Developing Oral Language in Primary Classrooms
Oral language is believed to be an important component of language development because of the belief that it facilitates other aspects of learning such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Both culture and the school environment shape the learners’ ability to acquire language despite the constant struggle that a teacher has to go through in a bid to meet individual needs of every student. Nonetheless, for children to develop language, they must be able to construct the language, there must be facilitators, the language should be contextual, and there needs to be an objective to be met among other things. In other words, the environment should be designed with facilities to facilitate learning. According to Kirkland and Patterson, resources for learning should also be chosen carefully and be varied, contextual, and pictorial (392-393). At the same time, the learning process should be procedural and age-based. For instance, using instructional daily news for language learning might first involve the instructor writing down them, then diction, and finally, an interactive writing. However, in all the above aspects, the clarity of the ideas to be written cannot be underrated.
Besides daily news, the teachers should carefully plan and guide the children through the entire process of oral language. In addition, oral language can also be facilitated by an engaging curriculum. This is a form of curriculum that is content focussed and appropriate for children. This includes focusing on aspects such as interest and involving the children to learn what they love most. They might also include various toys, artifacts or instruments that are familiar to the children and can easily be associated with certain learning. Through such instruments, children get to engage their minds in the learning, construct knowledge and associate the content of the realia and artifacts used in the learning process to acquire oral language.
Critique of the Article
Ideally, both culture and environment should be perceived as a single-component “environment”. Considering the fact that the environment automatically determines a child’s ability to acquire language, teachers should not struggle with meeting individual needs of every student. However, the role of the teachers in primary classrooms should focus on developing a holistic curriculum that can accommodate students from all walks of life. Language acquisition is not only a process, but also a product of planned environment. First and foremost, the environment comprises of both facilitators and resources required by learners. Moreover, for children in primary classroom to acquire language, they must be provoked to think and be allowed to take part in the conversation.
The author’s argument concerning the language acquisition in primary classrooms is an issue that cannot be assumed. This is particularly based on the fact that children in their early stages of life find it easy to learn by association thereby justifying the fact that the environment should not only be enriched with learning resources, but relevant and contextual resources as well as planned and guided learning. Naturally, an important curriculum should engage the learners. That is, the curriculum should be holistic. This is more or less like ensuring that learning aids are utilized in the learning process. In the case of primary school children, the learning aids might involve things such as animals, realia, artifacts, and an appropriate subject matter.
From the authors’ view, language acquisition in primary school children can easily be attained if the curriculum focuses on oral language. This is historically and currently true about language acquisition among children. For instance, it is hard for one to expect a child to learn several words or some information at once. However, it would be easier for the child to associated language with objects and progress in oral language. The authors do not end on the environment as a determinant of oral language in children. This is typical of the learning process; it must be planned, guided, and vanished with appropriate learning material.
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