Role Of Language During Early Mental Development

658 words - 3 pages

Language is an important requirement for a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development. This is why our education system is designed in a manner that ensures that during formative years children are exposed to more direct teaching of pragmatic knowledge, phonetics, semantic and morphemic. However, there has been disagreement among scholars of human growth and development. Some believe that children’s natural development is stinted by the regimented rote memorization of phonics and manipulation of language while others believe a systematic approach like phonics instruction is the most effective way to increase language acquisition during primary years.
There are two main opposing schools of thought on the instruction of literacy. The bottom-up theories has put forward a sub-skills approach which holds that reading is learned at the beginning by manipulating the fundamental components of language, that is, alphabetical letters and words (Riley 2003). On the other hand, the top-down schools of thought propose that seeking out the meaning is the most important objective right from the start of learning how to read. Top-down theories further suggest that guessing and prediction are the main strategies for decoding words (Riley 2003).
In the US these two opposing points of view have been enthusiastically discussed as phonics instruction in opposition to whole language (Hempenstall 2009). Even though on the surface the debate appears to be about teaching methods, the deeper level of departure revolves around what children have to learn so as to develop his or her language and be able to read (Riley 2003). Central concerns of the current phonics controversy revolves around fundamental questions such as which feature of language plays the most significant role in a child’s endeavors in learning how to read. Another important concern comprises whether semantics and syntax are the most important or it is phonology which is crucial (Riley 2003). Another important concern regarding the current phonics controversy is the issue of the role of naturalness in a child’s learning to read. Here the main issue regards whether educators can view learning to read and write as an extension of...

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