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Chapter 1: Language Learning in Early Childhood
Transcript of Chapter 1: Language Learning in Early Childhood
The Behaviourist Perspective:
Say what I say
- psychological theory that all learning, whether verbal or non-verbal, takes place through the establishment of habits.
Explaining first language acquisition
American Sign Language (ASL)
- like oral & written languages, ASL makes use of grammatical markers to indicate such things as time (for example, past tense) and number.
- expressed through specific hand or body motions
Documented 'natural experiments'
Language Disorder and Delays
The Innatist Perspective: It's all in your mind
- A theory that human beings are born with mental structures that are designed specifically for the acquisition of language.
Only 5-10% of the profoundly deaf are born to deaf parents, and only these children are likely to be exposed to ASL from birth.
attacked behaviouristic approaches arguing that:
- all human languages are fundamentally innate,
-language develops in the child in just the same way that other biological functions develop,
-language does not need to be taught.
Although Victor and Genie provide evidence in support of CPH, it is impossible to determine whether either of them suffered from brain damage, developmental delays, or a specific language impairment, before they were separated from normal human interaction.
- Children try to reproduce what they hear and encouraged by their environment they continue to imitate and practice the sounds and patterns until they form habits of correct language use
Children simply imitate the language produced by those around them
Mother: Shall we play with the dolls?
Child: Play with dolls
- 1940's and 1950's
- viewed imitation and practice as the primary process in language development
- gives great importance to the environment as the source of everything the child needs.
- The Critical Period Hypothesis -
animals, including humans, are genetically programmed to acquire certain kinds of knowledge and skills at specific times in life
beyond these critical periods it is either difficult or impossible to acquire those abilities
children who are not given access to language in early childhood (because of deafness or extreme isolation) will never acquire language if it happens to go on for too long
Learning from inside and out
Cognitive and developmental psychologists hypothesize that what children need to know is essentially available in the language they are exposed to as they hear it used in thousands of hours of interactions with the people and objects around them.
In their view, language acquisition is but one example of the child's remarkable ability to learn from experience, and they see no need to assume that there are specific brain structures devoted to language acquisition.
observed infants and children in their play and in their interaction with objects and people.
He was able to trace the development of their cognitive understanding of such things:
- object permanence
- stability of quantities regardless of changes in their appearances
- logical inferencing
For Piaget, language was one of a number of symbol systems that are developed in childhood.
Language can be used to represent knowledge that children have acquired through physical interaction with the environment.
concluded that language develops primarily from social interaction.
He argued that in a supportive interactive environment, children are able to advance to a higher level of knowledge and performance (ZPD).
For Vygotsky, thought was essentially internalized speech, and speech emerged in social interaction.