Focus on Oral Language and Vocabulary
Deborah Mazzeo: Hello, and welcome! Thank you all for joining us today for the fourth Planned Language Approach Big 5 webinar with a Focus on Oral Language and Vocabulary. So far, we have talked about alphabet knowledge in early writing, background knowledge and book knowledge and print concepts, and so this month we're focusing on the next Big 5 skill, which, of course, is oral language and vocabulary. For those who may not have been on the prior webinars, the Big 5 is one of the five components of a planned language approach. They are the key skills that are critical for later-school success including grade level reading.
I just want to be sure that you'll join us again in May on the 16th of May at the same time for our last webinar on the fifth Big 5 skill, which is phonological awareness. All of these webinars are recorded, and the first one on alphabet knowledge and early writing is already up and available on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, or ECLKC is what we say for short, so you can feel free to listen to it online if you missed that one. So, my name is Deborah Mazzeo, and I am the cultural and linguistic practices coordinator at the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning, and I am joined here today with my copresenter Karen Nemeth. She is the senior training and technical assistance specialist for dual language learners. And before we begin, I know some folks may be new to this, so I'd like to just go over some information regarding the webinar. We'll be using some of the features of this webinar platform to help us interact, so at the bottom of your screen you'll notice these widgets. If you have any questions during a webcast, you can submit them through the purple Q&A widget. We will try to answer these during the webcast, and please know that we do capture all questions. If you have any technical questions, please enter them here as well.
A copy of today's slide deck and additional resources are available in the resource list, which is the green widget. We encourage you to download any resources or links that you may find useful. Throughout this session, we'll be using the blue group chat widget to engage with each other, and I thank you to all of those who have already shared some of your ideas for introducing new vocabulary in your programs. You can also find additional answers to some common technical issues located in the yellow help widget at the bottom of your screen. Each of these widgets are resizable and movable for a customized experience. You simply click on the widget and move it by dragging and dropping and resizing using the arrow at the top corners. Finally, if you have any trouble, try refreshing your browser by pressing F5, and be sure to log off your VPN and exit out of any other browsers.
So, with that, here is what we're planning on covering today. The tops are interwoven and connected throughout the entire presentation. You may have noticed in the resources list that there is a multipage PDF titled "Oral Language and Vocabulary." You all are the first to receive this newly updated document, which is the basis for this webinar and follows the same topics that are on our agenda. There is also a new oral language and vocabulary web page on the ECLKC, or the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, and as many may have heard me say before, there is a page on ECLKC for each of the Big 5 skills. So, at the end of this presentation, you should be able to understand the connections to a planned language approach, what the PLA stands for, coordinated approaches and the ELOF, which is the Early Learning Outcomes Framework. You should be able to explain what the research says about oral language and vocabulary, describe the developmental trajectory from birth to age 5, identify strategies to support children who are dual-language learners and identify effective practices for supporting each skill in different early learning settings.
So, when we talk about oral language and vocabulary, we include the points you see here on the slide. The first one is interactive and social language skills, and these are a function of our culture, which will be discussed later on in the presentation, but they include things like gesturing or taking turns while speaking and listening, and these social language skills, obviously, allow children to interact with others as they're playing with peers or with their siblings. Next is academic language skills, and this includes the rich vocabulary that allows older children to fully participate in listening, speaking, reading and writing activities in school.
Next is the receptive language skills, which includes hearing and understanding the language or languages of an environment. And then last here we have expressive language skills, which is making and using the sounds of a child's language or languages for communication. So, implementing the Big 5 includes a coordinated approach, or involves a coordinate approach I should say. All of these activities listed on the slide involve implementing a coordinated approach, and our conversation on oral language and vocabulary today is only one slice of the pie, and it falls in that slice called the Big 5 for all. You can see the image there on the slide. All of the other pieces of that pie image, though, are also very important.
The five pieces of a PLA are aligned to the sections of the DLLPA or that Dual Language Learners Program Assessment, and you can see that cover image on the slide as well, and it's a wonderful resource for assessing your own systems and services for supporting children who are dual language learners and their families. If you're implementing a planned language approach, you're implementing a coordinated approach to serving children who are DLL or dual language learners, which is required by the Head Start Program Performance Standards. Now, all of the Big 5 skills in our conversation today specifically on oral language and vocabulary are supported by research and connected to the language and literacy domain of the ELOF or Early Learning Outcomes Framework.
While I'm here showing the ELOF goals, childcare programs will see that oral language and vocabulary will also align with state's early learning and development standards. So, here on this slide I have the goals for infants and toddlers associated with oral language and vocabulary, and those appear in the language and communication domain under the language and literacy essential domain, and you see, also, the goals listed under the subdomains of attending and understanding, communicating and speaking and also vocabulary. I want to make note that these are all impacted by language and culture as children interact with family members and caretakers. Now, on this slide, we have the goals for preschoolers that are associated with oral language and vocabulary. They also appear in the language and communication domain under language and literacy essential domain, and we see the same sub-domains of attending and understanding, communicating and speaking and vocabulary. These goals are relevant for children in classrooms, family childcare and home visiting settings. And so with that, I will now turn it over to Karen and let her share a little bit about the research, so, Karen?
Karen Nemeth: Yeah, thank you, Deborah. I always like to share this part because the research about language development and early literacy is just so fascinating, and this is one are of the bigger topic that really captures my interest because oral language seems so simple. It's just about talking, but there's so much more to that story. So, we know, for example, that oral language helps children to process the language they're hearing, that children have to say words to really learn them, and they can't just say them, like, parrots, like repeating them. They have to say them in meaningful contexts and interactions, so we talked so much about the value of play in early childhood education, but it turns out that play is the place where children practice so much of this oral language in meaningful interactions with peers and adults, and they get so much valuable vocabulary learning because they're using the language, right?
So, we know that language is the foundation for communication and learning and social interactions, so if you're looking at children from any of those standpoints, language is always going to be central to what your addressing. And we have referred to the work by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Golinkoff who actually developed six principles of language development that we like to share, and three of them are on your screen right now. So, we have "Children learn the words that they hear most." That's the first principle, so that's kind of interesting because children hear a lot of words. In some families they hear more words, some families they hear less words, but they hear a lot of words, and they develop an understanding of those words, their receptive language, based on the words they hear.
And so, the more we talk to children and the more meaningful and different and interesting words we use, the more we can support that early language development, but just hearing the words is not the whole story. So, children learn the words they hear the most, but they mainly learn them when they use them, so that's why we see the second principle from Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Golinkoff, "Social interaction matters." Social interaction is an important way that children have to practice the words they've heard and learned, to try things out that worked, try words out that may be not so accurate and they get feedback in that natural context of those interactions, and so it's really important that as children are learning that they hear words that they can understand, and they hear words that they can use in social interactions. So, this is especially important for children who are dual language learners because they may be in the presence of a lot of words that they don't understand, and so they can't use them, and that doesn't help them develop their home language or their English. But if we make sure that all children, no matter what language they speak, are getting some input of words they can understand and use and then they have opportunities to practice those words in different contexts, social interaction matters in practicing language, both the home language and in English.
And the third principle: "Children learn words for things and events that interest them," not that are dictated by the teacher but for things that the children are interested in and excited about, things that they want to talk about. So, we have an example here of when a baby is focused on a picture of their parent and you might say, "Yes, that's your mommy. She had to go to work, but she'll be back soon. I know you'll be excited to see her," and certainly, there are a lot of words in that interaction that the adult is saying and the child is learning about, but they're making connections because you're saying words that focus on what the child is showing an interest in. And the next three principles — “Children learn words best in meaningful contexts," and this is so important. You know, we do a lot of things in early childhood that have to do with learning colors and shapes, right? But you can't have a very interesting conversation if you just learned the words for colors and shapes in your own language or in a new language, so we want, also, children to have verbs they can use and descriptive words they can use, and if they can -- If a child can learn to say the word big or learn to use the word big, they can certainly understand the word "gigantic" just as well, so we can provide those things in meaningful contexts that support their interactions and are supported by their interactions.
And then the next one, "Vocabulary learning and grammatical development are reciprocal processes." They go together. They go together. Children learn how grammar works long before they ever open a grammar textbook because grammar helps you say things that people can understand. Grammar helps you organize the thoughts that you are having about what you're hearing. So, we see, for example — Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Berta Golinkoff gave this example in their article. If you say John is blicking Mary — That's a nonsense word, blicking — you could guess that a child would know that John is doing something to Mary, and that's different from if you said John and Mary are blicking. And so just that simple question of word order really does make a difference in a child's understanding and how not only they understand what you're saying but how they organize it and store it in their brain and then how they call it forth to use it in their own interactions as well.
So, but it's all based on meaning and context and interaction, not memorization, not one-shot words one time only but repeating and practicing things that you like and are interested in and want to talk about, and then the last of the six is keeping it positive. Encouraging children to use words however it works for them to communicate, and sometimes they will make mistakes, but we focus on the content of their message, the intent of their message and support them and extent their messages rather than correcting their grammar or their vocabulary.
And over time, children do learn from our high-quality language modeling that we provide. We know, also, that oral language and vocabulary are rooted very much in culture, and so we want to pay attention to what families do and how families feel about the language interactions that they have at home. So, children develop ideas about how and when to use language beginning at birth based not only on how adults interact with each other but what are the expectations the adults have for children? And families and culture vary very much in terms of what they expect about how much a child is allowed to talk or encouraged to talk, and so getting to know more about the family and what they are feeling and how they are interacting with their child can give you a lot of insight about what that child's experiences have been and how you can understand the family's practices and help the family understand the choices you make in supporting oral language and vocabulary in the program.
So, we know that families and cultures may differ in their expectations, such as at what age should a child begin to speak? When do you expect children to start talking? When should children speak and not speak at meals or in the car or, you know, whenever they have something to say or only if they have a question? You might ask families to talk about who does the child talk to? Who do they have the most conversations with? Who has the most conversations with their child and provides that important opportunity for oral language practice and expression? And, you know, does the family feel like children should do all the talking they want, or do some families want to limit how much the child talks? And some families see talking in different ways in terms of the role of the child in the family, so, getting to know what the family feels is also important because we want to make those connections with families as well as with the child and make things meaningful in context. So, we have some important resources on the ECLKC to help with these discussions, and here is a really important one called Code Switching and "Why it Matters and How to Respond."
And I want to ask you in the chat box if you've seen examples of code switching with your children. Type in some examples that you've heard because these are some amazing examples of brain power because the drive for young children to use language to communicate is so powerful that their brain enables them to pull words from whatever language is available to them, and that's what code switching reveals to us: an extraordinary strength of brain power that enables a child to get that message across by putting together whatever resources are available in that brain.
So, children who know more than one language have learned some word in one language and other words in their other language, so the total number of words that a child knows adds up to at least as many as the total number of words that a monolingual child knows, but the number of words they know in their home language might be a smaller number, and the number of words in English might be a smaller number, but they put it together, and it makes a really rich and interesting total vocabulary that reveals what the brain knows and how they can talk about it.
So, code switching is something that we really allow and support because it really shows us how that child's brain is working, and, yes, as adults, we don't want to present code switching so much because we're trying to present a clear model for the best possible use in one language or the other, but you're writing your own examples. I know we had some examples from our work, such as a child that might say, "Quiero jugar outside." I want to play outside.
Or this is not what I want to comer. Right? This is not what I want to eat. Those sentences sure get the message across, but think how creative that behind-the-scenes work the brain is doing to get that message across because communication is so critical, and didn't we just talk about how the research says that those social interactions — Well, those are important, and they are supported by communication. These factors all go together, and none of them is about, you know, making sure the child is absolutely correct. They're all about supporting those interactions, that meaning and that communication.
Now we're about to have a poll question because we wanted to draw your attention to another resource, which is the manual for developing classroom language models in your program, and I'm going to ask in the chat room just real quick if as soon as you see this, have you seen this before? This resource on the ECLKC is called "Classroom Language Models: A Leader's Implementation Manual," and many programs use it to — as a guide to address the kinds of language models, the way the classrooms are set up and how they use language. That's what a classroom language model is about. So, in a minute I'm going to show you the poll so that the choice is based on what's in this manual. First of all, some classrooms are set up where the teaching is done in English, but they provide some support of each child's home language, and that's letter A.
Letter B could be for dual language classrooms where there is a focus on teaching in both the home language and English or both — or two languages that are chosen for that classroom. Like Misty, B is saying English and Spanish, right? And then that there's a balance in the use of the two languages, and for C, a home language classroom that's used as a foundation to begin to support English development, and then some classrooms are just English only, or you might be not sure. And now I'm going to administer the poll, so I see that you're writing things in the chat box, but I'm going to ask you also to actually click it on the poll, so we can have a count. So, here's your chance now to go ahead. Even if you've already put it in the chat box, you're ready now to answer the question, so please click it on the poll so we could see. People will then be able to see what the results are.
Okay. I'm giving you a minute or two. You've had a chance. See, I gave you a chance to think of what your answer is, so this is the time for you to start typing it into the polls, so then when I show you the results, you'll be able to see how your answer compared to the other people in the group, but I think when we take a look at, also, some of your written answers, we'll see some more details about how you address these things. Okay. I see more than 100 people have already answered the poll. I'm going to close it in 10 seconds. Okay, and now I just clicked something, and my friend, Deborah, is now going to be amused that when I clicked something, I'm not sure what you can see.
Deborah: Hey, Karen. This is --
Karen: Yes, yep.
Deborah: We can — I can see the poll results.
Karen: Oh, yeah. It's — Okay. It's up. When I click too many things, all of a sudden everything goes away. So, now can you see something interesting with this poll? That the first few people that voted, voted for English with home language support, and for a few minutes — for a few seconds, that was 100 percent of the answers, but now look at what a balance we have. Many people are using home — English with home language support, but also about a third of you are fully using a dual-language classroom model, and some are using home language as a foundation for English, and that leaves a very small number of — Well, not too small — a quarter of the people still using English only, and so — And it's okay to be not sure because, you know, there are still a lot of variations in the way these things are played out, but we really want to make sure you knew about this resource so that — and to think more about how you're using those languages models intentionally to support oral language and vocabulary. And now we're going to talk about how that shows up in the developmental progression of the ELOF. Are you ready, Deb?
Deborah: I'm ready. Thank you so much, Karen. So, we've heard about the what, and we've heard about they why and now we'll get into the how of developing oral language and vocabulary, so we're going to start our conversation on developmental progression with babies and know that many of the strategies we'll be sharing in a moment can be used with toddlers, too. It's likely that these strategies will be familiar to you all. Maybe you've been using them already or if you're a supervisor or a coach, you've supported staff on using them. They may be strategies that are used in your curriculum, which — The curriculum should provide the experiences and activities in which you'll use these strategies.
Okay? So, in this table, we see the goal for infants and toddlers under language and communication and the subdomain of communicating and speaking, and it means the child communicates needs and wants nonverbally and by using language. So, as adults we support babies oral language development by talking to them even before they're born, right? So, when adults give even the youngest babies opportunities to participate in quote, unquote conversations, they're helping children become eager and able talkers, first, as the infant babbles and coos and later as they speak their first words. And so babies build oral language and vocabulary when adults are responsive to their needs for feeding, changing, comforting and cuddling, when adults use child-directed speech or parentese, and that simply means speaking in a higher pitch or at a slower rate with, like, clearer enunciation or simpler and shorter phrases. You probably get the idea. The next bullet there, when they talk, read and sing to babies in one or more languages, and we often recommend that it be in the language that the adult is most comfortable using because that's when the richer vocabulary is shared.
The next bullet is engage babies in back-and-forth exchanges or conversations by responding with different facial expressions and gestures or different words each time a baby babbles and coos, and, you know, you may want to wait for a response before responding back. And then lastly here on the slide, talk to babies about what they see, hear, touch, smell and taste, and that's what you'll be talking about in those back-and-forth exchanges. Here we have a few more. You'll want to explain routines to babies as they are — as you're doing them, so as you're getting them dressed, involved in mealtime, diapering, bathing, those routines. Use gestures, such as pointing, to direct children's attention to objects or people of interest, like if you're outside pointing and saying look! See the squirrel?
The next one, teaching older babies, like 9 months and up, to use simple signs or gestures to help them communicate basic messages like eat or drink or all done, and this would be separate from using sign language with children who are hearing impaired. And then lastly, sharing culturally and linguistically diverse books with brightly colored illustrations or photos and then labeling and describing these pictures. And so on this next slide here, we have two briefs that can support you in your work with babies, and they can also be found in the resources widget, so be sure to download them. The first, on the left-hand side, is called "Hearing Language is Learning," and it provides information around the science behind how babies learn language and some really great tips on how to support it. There are two additional briefs in that series called "Growing Up as a Dual Language Learner" and then also "Cognitive Benefits of Bilingualism," so definitely do a search for those on the ECLKC. The next document on the right-hand side is from a series called connecting research to practice. They're tips for working with infants, toddlers and their families, and that series on the right was actually developed to support home visitors in their work with children and families, but in addition to home visitors, teachers and family childcare providers can certainly use them to learn more about the recent research on early childhood development was well. So, next, before I advance
to the next slide, you're going to see a short video clip of a teacher interacting with an infant and offering him some nesting cups and a ball to explore; so, I'm going to ask you to watch for the strategies that you see this teacher using, and then also think how might these be the same or different if the child was a dual language learner, so here we go.
[Video clip begins]
Teacher: Tower. Flip it over. Oh! Whoops! We're going to look at this. This is yellow. Look how round it is. It's a circle. Yeah. It's exciting. Watch! We're going to take the blue ball, and it's in.
[Video clip ends]
Deborah: All right. So, what did you think? What strategies did you see the teacher use? Well, I'll get us started with, you know, some of the gestures for example. So, did you all notice that to reinforce the word round she runs her finger along the edge of the stacking cup? We talked about that use of parentese, too. Did you see how she was kind of using a higher-pitched voice as she talked to the baby? I see Barbara answering here "Thinking aloud." Jan, "Descriptive words and gestures." Yeah, Holly, "The color of the cup," exactly. Keep using those specific vocabulary words, right? Kelly is talking about descriptive language. "Look how round it is," like a circle, the blue ball. "It's in." So, lots of great vocabulary in this 30-second clip. Thank you all. All right. So, since we talked about babies for the first goal, we're going to talk about toddlers for this one. Just know that the strategies we just talked about for babies will also support the development in this goal, too. So, in this table, we also see an infant-toddler goal under the language and communication domain and the vocabulary subdomain, and it reads, the child "uses an increasing number of words in communication and conversation with others," and so the number of words children know and understand expands pretty rapidly from 18 months to 3 years.
Toddlers are also developing expressive language and vocabulary when they begin to combine words and sign or speak in simple sentences and, you know, begin to say things like "go bye," "bye and all done" or "Mommy home." It's important to note that not all toddlers develop oral language and vocabulary in the same way. Some will show slow steady growth while others may progress in spurts or, like, sudden increases in the number of words that they know and use. Toddlers, of course, learn the words in the languages they hear, so it's important that they hear lots of language whether it's in English or another home language or both during this time of development. So, let's look at some of the strategies on how to support toddlers.
So, toddlers develop oral language and vocabulary when adults talk and/or sign to them frequently using different and interesting words, have one-on-one conversations every day and aim for two or more conversational turns for each speaker. Intentionally teach words and word meanings, so, for example, you might say that sign says "caution," so we need to be careful, and then you repeat these new words over time to increase the toddler's understanding, so, you know, later on that day, you might say that yellow light means caution just like the sign we saw earlier. Cars need to be careful.
So, you know, that's just one example, but it is important that you repeat it often and enough so that they really begin to understand the meaning. Answer children's questions, particularly those about how and why the world works the way it does. For example, you might say the sun is setting, and that means it's going down. That's why it's getting dark outside. That's an example there. And then build on what children sign or say, so, for example, if a child points to a plane in the sky and says plane or if the child points to a picture of a plane on his assistive communication device, you might say yes, that's an airplane. The airplane is flying high across the sky, and so here, you're actually repeating and you're expanding. And then lastly here, say words in the child's home language, so, you may need to reach out to the parents and integrate words that are used in their home language to communicate between a parent and child, and these, of course, may be familiar to the child in the home as that's where it's likely often spoken. Here we have a couple more. Model how to use language correctly.
For example, if the child is saying the bear go to sleep, you might respond with, oh, you're bear went to sleep. Goodnight, bear. And just note here that you do not want to ask the child to repeat the phrase correctly. Over time, they'll learn the proper language structure, so, you know, just accept what they say and be excited and, you know, repeat and expand like we talked about. Ask questions that invite toddlers to provide explanations, so, you know, how did you get those blocks to stand up? And even if they don't have, you know, the language, you're modeling the question that offers opportunities for the child to think and then respond, so keep that in mind. You'll want to read and re-read books written just for them, and these kinds of books encourage singing and clapping. They may be concept books that teach new ideas and, of course, books that tell a good story. You might need to adapt some books for children who have difficulties holding and turning pages, so, for example, you might attach tabs to books, to the pages for easier turning, and then lastly here, encourage imaginary plan and introduce words not used in everyday experiences, and this offers, again, another opportunity to introduce new vocabulary. And so, with that —
Oh. Here we have another video that I'm going to show. Oh. Let me set this up for you before I play this video. So, in this next video, the teacher sits as a table with a small group of young toddlers, and the toddlers just explored avocados and are now starting to explore bananas, and so, again, I'm going to invite you to react to the video. Feel free to place comments about what you notice in the chat. Again, based on the strategies that we just covered, feel free to chat about, you know, what you see the teacher doing, the children doing and what this tells us about what the children know. So, here we go again.
Teacher: You like it? Mia has opened her banana all the way. She's getting all the banana out of there. Huh, Mia? Yes. You're pulling that peel with your teeth. Yes, and getting that banana open. How does it taste? Hmm? Does it taste the same or different than the avocado? Hmm? What do you think? Do you think it tastes the same or different? Hmm? Bananas are sweet, huh? And avocados are not so sweet. They're just plain. You see our avocado seed? Yes. This was in the middle of the avocado.
Deborah: All right. I just love this clip, and I, you know, I just get so excited every time I see it. I see several folks responding here. The parallel talk, the vocabulary. Yeah, she's totally narrating what the toddlers are doing. "Mia is opening the banana. You're pulling it with your teeth." And so, by doing that, she's talking to them and modeling that language use, right? Did you notice that she's also asking questions? "How does it taste?" Even though they may not have the vocabulary, right, she's providing it. She — You know, she also is intentionally teaching those words. "Bananas are sweet." So, many of you all here are saying, yeah, she's using that soft tone, using the word peel. I just love it. This is great. Expressive, showing excitement, I know. I want to be a child in this teacher's classroom. She's so student-centered. Yes. Yeah, she even asks, "Do you think it tastes the same or different?" Someone just responded there. Wonderful. Thank you all. All right. I think now I'm going to turn it over to Karen to talk about the preschoolers, so, Karen, do you want to take it away?
Karen: Here we go! So, basically, what I want to say about the learning oral language and vocabulary for preschoolers is pretty much everything Deborah just said about infants and toddlers and then some icing on the cake. How about that? We want to add to those experiences, and we want to capitalize on the preschoolers growing receptive language, so when they're younger, we work so hard on supporting their receptive language because we know they understand more than they're ready to say, but as they start saying more and more things, we want to give them plenty of support for that oral language and plenty of opportunity to use it in meaningful ways.
So, once again, we see using lots of different and interesting words, and we do want to use words that are not commonly found in everyday speak. However, that doesn't mean using uncommon words they'll never use again. It means adding interesting, unusual words that do apply to the kinds of building that they're doing with blocks or their outdoor play. Like, we were saying, you know, oh, my goodness. You are soaring down that slide, and your block tower is colossal, and we are adding words that they might not have used before but that they could use, so they practice their oral language. And this idea of explicitly teaching what new words mean, it turns out from recent research, to really be rising up as a powerful strategy to use in preschool, and that goes for English only as well as for supporting dual language learners. Where we might help a child understand new words, like first referring to the familiar word in their home language and then explaining how that familiar word is connected to a new word in English. It makes it easier for a child to learn a new word when they can see how it's connected to something they already know, and then they are able to use it. And that we want to find ways to tuck in definitions of new words during informal conversations and interactions with children, explaining unfamiliar words when they come up during reading, reading books that provide interesting words so that we have a chance then to talk about them.
But this is so important to remember that if you read a book to children and it introduces some wild and wonderful words, they won't stick if the child never hears them again or never uses them. If you read a book with wonderful words, then you should find ways to use those words elsewhere in the classroom or at other times of the day, and making connections with the child culture and traditions is a key component of that work. It's really important to have one-on-one conversations with children every day. Some teachers even track that so that they don't miss it. You know how sometimes you have children — You — you might feel like you're having conversations all day long, and then you might realize, you know, I remember talking to this child and this child, but there's a couple children in my class I can't remember the last time I had a conversation, and those might be the ones that really need it the most.
So, think about ways to build in those conversation times and to find ways to support conversations with the children who are dual language learners. You know what? You're not the only person that has to have those conversations. I'm going to say this, and I'm going to ask you to write in the chat room, who else can you encourage to have conversations in children's home languages? And watch what happens in the chat box when you people start putting in your suggestions. If you don't speak all the home languages in your classroom, who else could you teach about conversations or encourage to have conversations or bring in to have conversations in home languages with those children? Sometimes we call them conversation friends. Okay, so we'll see if you have some examples, and I'll chime in, in a minute. We want to encourage children to tell us stories about what's happening in their life or what they've been doing, and sometimes those stories take a long time, and we really need to find the time to be patient.
I mean, we could have enough adults prepared to listen and respond to those stories. We need to take outings and have lots of experiences that give children lots to talk about or sign about, and, my goodness, I love the use of sign language as a way to connect children who speak a variety of languages, right? Because if you learn signs, then children — And you have children in your classes who speak several languages, everyone can come together in their understanding with using the signs. It helps bridge those connections, and look at all the suggestions we've got. Grandparents, foster grandparents, family members, people from the community, right? How about if you have local, bilingual high-school students that need a community volunteer project or people from the local university that could visit and volunteer as conversation buddies in your classrooms? Lots of opportunities, so, it's not all on one person's shoulder.
Oh, look at all these great ideas. This is just an amazing group, you guys. We also want to model appropriate language without correcting children but really being aware of how we construct sentences and how we communicate with children to model good language. Give them good models that they can learn from and supporting pretend play by providing rich, engaging objects that give children a lot to talk about, and if those objects in the classroom relate to the words they learned in the stories, that's going to help them practice to say those words more often. And now here's a video clip.
Teacher: That's a — Here. You can have this, Emile. [Speaks native language]
Boy: This is the last one I'm doing.
Teacher: We have a lot of pasta. Don't worry, okay, Dro?
There you go. Boy: [Speaks native language]
Teacher: [Speaks native language]
Girl: Teacher! Teacher! Teacher, right here. Dro: [Speaks native language]
Teacher: [Speaks native language]
Boy: No, Camile.
Dro: Yes [speaks native language]
Teacher #2: Who wants pasta? Who wants pasta? Girl: Me!
Me! Teacher: Right. You know what Dro said [Indistinct] just now?
Teacher: He said he's going to be getting dirt because he wants to plant it over here in our garden.
Dro: Yeah, no. I want to give it all to my friend, the dirt, and then we're going to plant all of us. [Chatter]
Teacher: What do you want to plant, Dro? [Chatter]
Teacher: [Speaks native language] So, he wants to plant cucumber, huh?
Karen: So, you can see from that video that the teacher is taking her time having conversations with those children, letting those conversations keep going back-and-forth turns, but she's facilitating by adding explanations and explaining what one child is saying to the other children and back and forth, so, she's modeling how people who speak different languages can interact together. So, is there anything else that you notice about the way that teacher interacted? There's more in this video with the older children than the strategies you noticed in the infant-toddler videos, so if you see some additional strategy ideas in the video you just watched, just put that in the chat box. We can all capture it. And so, we are going to be watching for your strategy. I see Lydia said she loves those feedback loops, and she saw that the teacher waited. That's a hard thing. It's a hard thing for me as a webinar presenter, but sometimes we have to just take a breath and let a child take a bit to understand what our question was, think about what they want to say and then say it back to us. We can help the other children learn to be patient with each other as well. Thomasina is saying she loves the engagement. Latisha is saying, "The same thing can apply when you talk to infants, and the same kind of patience and eye contact and getting down on their level is also important for preschoolers."
And so, we know we only have an hour today, and we want to have more of these conversations. You're sharing already such great ideas in the chat, and now we can offer you the opportunity to keep talking about talking, and so, Deborah manages this Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Practices community on MyPeers, and those of you who belong to MyPeers already can just sign on for this group, and you will see that we're going to ask some more questions to keep this conversation going. The kinds of things you're talking about today — Imagine if all these big ideas could be shared with other people who are not on the webinar and that you can also ask questions to help us meet your needs by participating in the community.
And if you're not yet a member of MyPeers, the link that's on the slide will take you to the instructions of how to join. I'm asking you now if you have any more questions to make sure you type them into the chat box or the questions link, so we can try to answer them as we get to the end of the webinar coming up at 4 o'clock. This is another handout that we wanted to draw your attention to. These are strategies for parents and families to talk about building home-school connections, supporting daily activities for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and uses a lot of examples to help families and education staff share together about the kinds of things that can build that homeschool connection to support oral language and vocabulary. And we wanted to let you know that there's a new resource available on the ECLKC, and this is an amazing thing: a curriculum consumer report with new reviews of all the current curriculum models that are being used that you sign on to this resource, and for infants and toddlers, preschoolers and home-based, you can look up different curriculum models and see how they compare to each other, see how they answer the questions you have about the kinds of qualities you want.
You can see the features all listed in this slide, so, we really encourage you to visit that curriculum model, curriculum consumer guide, and then look at this resource coming up. On May 28 to 31 there's a 3-day e-institute to support home visitors, so this is a new event that we want to make sure everyone knows about. You can share with the people you work with, and the link is here, and the details — It starts on May 28, and there are four micro-learning sessions, so, it's like going to a conference, but you don't have to leave your house, and there'll be a ton of really rich information available on the home visitor e-institute with the link that you see on your screen.
And we also have an evaluation form that we ask you to please use this e-mail or ask questions using the phones, which are places where you can ask questions, find out about resources, ask specific things about your program or your classroom, and we will respond. And then here's the list of resources that we shared with you today that you should all be able to access from the resource section, and included in the resource section is the PowerPoint so you can see these links, and this is a link to complete the evaluation for this session.
So, if anyone has any questions, we'll stay on for another 60 seconds, and after this we'll see you on MyPeers and continue the conversation, so thank you all for your participation.
Thank you to Deborah. Thank you to our team behind the scenes with Erica and Alyssa and Shawn, and thank you for attending this program.Close
Explore the Planned Language Approach for Oral Language and Vocabulary. Children develop expressive and receptive language as they begin to understand a language’s meaning and can use sounds, words, and sentences. A key aspect of oral language development is acquiring vocabulary. Learn how to promote oral language and vocabulary skills for all children in your program.
Note: The evaluation, certificate, and engagement tools mentioned in the video were for the participants of the live webinar and are no longer available. For information about webinars that will be broadcast live soon, visit Upcoming Events.