Language development is considered as a key component in the social, psychological, and moral life of a growing child. Nevertheless, it does not usually occur throughout the life of a human being, but in the early stages of development, mainly termed as childhood stages.
At the same time, language development is a sequential process that does not take a short period of time, but quite some time to almost the maturity of an individual. Language can be defined as a medium, through which a person communicates with the other. In addition, language development occurs hand in hand with the stages of children development (Neuman et al., 2010).
This paper will give an overview of the language specifically development in early child hood. Additionally, it will address on the best methodologies that teachers in care of the children in their early development stages should use in order to have success in teaching children language.
On the other hand, it will give an overview of the various aspects that address the language acquirement in the early childhood, as well as the factors that influence the language development in young children. More over, it will also explore a number of theories that explain the development of language in the early childhood (Neuman, et al., 2010).
Language development is a continuous process; sequences of processes or events have to occur in the life of a human being in order for language to develop. In addition, one has to interact with people, objects and experiences in order that language development takes place. Language development occurs as a child moves from one stage of body development to the other.
There are as number of developmental stages that a human being undergoes in order to mature, and similarly, the concept of language follows these growth patterns. Experts have identified language as a key to cultural background, our perceptions interactions with others as well as the environment as well as communication (Neuman et al., 2010).
On the other hand, for language development to take place, there are various aspects that have been put into consideration by elites, which explain the acquisition of language in their different growth stages, since its newborn up to when it acquires 18-24 months.
A child responds differently in speech during these different growth stages, thus it is very essential for parents to be enlightened on this to accelerate their caution during the times when they up bring their children, since any slight mistake would ruin a child forever. For instance, children that do not get a suitable person to interact with or teach them speech may end up being stammers or slow learners. Hence, the distinct aspects herein discussed indicate language acquisition processes.
More over, those teaching language to children should be aware that they require various language competencies that are considered key communication and interactions with their peers. One, they need to understand appropriate language, to apply it in their oral communication as well as utilizing it in different societal settings.
Secondly, they ought to understand and utilize the written language as well as learn to use it for distinct purposes in order that they fit in a dynamic world. Teachers of fist language to young children should also be made aware that in order for children to communicate, effectively, there exist several modes of language reception. i.e., for a child to be able to communicate orally, they must be able to listen to a spoken speech (Ahuja, 2010).
Therefore, it is crucial that those interacting with children utter meaningful words and speech to their children to ensure proper communication. It is evident from research that those children who do not have good speech were either subjected to people who do not care what they utter, or others who are said to be introverts and thus do not know the meaning of oral communication.
Additionally, for a child to have an effective writing ability, they must be able to read other written materials. It is therefore crucial that children be taught how to read written materials in order for them to have a strong foundation in written communication and can apply it in distinct phenomena in life. In addition, appropriate concepts must be put into place to enhance language development in a child (Neuman et al., 2010).
Various aspects addressing language development
There are at most five aspects that address the issue of language development, which emerge from the way children receive and communicate with each other as well as other individuals order than them. It is essential to note that the skill through which language is received determines the way in which the same language is expressed at its maturity by the receiver.
Thus, it is always very important for parents and teachers/ caregivers address to children since they form the foundation of communication in the children that they are upbringing (Espinosa, 2008).
To begin with, phonetic increment is an aspect that is commonly observed in a toddler. This implies how they are able to bring out their views depending on what is seen, and at the same time, it implies their capability in constructing phonemes from what is heard from their fellows. Phonemes are those negligible units that are normally used in words construction and can have some meaning in them.
This aspect of communication is the earliest in the life of a child when they learn to listen and utter the same sounds or words that they hear, though at first they say the sounds unsteadily. Nevertheless, some parents or caregivers have neglected this stage and uttered wrong things to their children while others do not create time to be with their children in these stages, thus denying them to learn the correct language.
This is the reason why some take quite a long time to learn a language and others do not understand the language completely. Thus, caregivers should learn/ be taught the importance of teaching their children in this early stage which forms the basis of language development in the early childhood (Espinosa, 2008).
Secondly, the aspect of Semitism is one, which explains how a child tries to connect a particular speech to the meaning it brings out. This stage is mainly for those children with one to two years of age. They easily listen, conceive, and express what was heard from a particular conversation.
In addition, at this stage, they can easily develop perceptions towards people, environments, and can relate speech and events. Semantic advance also signifies the types of variations that occur between children that have been brought up in different families and backgrounds as well (Neuman et al., 2010).
The third is a syntactic aspect of language development, which entails the way a child reads a storybook or another reading material and what they experience from such an acquaintance. It is surprising that many parents do not even create some time to accompany their children in reading some written materials, and the few who do it always feel a great positive impact since their children are always sharp, contrarily to those left alone to it.
The reading of short form of stories to them by the parent or a caregiver gives the developing child an open experience and an opportunity to develop their verbal skills as well as enhance word arrangement skills (Espinosa, 2008).
More over, there is the morphemic aspect whose main function is to influence the phonetic aspect. This includes the ability of a child to identify and differentiate distinct sounds e.g. tenses, plurals etc. Finally, we have the pragmatic aspect, which entails the understanding that the child gains, of how different language patterns are utilized in different phenomena.
This is usually helpful to avoid usage of any language anywhere. As the child progresses in growth, he is able to understand more. All the five aspects are interrelated since none can be used without the others and all are key components in language development (Oates and Grayson, 2004).
Appropriate curriculum methodologies in teaching language and literacy to young children
Experts have all along addressed on the best curriculum methodologies that would be used in teaching language to young children. The best curriculum methodologies should focus higher on children’s acquisition and use of language. At the same time, good methodologies call for a reduction in the time for independent activities for children, both at school and at home, and advocate for activities done commonly by all children of the same age, and in the same environment.
In addition, it should also advocate for the best curricula approach in order that the needs of every child be met and enhance their development. More over, Kindergartners should devise and put into practice a curriculum that fosters for children development more than anything else.
Another method that might be also useful to the teachers is the utilization of a common language that acts as an instrument to nourish the development of the appropriate language skills. The children should also be provided with opportunities to interact with one another and their teachers as much as possible (Oates.and Grayson, 2004)
On the other hand, teachers should identify children as people that are equally important in the society, and therefore converse with them at times regardless of their level of knowledge, since this enables them to realize their mistakes easily in language.
At the same time, every teacher or parent should aspire to give the best to the child they interact with, i.e.; they should be more goal-oriented than money-oriented. Furthermore, the best methodologies are those that allow room for oral conversations through various settings of conversations that may be set by teachers as well as through the encouragement they give the students on the importance of understanding language (Oates.and Grayson, 2004).
Furthermore, appropriate curriculum techniques should depict the Bloom’s taxonomy It explains that every process must be stepwise, thus the language acquisition process is no exception. It begins with the acquisition of the required knowledge, followed by an understanding of the language or the spoken words.
On the other hand, the child should be taught in a way that he could be able to apply the knowledge gained. The knowledge gained should also be easily analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated by the receiver. Thus, appropriate methodologies should give room for such a system that meets the need of language development by every child (Espinosa, 2008).
Factors influencing language development
All along since the beginning of life, communication has taken place and all occurs as a result of language acquisition herein discussed. A number of factors have been found to influence the language development in early childhood. Some of them may influence the language negatively, while others are deemed positive. First, language development depends on learner characteristics; 90% research findings have supported this factor.
Learner characteristics may be inborn, acquired, or even inherited from their earlier generations. For instance, there are children with quite good first teachers of language but do not even learn to communicate orally. People give a variety of reasons as to why such things occur but in the real sense, God created some to be in that form, so no matter how much they are taught, they cannot comprehend.
Others are slow learners, not because they are not brought up well, but due to inheriting some traits from their parents or grandparents. Others fail to effectively communicate since their first language teachers did not concentrate in teaching them appropriately, thus end up being poor learners.
On the contrarily, others are very fast in learning, comprehending as well as expressing. It is important to indicate that learner characteristics are majorly influenced by their up bringing environment, natural settings as well as the teachers of their first language. Therefore, teachers and parents should be enlightened to be cautious on the type of children they interact with and identify the correct methods for dealing with each kind of an individual (Espinosa, 2008).
Secondly, another important factor is the linguistic input. This refers to the role played by the individuals involved in bringing up the children in their early stages of development. Some care-giving teachers are so concerned with the impact of their inputs to the children that are entrusted to them, thus perform their best in bringing up their children.
These include giving enough time to their children while teaching them language, paying someone on their behalf to teach language to their children when they realize they don’t have time or even checking on the work that their children have done in school. Some concerned teachers will also provide a report to the respective parents of the children they teach on their performance in language acquisition, and these factors altogether contribute to a firm foundation of language development.
On the other hand some parents and teachers are less concerned about their children’s progress in terms of language acquisition, they do not even check the progress of their children or even their welfare at school; hence, they end up failing them. A wise scientist said that the amount of input determines the amount of output, which has been found to be true even in terms of language acquisitions and development in early childhood (Ahuja, 2010).
Finally, language development depends on the social setting of the children in their early stages. This may imply social setting at home, family or in school. Language acquisition is often influenced by family’s social settings in that, children brought up in setting with other children are able to acquire language more easily than those brought in families alone are.
Experts say that first-born children are more frequently exposed to this danger since they do not find other children in their growing environment unless those of the extended families.
It is therefore crucial that parent’s device mechanisms that would enable their firstborn children interact with people to enhance language development. School settings are also crucial as social settings when it comes to language acquisition. Schools with teacher that are concerned about the progress of their pupils at their early age will see the children develop their second language very easily.
On the other hand, teachers and parents who do not mind their children level of language are prone to let their children slow in language development, which may also be a hindrance to their success in all aspects. Therefore, it is essential that the social setting of a child at a tender age be thoroughly examined and changed if necessary to ensure that language development takes the prescribed mechanisms (Oates.and Grayson, 2004).
Theories governing language development
A number of theories are in existences that have tried to explain language development in early childhood. First, the nativist theory put forward by Noam Chomsky is the major theory. It tries to overview the human being’s inborn characteristics as a key to the acquisition of language, thus it is possible for persons to learn through acquiring syntactic knowledge.
Secondly, the interactionist theory explores on the importance of social-cultural interactions and explains that much of the language that children acquire depend upon interactions. Thus, it is always important that children be given an opportunity to interact with each other and those older than they are.
More over, there is the behaviorist theory that depicts about behaviors in language use. It explains that a society, family, or individuals’ behavior in the use of language has a definite impact on children being taught. Thus, appropriate behaviour as well as appropriate use of language is commendable when teaching children language (Neuman et al., 2010).
Language development is a crucial aspect in the life of a human being. Thus, sequences of processes have been found to take place during the process of language development. The aim of this critical writing has been achieved since we have been able to come up with an overview of the language development as a process.
Additionally, it has been possible to establish a number of theories that do govern the language development processes. More over, an overview has been provided of applicable curriculum methodologies that are essential to teachers, parents, and caregivers in teaching young children language.
Some factors have also been found viable in influencing the language development process, some of which influence the process negatively, and others positively. Overall, language acquisition is a learning process and language development occurs as a result of language acquisition. It takes the effort of a number of people for a child in his early age to acquire a language.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that teachers, parents and caregivers be cautious, and device the best methods to teach children the first and all other languages that they may need. It is possible for children to be able to fit in all settings when they have acquired the best language and when they have gone through an ample language development process (Harris, 1990).
Ahuja, Y. (2010). Factors Influencing Brain Development in Children. Retrieved from http://www.mymontessoriacademy.com/newsletters/websitebraindevelopmentinchildren.pdf.
Espinosa, T. (2008). The Ten Key Factors Influencing Successful Multilingualism. Second language acquisition in early childhood: Early Childhood Education. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Harris, J. (1990). Early language development: implications for clinical and educational practice. NY: Routledge publishers.
Neuman, S. et al. (2010). Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 3. NY: Guilford Press publishers.
Oates, J. and Grayson, A. (2004). Cognitive and language development in children. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell publishers.