81Assignment – Module 3 Week 5 essayLanguage and Literacy Journey
Date Language and Literacy Journey
Section 1-Introduction: Tyler in Context
Home and Family Life
My child in context is an 8-year old boy named Tyler Brown. Tyler is white and his family is middle class in terms of socio-economic background. He has 2 brothers and a sister and between the two brothers, one of them is an adopted child of African American descent. Tyler’s adopted brother speaks English fluently as it is his first language. The child is the second-born in the family; with the firstborn being a boy aged 10 called Carl. Tyler’s adopted brother is called Jayson and he is 7 years of age while his only sister is named Tracy and she is aged four years. Tyler lives in a household that owns three pets- two dogs and a cat; however, the child does not have a personal pet. The child lives with both his mother and father and his siblings.
In this case, it is the mother who is closest to him although both she and the father provide primary care. The mother is a stay-at-home, while the father works as an internal auditor for a leading firm in the area. Despite a strenuous schedule, Tyler’s father strives to spend as much time as possible and be part of the care and upbringing of his children. Tyler had a healthy prenatal experience, with the mother learning about the pregnancy in the early stages allowing her to offer the embryo efficient care. Tyler’s family is an athletic one and it enjoys swimming sessions together and participating in family marathons. During the summer holiday, Tyler’s family enjoys going for vacations in different spots around the world.
Community and Culture
Tyler lives with his family in Fayette, Mississippi and they own the house they live in. English is the only language spoken in Tyler’s household and it is also the language that people who interact most frequently with him speak in. Since English is their native, Tyler’s family has not had to think about learning to speak English. However, the family has recently started to appreciate the benefits of learning a second language. Indeed, the knowledge of a second language has been shown to improve memories, concentration, problem-solving skills, listening skills, multi-tasking skills, and listening skills among children. Djumabaeva and Kengboyeva (2021) indicate that besides increasing their creativity levels, bilingualism allows children to have more connections in the world through communication with a wider range of people. Children who learn other languages besides their native languages can go on to become polyglots because their abilities to learn new languages have been tapped and enhanced.
Tyler’s parents have also been motivated to consider having their children learn a second language because of the presence of families and individuals of color in the neighborhood and in the father’s workplace who speak English as their second or third language. According to Tyler’s father, the people of color in his office who are not native English speakers have enrolled their kids in classes to learn the English language. Tyler’s father discovered that although it is given for these individual children to learn English, the children benefit by knowing more than one language. Tyler and his siblings are privileged to speak English as their first language; however, this sense of privilege has caused them to overlook the need for knowing more than one language.
With this recent insight, Tyler’s parents intend to enroll Tyler and his siblings in related classes as soon as possible. Tyler has shown interest in learning French and his sister holds a similar interest in terms of the second language. On the other hand, Jayson is interested in learning German while Carl is interested in learning Spanish. Since Tyler is aged 8, the parents do not want to waste any time in terms of enrolling him in a French class. Furthermore, the parents are concerned about their elder son’s ability to learn a second language since he is past the recommended age for learning a second language. Tyler’s parents are aware that second languages are best learned as early as possible as children. According to Hartshorne, Tenenbaum and Pinker (2018), there is a ‘Critical Age Period’ for learning languages and this not only applies to native languages but also the native language. In this case, the critical age period ranges from birth to the age of seven.
This age allows for high-level learning of the second language and the learners may attain ‘native-like fluency in the languages they are learning. Hartshorne, Tenenbaum and Pinker (2018) state that the critical age period is a time when the children are developing and will most likely be successful in language learning. On the other hand, the chance of attaining perfect bilingualism is thwarted when a child starts learning a second language after the age of 10 (Hartshorne, Tenenbaum and Pinker, 2018). Research indicates that by the age of ten, close to half synaptic connections have died off in the average child. If the ten-year mark for learning a second language has been missed by a child’s parents/guardians, the parents/guardians should ensure that they have the child enrolled in a language class by the age of twelve.
At this age, the window for language learning is coming to an end. However, even if a child has not been enrolled in a language class by this age, the parents should still enroll the child in such a class because better late than never. The child will manage to learn a second or third language though not as efficiently as he would have had he been enrolled in a language class at an earlier age (Hartshorne, Tenenbaum and Pinker, 2018). It will be possible for Tyler and his siblings to learn any language they desire as their second language because the schools they attend offer classes for a variety of languages including French, German, and Spanish.
Furthermore, the neighborhood in which they reside has a considerable number of non-white families whose first language is any other than English. The interactions of Tyler and his siblings with children from these families will allow them to practice and learn their intended second languages better. In case Tyler is unable to learn a new language in school or the facilities around the community, he can take online lessons for the same. Tyler’s home is connected to fast and efficient Wi-Fi and the online platforms for learning new languages as are efficient as the physical ones. The trips that Tyler’s family make around the world during the summer holidays expose him to many different languages and serves to increase his curiosity and desire to learn other languages. References
Djumabaeva, J. S., & Kengboyeva, M. Y. (2021). Bilingualism and its importance in human life. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(1), 53-63.
Hartshorne, J. K., Tenenbaum, J. B., & Pinker, S. (2018). A critical period for second language acquisition: Evidence from 2/3 million English speakers. Cognition, 177, 263-277. Section 2-Prenatal and Infancy
As indicated earlier, Tyler had a positive prenatal experience. With his mother having already had one child, she was soon aware of her pregnancy and it only took a pregnancy test to confirm her suspicions. Learning about the pregnancy early allowed Tyler’s mother to make the necessary changes to her life now that she was expecting. One of the changes that the mother made was to give up her wine-drinking habits and replace them with drinking water more constantly. Another change made by the mother because of Tyler’s pregnancy was to avoid hot tubs and saunas however much she wanted to spend time in the relaxing. In place of the hot tubs and saunas, she learned and undertook other relaxation techniques.
Although the mother had picked up work as a physical therapist’s assistant, she took time off to reduce personal stress and have time to ensure the healthy growth and birth of her child. Since the family is athletic and the members generally fit, the mother did not have to make much change in terms of exercising. All she did was revisit her exercise schedule to tone it down so that it was not strenuous for her during her pregnancy. The new exercise schedule was mainly made up of swimming sessions. Tyler’s mother was aware of the benefits of swimming during pregnancy, which includes; counteracting back strain that increases because of the expanding belly and keeping one’s weight within a healthy range. The mother also had consideration for her new nutritional needs now that she was expecting by ensuring that all these needs were met.
The fact that the mother had already been pregnant before did not stop her from seeking to increase her knowledge about child development. She and the father took time to read books about the topic and research on the internet for additional information. By the end of the second trimester, the parents had already started talking to the baby in the womb, even going as far as reading him stories and singing him songs. This action by the parents was not out of place because, by this time in the pregnancy, the unborn baby hears voices and can even recognize the mother’s voice. At the time close to the mother’s due date, Tyler’s father took time off work and stayed off for three more months after the child’s birth.
The parent’s offered Tyler the basic infant care efficiently and some of the roles they carried out involved bathing and dressing the baby, feeding and burping the baby, cleaning the umbilical cord, and ensuring the baby’s handling was right including supporting his neck. The baby shared the bed with the parents for a fortnight only before he began sleeping in a cot; however, he stayed in the same room with his parents until he was over a year old. The mother did not start weaning the child until he was at least six months of age. All that time, she ensured that her nutrition for fit for her and her baby and that it was for the benefit of their health of them both. All through Tyler’s infancy, the parents spoke to him and used repetition when addressing him.
Furthermore, the parents took part in fun activities with the baby. By the time Tyler was four months old, he could recognize his mother’s voice and by the time he was six months old, he could recognize his father’s voice. At six months old, Tyler could quiet down and observe the mouth movements of the person who was speaking to him. The infant could turn in the direction a familiar voice or sound was coming from. Besides laughing and squealing, Tyler could make sounds to show excitement or displeasure. By this age, the mother could see that the baby was attempting to shape his mouth to change the sounds he was making. Moreover, she could see that he was copying the sounds and gestures made by the people around him.
By all accounts, Tyler’s development was in alignment with the milestones in place for typically developing children. Many factors supported this language acquisition, language development, and literacy for the child during the prenatal stage through to infancy. The kind of care the parents gave the child while he was in the womb allowed for his healthy brain development Gervain (2018). By the time the pregnancy reaches 6 weeks, the most complex parts of the baby’s brain are already developing and there needs to be critical care from the expectant woman. Babies in the womb can sometimes differentiate between two languages spoken to them while in the womb (Ramírez, Lytle and Kuhl, 2020). By speaking to the baby while in the womb, the parents allowed it to understand and remember words at a very early point in its life. The care the parents gave the child during infancy allowed for its healthy physical, social and emotional development and subsequently, its healthy cognitive development.
Tyler’s positive interactions with the people around him allowed him to take time to observe the communication techniques of others and learn from them. The environment in which the child grew up resulted in positive experiences and this resulted in good emotional development for the child. Vihman (2017) indicates that good early experiences enhance healthy development for children. The emotional development of Tyler enabled him to make attempts at communicating with others around him. The infant's language development allowed for further emotional development for the child in the way it promoted his ability to express his emotions. Furthermore, the language development for Tyler enhanced his physical development as it allowed him to signal for food when he was hungry. The domains overlapped in Tyler’s acquisition of language, language development, and literacy in that they complemented and relied on each other.
Given that Tyler’s family’s native language is English, he became introduced to English and this meant that this would be his first language. In the developmental stages following infancy, the child would have an easy time learning and speaking using the language. The only limiting factor for Tyler’s language acquisition, language development, and literacy during prenatal and infancy stages is that his family and other people in his life spoke in English only. This limitation means that Tyler was not introduced to a second language at an age that would have made it easier for him to grasp the said language. Had Tyler come in contact with another language other than English during the prenatal and infancy stages of his growth, he would have at least been curious about it and would have sought to learn about it as soon as he learned to speak. References
Gervain, J. (2018). The role of prenatal experience in language development. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 21, 62-67.
Ramírez, N. F., Lytle, S. R., & Kuhl, P. K. (2020). Parent coaching increases conversational turns and advances infant language development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(7), 3484-3491.
Vihman, M. M. (2017). Learning words and learning sounds: Advances in language development. British Journal of Psychology, 108(1), 1-27. -research paper writing service