In the contemporary world, the most important base of all human education is at the initial level of kindergarten. The learning process usually begins at this stage and the child is subdued to new techniques and challenges available in the education sector. Teachers are given the task of providing knowledge and skills relevant to their studies. In the earlier years, kindergarten level of education was perceived to be the most important base for an individual to advance in his/her education in the later years. Age was a predominant factor in order to join the education system. Currently, age is not a factor but the Childs’ brain capacity and the sharpness one possesses towards the education system is of core importance. For instance, nowadays a child can attend schooling as young as at the age of 3years and this has been the trend over the past decades. However, educators should use appropriate methods and strategies to meet needs and wants of children. In this regard, teachers should use the play as the key tool to maximize the effectiveness of learning.
Various theories have been put forward by different scholars to illustrate the learning nature of children in kindergarten, pre-school and even the early primary level of education. These theories have been stressed by the panel of kindergarten teachers and also the various scholars in order to imbibe knowledge to the young scholars. Theories focused on internal construction place emphasis on internal abilities and gifts of students, whereas social construction theories focus on the impact of social environment of children’s environment. Furthermore, different learning methods have been used to enable the children to understand the concept of language with ease. In most instances, the kindergarten teacher subdues children to baseline assessment, development reading assessment, and also the question-answer technique. This will enable the child to develop broadly in terms of language mastering and its application.
Assessment tools used by kindergarten teachers According to the panel of the kindergarten teachers, the teacher can use various tools in analyzing the capability of the students understanding. For instance, use of printing of specific concepts in order to curtail the Childs’ understanding and memorizing of a concept. The teacher prints the information needed in a paper where he displays to the students in order to gauge their understanding of the language. In most cases, the teacher can use some specific sounds and symbols in view of passing information to the children. This initiative is more enjoyable and can be highly appreciated by the various students. Where the child is involved in a physical activity or singing, for example yopp singing, the teacher can use recording of all the activities in the progress in order to provide him/her with ample time when assessing and making decisions on the child’s progress.
Under such assessment, the child’s language practicability is highly assessed. The child’s language use can be determined in the ‘out-of-class’ assessment and this can enable the teacher to focus on the weakness and strengths of the child in terms of diction, grammar and anecdotal usage of phrases. The teacher can observe the child critically and analyze how he/she relates with other fellow children. In most instances, the observations and interaction in out-of-class assessment takes approximately 65% of the child’s language ‘testing’
Kindergarten teachers’ strategies for assessment
Development reading assessment should be employed in order to determine the child’s capability in the related field (Curtis, A., & Howarth , L., 27/01/11). The children are asked to read out loudly the words that are sealed in an envelope. The teacher guides the children on how to read the various words with eases and this is done by pulling the word slowly from an envelope in order to reveal each letter at a time. This broadens the child’s mind and also makes him/her have fun at the same time.
According to the panel the initial assessment stage is analyzing the child’s profile and also the parent’s profile (McNeill, A., 27/01/11). The teacher’s responsibility will be the scrutiny of child’s life background in order to ascertain the way of handling his/her studies. The parent’s way of living should also be put into consideration. This will enable the teacher to understand whether the child is given coaching after school or not. Where the child is provided with relevant materials and a good reading environment, he/she can easily grasp the various language concepts as the guidance will be on the parent’s sides. On the other hand, children will experience hard time as they will not be able to have access to the required materials and instruments of learning and in the long run fail to understand the main intent of education.
Contrary to this, baseline assessment should also be strategized (McNeill, A., 27/01/11). This involves withdrawal of the child from the normal and monotonous classroom activities in a form of ‘field work’. The main intent of such assessment is to equip the child with the basic skills he/she needs in life. The teacher indulges the student in various assessments including the alpha kids, yopp singer and gentry monster. In the case of yopp singing, children are made to sing a given song which entails what they have done in the classroom, for instance, melodious singing of the alphabetical letters in order to coerce their understanding. The other methods of assessment imposed includes focusing on the oral language where the kids are asked to pronounce some cited words with precision and loudly. This enhances their diction and grammar to be sharpened. The use of anecdotal in the statements provided by the teacher is also another way of assessing the child’s ability, work samples like drawings and arranging of materials to form words on the ground, check listing and also the writing of exemplars.
The final method, according to the kindergarten teacher, is the use of Teaching-Learning Critical Pathway. In this case, the teacher provides the child with self portrait box whereby the child draws the entire self portrait ion a month and he/she is also given folder with pictures to use in the portrait (Howarth , L., 27/01/11 ).
Under such criteria the focus is entirely on assessment FOR language learning and the child is taught the language before being assessed in order to determine the inherent language grasp for the child. The child’s assessment OF the learning techniques is embodied in order to determine the ability to grasp the foreign language with ease. In the context of the kindergartens’’ teacher perspective, the assessment FOR technique outweighs the other forms.
Theories on language learning by Scholars
The most efficient way to teach language to children is teaching through play. The play is a natural activity for children. The high effectiveness of play results from the profound interest of children to play. In fact, it is through play children learn language as well as the surrounding world. It is through play children acquire knowledge and experience of the surrounding world. Therefore, the use of play in the learning process is particularly effective (McNeill 2011). However, educators should be able to adapt the learning material to children’s level of cognitive development (Curtis, 2011). The play should meet interests of children and their level of cognitive development. For instance, plays that work well in regard to kindergarten children will not work equally effectively in the elementary school. Plays stimulate the faster development of children and facilitate the perception of the learning material (Curtis, 2011). Therefore, their use in teaching language is particularly effective.
The language learning has been initiated by various theories proposed by various scholars. According to Lantolf (2000), the language learning can be through operant conditioning where individual’s main focus is on the behavior of the surrounding environment. Where certain new ways of language perception are felt in the society individuals tend to attach themselves more to such changes in order to ‘fit’ into the society. However imperialists’ provides that language learning is acquired through the statistical learning theories including among others; functionalists’ linguistics, Relational frame theory, emergentism theory and social interactionism theory.
Social interactionism theory provides that language learning can be articulated to various hypotheses of language acquisition. The hypotheses analyze both the written, visual and spoken form of language development in the child’s life. The interactionists approach compromises between “nurture” and “nature” in highlighting its argumentation. The theory stipulates that the language learning is well vested by the nature or the environmental circumstance of the learner and how he/she is ready to nurture the language acquired.
Relational frame theory provides a more impactful learning account on the language development in terms of its complexity and competence involved. The theory is based on Skinnerian behaviorism where the children can acquire and learn the language through intense interaction with the environment. The theory also recognizes the functional contextualize when child is learning the language. As such, the prediction and influence of the psychological events plays an important role in the curdling the child to learn a language. For instance, such events may include feelings, thoughts, and behavior which can be manipulated. This theory has been proofed by empirical studies to be more efficient in that children way of learning is usually fostered by coercing them or using inherent reinforcements, and therefore nullifying the argument that language learning is based on innate and specific language cognitive capacities.
Emergentist theory poses its argument on a cognitive way of language acquisition. It provides that language acquisition emerge from interaction between the environment and biological pressures. Here, neither nurture nor nature alone can be sufficient enough for one to acquire language skills. Thus both of them must work cohesively in order to culminate positive results. In the sense, therefore, the processes will subserve language learning and thus the children will acquire language-specific phenomenon including grammar acquisition and word learning.
Generativist theory aims to provide the base for the approach in which the child can easily acquire syntax when learning the language. The human biology compels constraints to the child’s “hypothesis space” when learning the language. The child, therefore, can select correct option using the available parent’s speech and the contextual framework. The input made by the child in sentence construction and in combination with the contextual information uttered provides a compatible and conceivable grammar understanding by the child. This is not the case as few children can accept corrections from intellectuals and the adults upon making a grammatical error.
Empiricists have argued on the various weaknesses of the theorists put forward by the scholars since most of them are not supported y the evolutionary anthropology. This is deemed to have been in the score over the current years as they have proved that the learning of an individual child involves different processes and stages despite the analysts providing single ways. Nowadays, the theory tries to portray that the language-specific for the inborn are centered in the general parental domain. For instance, the language of the inborn enables him/her to visualize the world in actions and objects perspective.
Comparison with the kindergarten teacher’s theory of language learning
Under the theories put forward by the kindergarten teachers on the effectiveness of the language learning process the children should put in place, there are contrasting issues as compared to the ones provided by the scholars. The ideology in the internally constructed approach poses that children acquire the language skills through the influence of their teachers only and as such no other external partner is involved in providing the child with any information he/she may require. Despite being argued that such theory provides the child with accurate information and learning relevant information, it is a calamity to the student (child) as the teachers may have limited knowledge and thus child’s knowledge will be based on the teachers’ knowhow. In the case of scholarly theory of social interactionism, the language learning is based on the nature and nurture and therefore stipulates on interaction with the environment. This is more relevant, as interaction does not only involve teacher-child interaction but also the entire society.
Standardized model theory stipulates that the language learning should only be based on a certain direction and the child should be directed by qualified personnel on the way forward in learning the language. In the case where the child uses proverbial clauses when still in the learning process he/she should consult the teacher. This is in contrast to the diverse knowledge acquisition where the child can acquire knowledge from anywhere provided that it does not harm his/her language learning ability. In most instances, the diverse learning technique provides a more inherent way where the child can learn a language in a shortest time period unlike the other technique. The advantage of standardized knowledge is that the child will learn perfect language and the child’s diction and grammar will be highly nourished and therefore making the child’s future bright and promising.
Reading readiness model provides that the child should be ready to read in order to make him learn the language. Various ways can be imposed in order to make the child have the inner sense of the need to read. In this case, where the child provides a positive show on the readiness to read then the teacher will have an easy task of passing the new information to the new child. As the child’s age does not provide for any decision making from his/her side, therefore, reading readiness strategy becomes a blow. In contrast, emergent literacy involves children becoming knowledgeable on the language before undertaking any major training from the teachers. In such case, the child has a base in the language he/she is about to learn and therefore giving the child an easy time in comprehending the language. In the contemporary world, this has been the issue as most families ensure that their children are well versed with the language in use in the geographical region.
Consequently NCLB panoptical time frame provides a stipulated time frame for the child’s learning behavior and in most cases it’s deemed as ‘no child left behind’ rule. The teacher is expected to ensure that each child gets the concept perfectly and no one is left behind despite the fact that there is possibility of slow and fast learners in the class. In the case of unhurried time model, the teacher provides the child with the skills over untimely period of time. This kind of strategy is not efficient as the language learning process is usually stepwise. In such a case, the learning process will not be implemented as the time frame and schedule of language learning is not put in place.
According to various scholars and the linguistic experts, the language learning process embeds in the various proven standards including the fact that learning process involves the entire individual, that is; affective, psychomotor dominas and the cognitive traits. The individuals brain seeks a define pattern in the search for a meaning, emotions have an effect on all the aspects of learning, preservation and the recalling. In the case of past experience by an individual, the new learning technique is highly influenced by the immense effect of the past experience. In addition, an individual brain has limited capacity, lectures provide a very low degree of knowledge retention and that individual’s brain is usually unique.
Furthermore, language learning theories often focus on the internal construction of knowledge and experience of children. Theories stressing the importance of the internal construction place emphasis on the fact that the heritage and internal inclinations of children are crucial for their success. In such a situation, the primary task of educators is to help children to uncover their internal potential and help them to develop their innate talents and capabilities (Meier, 2004). The development of internal capabilities and talents of children needs the study of their inclinations, their experience and potential. In such a way, they will be able to develop their talents and to maximize their effectiveness of learning. In contrast to internal construction, some theories stress the importance of social construction. In terms of such theories, children’s skills and abilities are influenced to a significant extent by their social environment. These theories admit that children are conditioned by their environment (Meier, 2004). In contrast to the internal construction, the external construction stresses the priority of the social environment and its impact on children’s education (Genishi & Dyson, 2009). As a result, educators should choose different approaches and strategies to the learning process. In such a way, they can develop the curriculum to meet the essence of the strategies they use to make the learning process systematic and accurate.
In addition, it is possible to distinguish standardized and diverse theories are also quite different and develop diverse views on the learning process. Standardized theories stress the importance of the elaboration of standards of assessment of children’s performance. In such a way, standardized theories provide teachers with clear standards of the assessment of children’s performance on the ground of which they can develop the learning process (Meier, 2004). In contrast, diverse theories stand on the ground that children have different skills and abilities (Linden, 2008). Hence, educators should find the individual approach to teaching children and their assessment.
Current issues in language learning
In the contemporary world, culture predominate all the aspects of the children’s language learning. The child’s initial language is usually based on the parents’ language of expertise and in most cases it involves the two parents’ language. As the current world has majorly been digitalized individuals tend to learn more than one language. Scholars stress that language learners should not be anxious and also must be highly motivated in order to realize their objectives of language acquisition. Where an individual is anxious he can not only concentrate o the subject matter in hand but also not able to learn new ideas with ease. Regardless of how old the learner is, the decisive issue is the time taken to accomplish the task. Many foreign language analysts have found out that for a language learner to acquire proficiency in foreign languages such as Spanish and French, it only needs him/her hours of the contact time. This is unlike other languages like Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and Korean where it can take three to four times longer to attain proficiency level.
Currently, the education system has been faced with various challenges which have impeded the smooth language learning process. For instance, the issue of class size has influenced the child’s performance and his/her behavior. The class size affects teaching practices, grouping practices, the child’s school adjustment, his/her engagement and attention and the teachers’ perception, stress and attitude. All this factors has made teachers to focus on the child’s scores rather than the ultimate learning process the child undergoes. The ratio between the class size and the number of teachers in the current education system is quite demeaning and therefore not able to supervise each student’s progress diligently.
In the current system, the child’s education is ruined by the massive boredom and the ever involvement in class activities which is based on passing the examinations. This has ruined the critical intent of language learning and as such many children are not able to learn the language perfectly. The co-curriculum activities and the field work is not put into consideration and this has led to non-practicum way of approaching the education in the current world.
Consequently, the parents and / or family lifestyle can encourage or discourage the language learning of the child. In this current system, the lifestyle of the parents favors the language learning for the student. Most parents have initiated the concept of teaching their children the new language before they embark to the real learning. This has been facilitated by the intermarriage between the various citizens and hence no common local language in use. This has led to the child practicing the language with more ease and upon subjection to grammatical scrutiny the child can easily configure out and perfect his/her language. According to Linden (2008), practice on a subject does not only make perfect but also instills permanency in an individual or child’s well-being. It also allows the language learner to acquire new skills and use them in a very new and different situation. It therefore implies that practicing the language will not automatically result to its perfection unless where the learner has an understanding that what needs to be articulated to is the improvement and the need for motivation.
In conclusion, the child’s language learning should be instigated and ensured that the child does not come into contact with the adverse language that may be in use in the society. This will ensure that the child’s learning process grows positively and fast. In most instances, the kindergarten teacher should provide the child with relevant materials and information which will be of beneficial to the learner over the current period he or she is learning. For instance, the use of yopp singing by the child enables the memory to grasp the idea more fervently and with ease. Moreover, gestures and games should lessen the child’s mind in that he/she can find the process to be more enjoyable. As the current world is becoming more sophisticated, the child’s grasping of the language concept is encouraged by the good parent-teacher relations and therefore imbibing knowledge form the scholars to the child student. Different theories provide teachers with ample choices to focus on either internal construction or social construction, on standardized or diverse approaches to children and their assessment. However, whatever the theory educators choose they should use the most efficient methods of teaching, for instance, play as a natural activity for educators.
Baker, A., panelist in EML 307 Language and Communication, 27/01/11
Curtis, A., panelist in EML 307 Language and Communication, 27/01/11
Genishi, C. & Dyson, A.H. (2009). Children Language and Literacy: Diverse Learners in Diverse Times. New York: Teachers College Press.
Howarth, L., panelist in EML 307 Language and Communication, 27/01/11
Linden L. (2008). The Basic Theories of Language Acquisition. New York: GRIN Verlag.
Lantolf P. (2000). Sociocultural theory and second language learning. New York: Oxford University Press.
McNeill, A., panelist in EML 307 Language and Communication, 27/01/11
Meier, D.R (2004). The Young Child’s Memory for Words. New York: Teachers College Press.