Get Adobe Flash player
COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 22 u Chapter 2 Children learn language best in social settings, where they can inter- act with other children and adults to express ideas and understand others’ ideas (Dickinson and Tabors 2001). Without such interaction, children miss out on both language development and social develop- ment. And when English-language learners speak incorrectly, teachers should resist the urge to bridge communication gaps mentally (Hatch 1992). Even if adults can guess the meaning, they cannot ignore mis- takes. Dual-language learners need gentle, direct adult intervention so they can learn vocabulary and syntax and practice talking. Teachers must also show excitement about language. Children benefit most when their teachers are enthusiastic about language and integrate new words in all their instruction (Jameson 1998). The Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) assessment tool recom- mends that “teachers show their excitement for words through their playful interactions with children.” ELLCO also suggests that teachers “model challenging language and acknowledge children’s own experi- mentation” (Smith, Brady, and Anastasopoulos 2008). Ms. Tammi, for example, has come up with a clever solution to her school’s requirement for silence in the hallways. Teachers are supposed to ask the children to “blow a bubble in the mouth” (close their mouths and puff up their cheeks) while they walk through the halls. Ms. Tammi wants her students to use their minds during this time. So she says, “Girls and boys, as we walk to the cafeteria, I want you to think that the bubble is a silent growl, just like the growl of the bear in our story. We won’t hear it while we’re walking. But when we get to the cafeteria, we can all growl together, okay? Let’s go!” The children set out, eyes twin- kling in anticipation of the growling. They recall part of the book they just read at circle time. A few let out some muffled growls and giggles. Upon arrival in the cafeteria, they all growl together, experiencing the new word. At the end of lunch, the children ask if they can do the same exercise on their walk back to class. It is clear the teacher helped them get excited about learning language. Do Children Need to Give Up Their Home Language in Order to Learn English? In the past, people assumed that in order to develop fully, a second language must replace the first language. This idea is called subtractive COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL