EDTC 6431: Language Dancing

The chapters by Christensen and Johnson (2011) were very interesting. Since I have had classes that have discussed in some detail about student motivation, I was more intrigued by Chapter 6: The Impact of the Earliest Years on Students’ Success. The one fact that jumped out was Christensen and Johnson (2011) stating “the children whose parents did not begin speaking seriously to their children until their children could speak […] suffered a persistent deficit in intellectual capacity, compared to those whose parents were talkative from the beginning” (p. 2592). I have always known that early development for children was extremely important, but never thought about the importance of the child’s intellectual development between 0-12 months and how communication can affect it. Christensen and Johnson (2011) talk about “language dancing” which is essentially talking, thinking aloud, and commenting on what the child or parent is doing or planning. This has shown to cultivate curiosity in children (Christensen & Johnson, 2011, p. 2614).

How can a teacher who may work with children as young as 3 (for pre-k) help facilitate growth and development that occurs at home? The solution Christensen and Johnson (2011) give is to teach children how to be parents before they become parents (p. 2683). They state that high school can be a place where classes could teach students early cognitive development for future parents (p. 2683). I personally feel that this could be beneficial and could be a lesson added on to the sexual education unit. Even though I think that this could be beneficial I am not convinced that students would care or get enough out of the lesson or unit to have a significant impact. My fear would be it would just be another thing that “goes in one ear and out the other” as students would not pay attention because they don’t have kids and won’t have kids for some time so why does it truly matter to them. It may be difficult for high school students to see and understand the big picture of the importance of “language dancing”.

This chapter also reminded me of the importance of demonstrating the proper use of words and language in the classroom. Not communicating at the cognitive level of your class, but communicating using dialect rich in vocabulary. For elementary, this could be to use the new vocabulary words throughout the week so that students become familiar with the sound, articulation, and the usage of the new words. The importance of using high levels of communication rich in vocabulary is similar towards the importance of “language dancing” for infants. Children may not totally understand the vocabulary or sentences but the exposure is important and will require students to explore definitions and sentence contexts.

E-Text Screen Shot

The research article shared about E-Texts was really interesting to me. On one hand I do understand and believe the E-Texts are extremely easy to use and can be much more portable then the standard textbook. They offer quick and easy ways to highlight, bookmark, make notes, and organize information. Students won’t have to worry about losing a textbook or damaging from writing inside when using E-Texts. On the other hand I think having technology such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops allows for more opportunities for students to be multitasking or doing other work. How many times have you been in a computer class and had another window open for something unrelated to what you were working on? I believe this problem would be significant for students and the reason why they like using E-Texts. They can easily go from their E-Text to checking their facebook with the teacher even knowing.

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

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2 thoughts on “EDTC 6431: Language Dancing

  1. Calvin,
    First of all I was so excited when I read about the impact talking to your children has on their intellectual capacity! I often find myself talking to my friends babies or toddlers who can’t say much of anything back because I thought it was good to expose them to the vocabulary and language and this is proof of my reasoning! As for how to support learning at home I think we can provide students with projects to complete with their parents or something when we ask them to discuss ideas or topics at home. I’ve had students go home and talk to their parents about how to complete their upcoming science project and it usually will create conversation at home and possibly get the parents involved.

  2. I particularly liked the part of this reflection where you discussed using rich vocabulary and proper grammar when conversing with students in your classroom. I think that this is an important point to remember when we are teachers some day. Students are more likely to develop vocabulary if they are hearing words used often and correctly around them. Thanks Calvin!

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