Chomsky’s Theory of Language Development discusses “critical periods” for learning language. Following from this theory, disruptions during critical periods should negatively affect the development of language.
Unfortunately, there are some examples from real life to demonstrate this hypothesis. Please link to and read the following regarding both a very recent and an historic case:
Here are some additional, optional resources on Genie:
Obviously, these are both horrific cases of child abuse.
1.) What does “Genie’s” final outcome tell us about language (and emotional) development?
2.) What cues can educators take from these tragic cases?
This lesson will explore the emotional and communication development of children. Firstly, we will discuss the theories of emotional development. We will then look at how emotion develops in two main stages: primary emotions which include joy, anger and fear, and secondary emotions which comprise the self-conscious emotions. We will then move onto attachment theory where we investigate how the different kinds of caregiver-infant relationships either create secure or insecure attachments, and the impact of these attachments on child development. In the second part of the lesson, we will explore language and communication development. We will cover how this development is socially facilitated, as well as the components of language and communication. Lastly, we will discuss the social use of language.
Emotions have many important functions and have a significant impact on child development. Emotions are internal responses to the environment, that are accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes. For instance, sadness may be accompanied by a change in heart rate and release of cortisol, a stress hormone. Learning how to interpret other’s emotions is also a key aspect of development.
Development of Emotional Expression
While most mothers agree that they can detect emotions in the first month of their baby’s life (Johnson, Emde, Pannabecker, Stenberg, & Davis, 1982), the Maximally Discriminative Facial Movement (MAX) coding system developed by Izard, Fantauzzo, Castle, Haynes and Slomine (1995), determines infant emotions based on their body movements and facial expressions.
GENDER AND NATIONALITY DIFFERENCES
Fear and Other Emotions
· STRANGER DISTRESS
· OTHER EMOTIONS
Fear is the second predominant primary emotion. Fear of strangers emerges around the same time that infants begin to show positive emotion to familiar people. According to Sroufe (1996), at around three months, infants begin to be wary when they are exposed to new situations because they have difficulty assimilating and comprehending the unfamiliar. From around seven months, this wariness turns into outright fear and distress.
Please select the two correct statements that refute the genetic-maturational perspective’s argument that biological factors determine how children react and regulate their emotions.
The rate of infant smiling is related to the rate of caregiver stimulation.
Babies begin to smile at 46 weeks from conception, whether they were born premature or full-term.
Stranger distress is not universal since it does not occur in cultures in which caregiving is shared among multiple relatives.
From about eight weeks, babies begin to look a lot at the mouth and respond to smiles.
I don’t know
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Secondary emotions function to identify and coordinate the role of the individual’s responsibility in a situation that involves other factors and/or people. Secondary emotion are self-conscious emotions that describe the individual’s perception of their relatively superior or inferior position. Secondary emotions emerge from around the second year (Saarni et al., 2006).
Emotional reactions differ from child to child, and are a consequence of temperament and environmental factors – particularly parental modeling. High negative emotionality results in more adjustment difficulties, depression and behavioral problems, while children with positive emotionality have high self-esteem, social competence and less adjustment issues.
PRIDE AND SHAME
JEALOUSY OF PARENTAL ATTENTION
Identifying Emotions in Others
Infants initially learn to interpret other’s emotions by observing caregiver facial expressions. Research suggests that babies recognize caregiver joy before they are able to recognize anger – similar to how babies first express joy and only later express anger (Izard et al., 1995). As children get older, they more accurately discern between genuine and inauthentic smiles (Del Giudice & Colle, 2007).
Experiences Impact Emotions
Children’s early experiences impact their ability to recognize emotions. For example, children who have experienced high levels of threat and hostility recognize anger more quickly and sadness more slowly than other children (Pollak & Sinha, 2002). Children from cultures that value group harmony and focus on other’s feelings, such as China and Mexico, are more capable than Australian and U.S. children at recognizing other’s emotions (Cole & Tan, 2007).
· EMOTIONAL RULES
· CONFLICTING EMOTIONS
· FAMILY ROLE
An important facet of development is learning to regulate and take control of one’s emotional expression. Infants learn that sucking their thumbs is soothing, while older children learn to avoid frightening situations and distract themselves. As children grow up, increased self-control modulates the intensity, frequency and variability of their emotions, and predicts later adjustment (Fox & Calkins, 2003; Saarni et al., 2006). For example, it is normal for two-year olds to have tantrums, but tantrums in older children and adults are not considered normal or healthy.
Watch this video on early childhood self-regulation.
Caregivers have the following two responsibilities:
To help children understand and speak about their own and other’s emotions.
To make their babies smile as often as possible because this shows that the baby is happy and healthy.
To ensure children never experience negative emotions like jealousy, shame and fear, because negative emotions impact development.
To ensure that parent-child and parent-parent relationships in the home are supportive and cooperative.
I don’t know
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Attachment is the emotional bond between the infant and caregivers, and is foundational to the rest of the child’s development. Psychoanalytic and learning theory associate attachment with the satisfaction of the infant’s primary drive of hunger. The cognitive developmental view proposes that attachment teaches infants that others continue to exist even when they cannot be seen. The ethological perspective describes that children and caregivers are biologically programmed to respond to each other and develop a mutual attachment.
Attachment processes continue into adolescence, and determine how adolescents gain independence, form relationships with others and perceive the world. Furthermore, these patterns are generally repeated with our own children when we become parents. This is referred to as intergenerational continuity.
Some people are resilient enough to overcome dysfunctional attachments, and develop secure, satisfying relationships with their spouses and children. These people are referred to as earned secure individuals (Paley, Cox, Burchinal, & Payne, 1999). Professional help can improve parent-child relationships.
Impact Of Attachment on Development
· ATTACHMENT AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
· SENSE OF SELF
How do you think neural plasticity and the quality of attachment relate?
Research shows that attachments to both mother and father are equally important (Parke & Buriel, 2006). Secure attachment, caregiver responsiveness and good parent-child relationships are related to more complex cognitive development and higher academic achievement and participation (Jacobsen & Hofmann 1997; Stams, Juffer, & van Ijzendoorn, 2002).
Please select the correct statement.
Children with insecure-disorganized attachment are probably angry with their caregiver’s inconsistent availability.
Caregivers who are unavailable, inconsistent, intrusive, or frightening tend to create attachment dysfunction in children.
Children who are sent to daycare are more prone to attachment disorders.
Children who have attachment disorders will probably never be able to form healthy relationships.
I don’t know
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Language and Communication
While humans are genetically predisposed to learning language, social support is crucial when children learn to speak and communicate. Language is a complex system of rules that allows us to send messages to one another through words, symbols and behaviors. We use it to relate, express ourselves, influence, inform others and achieve goals. Language is important to teach children how to regulate their emotions, control their actions and organize their thinking (Parke & Gauvain, 2009).
Communication competence allows children to express themselves in meaningful and culturally relevant ways. Communication is a two-way process, whereby productive language refers to the production of communication, while receptive language refers to understanding other’s communication.
Language Development Theories
We will explore each of these components in more detail, but first, we will discuss the theories of language development.
· LEARNING PERSPECTIVE
· NATIVIST PERSPECTIVE
· INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE
The learning perspective proposes that children learn language through caregivers who positively reinforce infant babbling that most sounds like speech, and because children learn through imitating and generalizing what they observe and hear from others.
Facilitating Language Development
· Language Acquisition Support System (LASS)
The language acquisition support system (LASS) is the environment provided by caregivers and other people like siblings, in which children learn language (Bruner, 1983). Nonverbal games such as peekaboo have predictable patterns which may lay the foundation for language and communication rules – for example, turn-taking. Parents and siblings usually talk to the child throughout these games, commenting on the child’s actions and what is occurring, and anticipating the child’s needs, thus laying the foundation for language.
Antecedents of Language
· PRELINGUISTIC COMMUNICATION
· RHYTHMIC ORGANIZATION
· CRYING, BABBLING, AND COOING
· CULTURAL CONSISTENCIES
Since communication is more than just verbal language, prelinguistic communication such as facial expressions, gestures and movement are important precursors (Adamson, 1995). From three months, infants begin to respond to caregivers with smiles, movements, sounds and gestures, from six months they begin to make pointing gestures at objects and from one year they can follow someone else’s pointing gesture (Fogel, 1993).
Children understand more than they are able to express. One-and-a-half-year olds typically understand between 50 to100 words and begin to say their first words. Two-year olds understand around 900 words, and six-year olds understand around 8000 words. This increase in vocabulary is referred to as the naming explosion (Bloom, Lifter & Broughton, 1985).
Children learn object words first, probably because it is easier to understand the relationship between the object, concept and word, than understanding actions and abstract concepts (Gentner, 1982). Action words are more easily learnt when it is an action the child can perform, such as running and jumping. Overextension of words occurs when one word is used for many objects. For instance, all animals may be referred to as cat. Underextension occurs when a word is used in a very limited way, for instance if the word cat is used to identify only black cats.
The child’s leap from using single words to full sentences is rapid. Children begin to communicate by using single words that seem to communicate full ideas – for example, if a child says ‘me’ the parent may realize the child is really saying ‘I want to do this myself’. This is referred to as a holophrase.
· TWO-YEAR OLDS
· THREE-YEAR OLDS
Two-year olds begin to use telegraphic speech or two-word sentences that contain only the words needed to convey the intended meaning – usually nouns, adjectives and verbs. For example, ‘me play’. This also occurs in two-year olds who use sign language. At this stage, children learn about the correct plural forms, and may overgeneralize rules they have learned. For instance, the plural form -s may be applied to all words: ‘mouses’ instead of ‘mice.’
Learning the Social Use of Language
Since language functions to help us express ourselves, and influence and relate to others, it is a social phenomenon. Pragmatics are thus crucial rules about what kind of communication is appropriate in specific situations.
Children generally begin to learn the first, second and third rules by around the age of two (Dunn, 1988; Wellman & Lempers, 1977). Miller and Sperry (1987) add that children need to learn how, where, when and to whom to express negative feelings such as anger and sadness. As with other social skills, children learn pragmatics from observation, listening, imitation and instruction.
According to Glucksberg, Kraus & Higgins (1975), children must learn the following pragmatics respectively:
· BILINGUAL HOMES
· NOT A DETRIMENT
· COMPETENCE IN BOTH
Many children grow up learning two languages. In some cases, children learn two languages simultaneously, where perhaps one parent speaks to the child in one language, while the other parent speaks to the child in another language. In other cases, languages may be learned sequentially, where the first language is learned at home and the second at school.
Which of the following utterances is most typical of a two-year old?
Mommy! Sweetie me.
Mommy doesn’t understand me.
I don’t know
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In this lesson, we covered the emotional development of children, attachment theory and the development of language and communication in children. We began the lesson by discussing the theoretical approaches to emotional development, and then moved on to exploring the development of emotional expression, where we discussed primary and secondary emotions, and emotional regulation. We then investigated how the caregiving style impacts the quality of attachment between children and caregivers, and the impact attachment has on child development. Thereafter, we looked at language and communication development. We briefly explored the main language development theories, and then looked at how language development can be facilitated. Lastly, we looked at the components of language and how they come together to be used socially.
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