Perhaps the best kind of teacher talk might be less teacher talk! All through college and professional development experiences, teachers learn what to say to children. But, one of the greatest gifts you can give to young learners, especially DLLs, is to step back and let the children do the talking. Research continues to show the value of engaging young children in two-way conversations even before they can really talk. This means that adults have to develop the confidence to pause and let children take the lead in interactions. And if this is important yet challenging for children that speak your language, it must require even more effort when working with children who speak other languages. What happens when young DLLs have more opportunities to talk, converse, and lead discussions?
These benefits can be particularly compelling for young children who are DLLs. That’s why it is worth some extra effort and support for teachers to make this happen. Here are some easy strategies:
And, if you want to learn more about research and practice on this topic, here are a few of the best resources to get you started!
**Atlanta Speech School, (2017) The Promise to Georgia’s Children – Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, Youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqljnK4HVaw
Teaching at the Beginning, A Felt Board Story: First & Second Language video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT9daxBNDrA&t=70s
Jacoby, J.W. & Lesaux, N.K. (2014) Support for Extended Discourse in Teacher Talk with Linguistically Diverse Preschoolers, Journal of Early Education and Development, Issue 8, pp 1162-1179 https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2014.907695
LENA, (2018) New Research Says How Much You Talk with Babies is Linked to their IQ in Adolescence https://www.lena.org/longitudinal-study/
ABCNews (2018) Young Children Talking Back and Forth with Adults Strengthens Brain Language Region (video) https://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/talking-young-kids-strengthens-language-regions-brain-57154992
Koohi, A.L., (2018) The Power of Turn-Taking: How Back-and-Forth Interactions Help Children Learn Language, The Hanen Centre
Shanahan, T. & Lonigan, C. (2008) The Role of Early Oral Language in Literacy Development, Language Magazine https://www.languagemagazine.com/5100-2/
Haruka Konishi, H., Kanero, J. , Freeman, M.R., Michnick Golinkoff , R.& Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2014) Six Principles of Language Development: Implications for Second Language Learners, Developmental Neuropsychology, 39:5, 404-420, DOI: 10.1080/87565641.2014.931961