Plenty of learning elements, such as intellectual, interpersonal, and literacy advancement, are aided by language development. This process begins with communicating by sounds and progresses to using words and sentences. Through researching children’s behaviors and teachers’ work at LBCC Learning Innovation Center, it was possible to grasp the most useful teaching techniques and the impact of the learning environment and class management in early language development.
The observed students were about four or five years old. By examining their behavior during classroom activities, it can be noted that children could not concentrate solely on one activity. Instead, children were playing and learning at the same time, which struck me the most about this age group. Additionally, some of the children were fidgeting, which is normal for this age, so it did not surprise me. As for the needs of children, it seems that they were being fully met, and no child was deprived of attention or treated unequally. I would like to teach these children since, later, during my research, I saw their motivation to interact with teachers and participate in learning activities.
The learning environment at this center is well-structured, and every detail and need of children is considered, which is why teachers and students are comfortable. For example, the area was equipped with boards, small tables fitting the children’s height, and, most popular among children, the area with toys and other items. Such details were used to facilitate the learning process and invite students to learn. In my opinion, the learning environment in this research resembles the environment in every facility of this kind, and I did not notice any difference from other classrooms. The main thing I liked during the research was the variety of toys and their proper use to expand vocabulary. However, if I were the teacher, I would use interactive boards.
During my research, I paid attention to two teachers whose organizational, personal, and instructional characteristics are similar. Since at this age, “the human brain is is highly sensitive to learning new vocabulary words,” teachers were very gentle and considerate (LBCC Learning Innovation Center, 2009, 0:37). For example, while reading the book “Building a house”, one of the teachers enunciates every syllable and makes pauses to ensure comprehension. Moreover, when another teacher asked children a question about why a carpenter uses a measuring tape and received multiple answers simultaneously, she politely asked them to answer one at a time. Therefore, both teachers strike a balance between content and students’ needs, using similar approaches as many teachers I have met.
In my opinion, teachers of adolescents need to possess similar characteristics to the observed teachers, such as tolerance and assistance. Additionally, similar to preschool teachers, teachers of adolescents also need special training. However, due to differences between children and adolescents and difficulties, special attention should be paid to character development in order to guide the latter and help them identify gaps rather than push them away.
A few teaching techniques were incorporated during several class sessions to develop various skills. For example, the first teaching technique prescribed to learn three to four new vocabulary words every day. As a result of these learning sessions, children are exposed to higher-level questioning (LBCC Learning Innovation Center, 2009). For example, in one situation, while learning new words, children were asked what an architect does, and during another session, they were asked how a measuring tape can be helpful.
Moreover, both teachers encouraged children to describe words in their terms. Early in the language development process, students find it difficult to define new words verbally. In that case, teachers are expected to show children what it looks like or ask them to physically demonstrate what they think the word means. In the example with a screwdriver, a child is asked what this particular item was and what the child thought it was supposed to do. After asking a child, the teacher explains in her terms what it was.
Therefore, both teachers relied on lower and higher-order questions, requiring simple recollection of learned material or demanding children to think beyond literal questions. As for the teacher’s wait time pattern, the average was four seconds, with the average for high-order questions being six seconds and for low-order questions – being three seconds. In this situation, children did not feel tension, the learning process was easy since children were working in small groups and could either interact directly or observe others. Since no technology was used during the class sessions, children played with toys while learning new words. I think this was quite disappointing since interaction with technology could yield better results.
While observing class sessions, no behavioral problems were noticed. Teachers guided children and let them know the appropriate ways to respond. As with the example with everybody answering the question simultaneously, one of the teachers set a boundary so that it could be clear that students could only answer one by one. As for the children, all of them tended to be engaged in the learning process or play around with other students when appropriate. The general classroom management was based on fun rather than boring activities, so students paid attention.
Hence, several points were discovered as a result of the conducted research. The children and teachers at the center found a comfortable way of communicating where the learning process involved fun activities and, as a result, there was no misbehaving. Teaching techniques involved drilling, questioning, and the use of creativity. The environment was also created to facilitate the learning process and make it exciting. With teachers’ patience, incorporation of high and low order questions, and appropriate wait time pattern, children could easily remember and retrieve the words.
LBCC Learning Innovation Center. (2009). Language Development [Video]. YouTube. Web.