ERIC Number: ED190200
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Nov
Reference Count: 0
A Functional Approach to Language Development.
McKenna, Anne T.
Since language largely derives from social interaction, preschool children should be provided many opportunities to converse, question and play with words. In this way children learn what to do with language in order to communicate effectively and appropriately. Recently begun investigations of language as it is actually used may produce findings that will be important to teachers of preschool children. One recent study has compared socially disadvantaged children's ability to tell their teacher a story from a picture seen either (1) with both the teacher and the child looking at the picture, or (2) with the teacher blindfolded and the child looking at the picture. It was found that when the theacher could not see (because of her "sore eyes") the children made attempts to speak more explicitly. When both the teacher and the children could see the picture, the children apparently assumed that the teacher did not need a definite account. These findings indicate the reserves of verbal skill possessed by socially disadvantaged children. They also suggest the need of a context meaningful to the child and one that provides opportunities to use verbal skills, if children's competencies are to be displayed. Teachers should develop skills in recognizing and utilizing such contexts as they occur naturally when adults and children interact in the preschool. (Author/RH)
Descriptors: Communication Skills, Disadvantaged Youth, Early Childhood Education, Language Acquisition, Language Usage, Perspective Taking, Preschool Children, Speech Communication
To be published as a chapter in "Current Topics in Early Childhood Education". Vol. 3, 1980. Lilian Katz (ERIC Clearinghouse on Early Childhood Education), Editor. Ablex Publishing Corp., 355 Chestnut St., Norwood, NJ 07648 ($17.50).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; ERIC Publications; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference on Children of the 80's (Urbana, IL, November 5-7, 1979).