Reflect on the knowledge and concepts you have learned in this course. With these thoughts in mind, complete the following:
- Describe three or more ways that your knowledge about language acquisition and development has increased.
- Summarize three or more insights you have gained about young children in relation to language acquisition and development.
- Identify any misconceptions or assumptions you held about language development that were dispelled in this course, and explain how and why each was dispelled.
- Reflect on the four observations and interviews you conducted during the course. In what ways, did these firsthand experiences demonstrate for you the uniqueness of the process of language development? Use specific examples from the observations and interviews to support your response.
Assignment length: 1–2 pages
- Part 1 (Week 2): Observing an Infant or Toddler Interacting with an Important Adult
You will observe a young child in one of the three stages of language development: prelinguistic (using sounds and gestures), phonological (transitioning from sounds to speech), or semantic (learning the meanings of words). Then, you will interview the parent or caregiver about the child’s language development. The goal of this assignment is to observe the child’s means of communication and apply what you have learned about how important adults can foster language development in very young children.
- Part 2 (Week 3): Observing a Preschooler’s Communicative Competence You will observe a young child 3–5years old using language. The goal of this assignment is to look for evidence of the child’s communicative competence using specific measures, and consider how important adults can foster one or more aspects of the child’s communicative competence.
- Part 3 (Week 4): Interview on Second Language Learning
You will interview an older student or adult who is bilingual about the experience of learning English as a second language; or you will interview a teacher of young English language learners (ELL) or a foreign language teacher about children’s experiences in learning a second language. The goal is to increase your understanding of the experience of learning and using English and another language.
- Part 4 (Week 5): Interview on Developmental Leaps and Lags in Language Learning You will interview an early childhood teacher or a speech pathologist on the topic of language development to find out more about children whose language is delayed or who have atypical language development; or you will interview the parent of a child with a language delay or atypical language development. The goal is to expand your understanding of developmental differences in language development, or atypical language development caused by a specific condition or communication disorder, and the impact on children and families.
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