that also contributes to mutual interaction. Besides, it is worth mentioning that parents’’ support and early interactions with children help children “to gain communicative competence and confidence” (Vukelich, Christie, Enz, and Roskos 33).

To sum up, it is important to underline the importance of a child’s development since early childhood. The way parents support their children and bring them up greatly influences their future outlook and abilities. Of course, young learners have the natural instinct for mastering language, but they need help to develop it properly. Therefore, only the common efforts of parents and teachers will bring the best results.

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