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Facilitating Language Development

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The exploration of development that is often typical of toddlers points to the importance of the environment or modeling to facilitate language development. For example, learning theorists believe that language is acquired through classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and/or modeling. B. F. Skinner is a proponent of this perspective. Other major theoretical perspectives in language development include cognitive developmental theory developed by Jean Piaget. Cognitive developmental theorists believe that language has to do with the child's capacity for symbolic thought, which develops toward the end of the sensorimotor period (about age two).

If much of the language that toddlers are exposed to is babbling and cartoons targeted toward toddlers and pre-school age children (roughly ages 2-4), their subsequent speech is a reflection. My own interactions with my daughter illustrates the salience of modeling, as her speech is a mirror of the modeling provided in the environment (i.e. interactions with me, other relatives and friends). In light of what we have discussed, thus far, in the course (e.g. attention, memory, schemas, etc) , what factors do you the language development of children?

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This solution discusses what factors affect the language development in children.

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According to Piaget, schemas are a way to keep our knowledge organized. In his theory, the idea is that we store the information in our memory and use it when we need it. For children, they can develop an initial schema or an understanding of items, objects, and things from what they see in a book or when they see in life. Piaget's theory of discovery learning has been used in primary schools and preschools. The idea of discovery learning is that children learn more and best by actually doing things and actively exploring the world around them. This is where I think modeling really comes into play. They pay to attention to people around them, mimic what they see, and store the information in their initial schemas to be used at a later time.

One of the most noted theorists is Albert Bandura. Bandura's social-cognitive theory accentuates the social origins of behavior in addition to the cognitive thought process that impact human behavior and functioning. Bandura suggests that cognitive factors are fundamental to human performance and that learning can happen even when there is absence of direct reinforcement. That is, learning can transpire through observing models (Faculty of Science, 2001).

The first of Bandura's basic concepts to be discussed is observational learning. Bandura recommended a four step conceptual scheme of the process involved in observational learning; otherwise, known as modeling (Faculty of Science, 2001): The shared nature of the elements of human functioning in social cognitive theory makes it possible to guide therapeutic efforts to personal, environmental, or behavioral factors (Pajares, 2002).

Step 1: This step incorporates observer attributes such as sensory capacities, arousal levels, perceptual set, motivation, and past reinforcement. This step includes the attentional processes that are implicated including certain model characteristics which may increase the possibility of the behavior being attended to (Lumbert, 2005).

Step 2: This step incorporates an observer's retention processes. This includes the observer using the ability to encode, remember, and make sense of what was ...

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  • MA Education (Family and Community Services), Ashford University
  • B.A., Ashford University
  • A.S., Oklahoma State University
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