Theoretical Perspectives

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Theoretical Perspectives by Mind Map: Theoretical Perspectives

1. Cognitive Developmentalist

1.1. Cognitive

1.2. Cognitive Developmentalist is another perspective in theoretical perspectives. Cognitive Developmentalist focuses on thought that acquiring language development occurs in maturation and cognitive competencies are developed (Otto, 2010 2, 30). Piaget is one of the theorists who studied the works of cognitive development. In this perspective, cognitive development is a precondition and a foundation for language. The textbook elaborates with the statement that a close relation between cognitive development and language is based on the belief that in order for language to develop, specific cognitive growth must first occur (Otto, 2010 2, 30). It implies that some type of growth in the cognitive area must occur first prior to the development of language knowledge with emphasizes on nature. In the aspects of language knowledge, the terms semantic and morphemic are areas of focus that pertain to cognitive developmentalist perspective. In understanding of the terms, semantic knowledge refers to the meaning of words and vocabulary while morphemic knowledge is the structure of words or how words are composed in one or more meaningful linguistic units (Otto, 2010 407). There are two stages that Piaget embedded into cognitive development, the sensorimotor stage and preoperational stage. According to Piaget as stated in the textbook, in the sensorimotor stage children are prelinguistic and children’s understanding of the environment comes only through their immediate direct sensory experiences and their motor movement activities (Otto 2010, 2 30). A term used a lot in his explanation in the cognitive developmental perspective is object permanence in which an object exists even if it is out of sight. In this instance the child develops the awareness of objects exist even if they not visible in sight. Infants from couple months after birth all the way to just before they hit the toddler years, experience the development of cognitive ability to understand the concept of object permanence. As children are older, they are able to put symbols to relate words in reference to objects and actions. Thus, Piaget referenced this to his idea that as a child opens a new box, instead of using trial and error the child will now use their prior experiences to open the new box. The new box symbolizes the idea that the child was able to open a box with previous experience through trial and error. That box the child used helps the child to gain experience in opening anew box. The second idea that Piaget discusses is preoperational stage that is considered according to him as the second stage in cognitive development. Around the age of 2 years old to 7 years of age, children begin to express through words, images and drawings of the world they are in. He explains that children look at the world from their own experiences known as egocentric. As a teacher teaching in a classroom, the curriculum consists of a focus on the child’s stage of cognitive development to appropriately plan learning activities. For instance, a curriculum can consist in recognizing the importance of the development of specific cognitive mechanisms as precursors to the onset of language, such as object permanence and symbolic presentation (Otto, 2010 2, 31). This type of curriculum is great for the infancy stage in which opportunities can occur for infants to engage in symbol making and symbol manipulation.

2. Behaviorist Perspective

2.1. Behaviorist

2.1.1. Another perspective in the theoretical perspective is behaviorist perspective that consists of theorist Skinner, the focus on nurture rather then nature and aspects of language knowledge. The aspects of language knowledge include semantic, syntactic and morphemic. In this type of perspective the idea of learning will occur not as an inherited or inborn but rather through stimulation, responses, and reinforcements in the environment. The key relations in this stated idea is the stimulus and environment. The textbook states, a child is considered to be a blank slate and learning occurs due to associations established between stimuli, responses and events that occur after the response behavior (Otto, 2010 2, 31). Through navigating and learning language, the reinforcement of verbal and nonverbal language to the child stimulates the child’s learning of language. Skinner presented the concept of operant conditioning in which the reinforcement in language takes in the form of attention, repletion, and approval (Otto, 2010 2, 31-32). For instance the call of ma-ma or da-da by the infant, calls for the attention of mother and the response of the mother or father coming and saying oh you said ma-ma or da-da. This response increases the chances of the infant to repeat the words ma-ma or da-da repetitively. Another term within this perspective is imitative speech in which involves for repeating the speech that was reinforced in the learning knowledge of language in the environment. The adult or parent teaching say an infant how to speak will ask the infant to say certain words with hand motion of bye-bye, and the infant may respond back with repeatedly saying bye-bye. As a teacher teaching in the classroom, the curriculum for this perspective consists of focusing on stimuli and reinforcements in children experiencing the use of language. Activities include such as children having the prospect of communicating verbally through imitation and repetition. One noted caution is that the teacher should use positive reinforcement in order to stimulate the child’s response of repeating what he or she learns in use of verbal language. The text in our textbook suggests teachers using the method of teaching finger plays and action songs to focus on repetition, imitation, and positive reinforcement.

3. Interactionist Perspective

3.1. Interactionist

3.1.1. The last perspective in the theoretical perspective is Interactionist perspective. Interactionist also focuses on the concept of nurture and its aspect of language knowledge consists of pragmatic. Vygotsky, Bruner, and Halliday are three theorists that are associated with Interactionist perspective. The textbook says that Interactionist focus on the primary role of sociocultural interaction in children’s development of language knowledge (Otto, 2010 2, 33). The implementation of this perspective provides the understanding of children acquiring language knowledge and language development by the attempts of communication within the world around them. One important statement in the textbook is that language is acquired by individuals out of a need to function in society and an accompanying need for knowledge of how language functions in that society (Otto, 2010 2, 33). Vygotsky placed an important role of social interaction in the language development in terms of the influences by the society in which one lives. One of the ways in which environment is supported in children’s language is through the usage of its term language acquisition support system. Within this term, environment supports for language development and interaction patterns can be found in conversations with the child listening, responding and asking questions. In this perspective, the role of the adult and teacher is crucial to the development in the child’s language. Vygotsky proposed another term called zone of proximal development in which an adult or teacher aids the child in the process of language acquisition. He says that children learn best when an experienced adult or teacher or caregiver aids them. The aid and or support steadily decline as the child becomes more capable of performing the skill learned in language acquisition. Lastly one of the biggest aspects to this perspective is also to facilitate oral language development. Cambourne, another person presented in our textbook elaborates on this idea and presents different context within language development that facilitates oral language development (Otto, 2010 2, 38). Contexts include, immersion, demonstration, engagement, expectations, responsibility, approximations, employment and response. Teachers in this perspective create and use a curriculum that emphasizes on providing children the chance to participate in social interactions. Teachers need to make sure the students have many talking opportunities in using oral language and starting as young as infancy for the interactions to take place.

4. Nativist Perspective

4.1. Nativist

4.1.1. In the theoretical perspective, nativist is one of the discussed perspectives in relations to language development. A nativist highlights the inherence of human capabilities that is responsible in the acquiring of language development. Noam Chomsky, an associated theorist in native perspective, contributed his significance in understanding of the language acquisition and structure in language. The textbook mentions that Chomsky contends that all people inherently have the capacity to acquire language due to cognitive structures that process language differently from other stimuli (Otto, 2010 2, 28). The term inborn and innate are almost the same in relations to its meaning, referring to the concept existing at the time of birth. While, innate is used in abstract or philosophical context, inborn is used to represent in the translation of characteristics in humans that are created and existing just before birth. Another major focus within the nativist perspective is the process of syntactic knowledge. Syntactic knowledge is how words can be put together to form meaningful sentences, phrases, or utterances. In referencing to the ideas presented by Chomsky, he proposed the term universal grammar as the system of principles, conditions, and rules that are elements or properties of all human languages (Otto, 2010 2, 28). He’s work involved studying the grammatical aspects of language and describing rules in the systems of using language. Steve Pinker, another theorist states that language is an instinct rather then a cultural invention. It states in the textbook, “language is a biological adaptation to communicate information…language is the product of a well-engineered biological instinct” (Otto, 2010 2, 28). His ideas pertained to the idea that acquiring language development came from human biological instinct instead of from the existence in a culture. Example of the sentence the car is going fast in using different languages to express the same word. English language uses this line as saying the car is going fast. In Spanish one would say el carro va rapido to imply el carro for the wrds the car and then va represents is going and rapido stands for fast. In the Russian language, you would say автомобиль будет быстрым for the sentence the car is going fast. But because we do not use the words the or is in Russian language, so the literal translation of this sentence is car going fast. Concluding, in this perspective children learn to acquire language development through discovering the structure of language in their home or culture. Implying that some children learn the structure of English at home as it is the language being taught or they are apart of a culture that speaks Spanish. As a teacher teaching in the classroom, the curriculum used to present materials are in relations to the nativist perspective. The curriculum consists of allowing children to have opportunities in exploring language along with engaging in the hypothesis testing in their development of language knowledge. The textbook provides an example of how a teacher can use a wide variety of books to read aloud to the children and then use hypothesis testing to determine how language is used to communicate (Otto, 2010 2, 28-29). Following the story children can draw and write to communicate as well as creating a meaning in terms of their ideas on how language works.