Comparing Theories of Language Acquisition and Language Development

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The aim of this essay is to explore language acquisition and compare and contrast different theories of language acquisition and language development. Language in its most basic form is used to communicate our needs and wants. It encompasses a range of modes of delivery including signing, spoken and written words, posture, eye contact, facial expressions and gestures. So how do we learn ‘language’? Are we born with the skills for communication, or is it something that we have to learn or have taught to us? Four theories are looked at in this essay to determine how children acquire and then develop language. These theories include behaviourist, nativist, cognitivist and sociocultural. This essay will highlight some similarities and differences in each theory and what impact these have on a child’s acquisition and development of language. Lastly we will look at the implications of these theories when working with children. Can a classroom teacher deliver a quality literacy program based on just one of these theories or does it need to incorporate components of all four? Sims, (2012) pp. 21 states ‘’High-quality learning experiences in the early years of life enhance children’s cognitive and language skills’’. This places a great responsibility on educators and teachers alike to provide an environment which is rich in learning opportunities that will encourage both the acquisition and development of language. Language acquisition is perhaps one of the most debated issues of human development. Various theories and approaches have emerged over the years to study and analyse this developmental process. One factor contributing to the differing theories is the debate between nature v’s nurture. A question commonly asked is: Do humans a... ... middle of paper ... ...conditioning.html Sims, M. & Hutchins, T. (2011). Program planning for infants and toddlers: In search of relationships. Sydney: Pademelon Press. Slavin, L. (2010). Theory on Cooperative Learning. Retrieved from Stocia, D. (2008). Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development [Online presentation]. Retrieved from Vukelich, C, Christie, J & Enz, B 2002, Helping Young Children Learn Language and Literacy, Allyn & Bacon, Bosten MA. Wadsworth, B. (1978). J. Piaget for the Classroom Teacher. NY, Longman Wilhelm, J., Baker, T., & Dube, J. (2001). Strategic Reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
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