Development of Language

The manner in which children learn to understand and successfully communicate through language is among the most important questions studied by psychologists. The appropriate use of language is central to virtually all aspects of learning and social development. Successful and appropriate language communication is also closely linked to the individual’s place in society, while the inability to communicate clearly hampers and may virtually eliminate a person’s ability to cope with even the simplest educational and social situations.

The drawings produced by preschoolers can be channeled by parents and teachers so that they can print letters for a start. They will not be able to distinguish writing from drawing initially but around the age of 4, children will show distinctive features of print like forms arranged in a line on the page (Levin & Bus, 2003 as cited in Chapter 8). The studies of imitative language focus on children’s acquisition of grammatical rules by observational learning.

Investigators have also been interested in whether the substance of a child’s language can be modified by exposure to social models (without any reinforcement to the child for appropriate responses). Numerous experiments have now disclosed that principles for generating novel responses can be acquired through observation of others (Bandura and McDonald, 1963). If principles of language usage, rather than mere words, can be shown to be acquired through observational learning, then, thus would provide at least a partial account of the process of language acquisition.

Erik Erikson as psychoanalyst taught that any person, child or adult faces specific life crisis that they have to resolve in order to perform their tasks (Atkinson 1993). During early childhood or preschool, a child develops an ability to initiate activities (Atkinson 1993). teachers have to learn how to encourage or discourage them in order that the child would not feel inadequate (Atkinson 1993).

During middle child hood or elementary, children learn various skills such as reading and writing, but they have to interact socially with others in order to feel successful or competent, otherwise they would feel inferior (Atkinson 1993). During this time, a teacher should constantly but reasonably praise a child for a job well done. Another way of supporting the development of language in early childhood is through make-believe play. Piaget claimed that by pretending, young people can now practiced and strengthen newly acquired representational schemes (Chapter 9).