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Best way for children to develop language skills, new research from MIT

eLearningworld News

Dialogue is the most important method to develop children’s language skills MIT cognitive scientists have found in a new research project. Rachel Romeo, the lead author of the paper of the research published in the online edition of Psychological Science, concludes: “The important thing is not just to talk to your child, but to talk with your child. It’s not just about dumping language into your child’s brain, but to actually carry on a conversation with them.” The research method used was partly with a system called Language Environment Analysis (LENA) that record every word spoken or heard by each child during two days. The recordings were then analysed by a computer program targeting three fields, the number of words spoken by the child, the number of words spoken to the child, and the number of times the child had a dialogue with an adult. The result shows that the number of conversational turns correlated strongly with children’s scores on standardized tests of language skill. This included vocabulary, grammar as well as verbal reasoning. Roberta Golinkoff, a professor of education at the University of Delaware School of Education, says in a comment that it is not the number of words that determines the child’s language development, but: “If you can get the child to participate, not just listen, that will allow the child to have a better language outcome.” This result should also be taken into account when developing edtech applications for language, where the conversation is key, not the number of words the learner repeats. Source: MIT News

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