Authenticity in Building Language
When we work with children, our approach depends greatly on how we see children. Do we see them as young human beings who know less than we do? We may have a larger vocabulary, and there may be many other areas where the children are in fact more advanced than adults are. For example, in my many experiences with adult learners and younger learners, I have found the following to be true:
Younger learners tend to be better than adults in the following areas:
Being present in the moment
Observing details around them
When we open ourselves to the idea that younger learners are younger only in age, and can in fact hold conversations with adults, authentic dialogue goes from a possibility, to a need, to a desire. Why?
Authentic dialogue with young learners is both joyful and a good reminder of how to live with the energy of a child. They can inspire us if we allow that as a possibility.
Authentic dialogue leads to the building of more language for young learners. When we engage young learners in real conversations, about whatever, they…
Hear the words we use
Hear the inflection we use
Begin to identify multiple meanings of words
Continue to evolve their ability to express meaning
Continue to evolve their level of comprehension
How big a deal is it to have authentic dialogue with young learners? I hope you see that it is a life-changing process for young learners who are around adults who understand this concept. As you begin to wrap your mind around this concept, you will notice that it’s not even the building of language which is the primary focus. Language is a vehicle, which can be used for profound thought, creation of ideas, and delivery of concrete products to better our communities.
When you are around young learners, you have the opportunity to model authentic dialogue.