Teach English in Huhehaotejingjijishu KAifAqu JinchuAnqu - Huhehaote Shi — Hohhot

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Introduction Oral language lays the foundation for the reading and writing skills children will develop as they enter and progress through school. They will use oral language in all aspects of their education, in the classroom as they connect with their peers and teachers, and throughout their lives as they grow into adulthood. Having a solid foundation in oral language will help children become successful readers and strong communicators as well as build their confidence and overall sense of well-being. Lily Wong Fillmore and Catherine Snow, language and literacy researchers and authors of the first chapter of the book What Teachers Need to Know About Language, tell us that, “Oral language functions as a foundation for literacy and as the means of learning in school and out” (Fillmore & Snow, 2002). However, oral language development is often missing from reading and writing programs, leaving teachers to wonder why their students are still struggling or taking longer than expected to become proficient speakers and readers. If children do not have a solid foundation in oral language, communicating effectively and learning to read can be a long and difficult process. “Children’s speaking and listening lead the way for their reading and writing skills, and together these language skills are the primary tools of the mind for all future learning” (Roskos, Tabors, & Lenhart, 2009). Providing students with high-quality early childhood education enriched with a supplemental program promoting oral language and literacy development can help young students become proficient readers by third grade. Oral language and critical listening is essential for young learners. This could be achieved through teaching young learners between the ages of three and four the most important sounds, vocabulary, and communicative expressions, whilst also engaging them in delightful and fun activities. Before we have a brief look into the How we should also take note of the: 1) Characteristics of Oral Language • Is all the word symbols that make up a particular code or language. • Having a large and flexible vocabulary is important because language • is symbolic • has standards for appropriateness • adds interest to communication • We communicate with others based on the meanings we assign to things around us and the symbols we use to communicate those meanings. • When people share knowledge and understanding of language, they are able to communicate effectively. • A broad base of knowledge and meaning on a wide range and variety of subjects, along with knowledge about language, provides a base for effective communication. 2) Meaning of Oral Language • The basic understandings and rules that regulate the use of language. • These rules identify all the different components of a language, explain their functions and dictate the way they are used in communication. • Not all languages observe the same rules of grammar. Learning the rules that regulate a particular code is important to using a language appropriately and skillfully. • Sound is central to the very idea of oral language. • Oral means uttered or spoken. Importance of sound • Sounds not only are vital for understanding the words of a language, they also affect the interpretation of messages Sound and Image • Fair or not, individuals often are judged and labeled according to the way their speech sounds. • Is the way the different parts of a language are arranged. • Both words and sentences must follow an accepted structure in order to carry meaning from a speaker to a listener. • Words have syllables that go in a particular order and influence the function and meaning of the word. 3) Stages of Language Development: There are two main areas of language: • Receptive language (understanding): Comprehension of language. • Expressive language (using language): The use of language through speech, sign or alternative forms of communication to communicate wants, needs, thoughts and ideas. Note: Each stage of development assumes that the preceding stages have been successfully achieved. The first 3 years of life, when the brain is developing and maturing, is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. These skills develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others. There appear to be critical periods for speech and language development in infants and young children when the brain is best able to absorb language. If these critical periods are allowed to pass without exposure to language, it will be more difficult to learn. As teachers we should notice when Children have trouble understanding what others say (receptive language) or difficulty sharing their thoughts (expressive language) indicating that they may have a language disorder. Specific language impairment (SLI) is a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills. Some children with SLI may not begin to talk until their third or fourth year. Children who have trouble producing speech sounds correctly or who hesitate or stutter when talking may have a speech disorder. Apraxia of speech is a speech disorder that makes it difficult to put sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words. The How Mary Finocchiaro and Christopher Brumfit (1983) explained that there are many activities for speaking teaching that teachers can choose appropriately an activity for students in each level as below: - Answering questions that teachers or friends ask. - Telling friends to act with order. - Letting students ask or answer friends’ questions related to classroom or outside experiences. - Telling characters of objects from the pictures. - Telling experiences by providing key words. - Reporting stories from assigned topics. - Setting classroom as scenes of some situations like restaurant, bank, and grocery. - Debating, discussing, and expressing your ideas. - Playing language games. - Practising to telephone. - Reading newspapers in English - Role playing. Speaking is divided into two main areas which are monologue and dialogue. Monologue is a person who speaks without interaction with other people (one person show) such as speech. Another one is dialogue that has at least 2 people talking together such as conversation. Moreover, people have to know some important means (managing interaction) to speak such as openings and closings, responding appropriately in fixed routine, taking turns, and topic management. Below a checklist which could be used by Teachers to ascertain the level of mastery of language skills of children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Young Learners hearing and oral development checklist 3 to 4 Years Hears you when you call from another room YES NO Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other family members YES NO Answers simple “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions YES NO Talks about activities at daycare, preschool, or friends’ homes YES NO Uses sentences with four or more words YES NO Speaks easily without having to repeat syllables or words YES NO 4 to 5 Years Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it YES NO Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school YES NO Uses sentences that give many details YES NO Tells stories that stay on topic YES NO Communicates easily with other children and adults YES NO Says most sounds correctly except for a few (l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th) YES NO Uses rhyming words YES NO Names some letters and numbers YES NO Uses adult grammar YES NO This checklist is based upon How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?,courtesy of the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association. Conclusion Early communication skills have implications for the child’s social and educational development across the early years and beyond. There is evidence that language competence is critical scaffolding for readiness to learn as well-developed communication and word skills are fundamental to a good start in the early years at school, therefore it is paramount to lay a proper foundation during the formative years of kindergarten learners. References 1 Covey, Stephen (1990). The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York City, NY: Free Press. 2 Fillmore, Lily W. & Catherine E. Snow (2002). What Teachers Need to Know about Language. McHenry, IL: Delta Systems. 3 Ukoumunne OC, Wake M, Carlin J, Bavin EL, Lum J, Skeat J, et al. Profiles of language development in pre-school children: A longitudinal latent class analysis of data from the Early Language in Victoria Study. Child: Care, Health and Development. 2012 //;38(3):341-9. 4 The checklist is based upon How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?, American Speech–Language–Hearing Association.