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4.

Examine the relationships between language and childrens development,


particularly cognitive, social and emotional development.

Childrens early social interactions play an important role in development of


language skills (Nelson, 1981). Social interaction is an important factor in language
acquisition.

Vygotskys theory claimed that the social interaction plays a

fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. Like Piagets theory,


Vygotskys believed that young children are curious and actively involved in their own
learning and the discovery and development of new understandings or schema.
However, Vygotsky placed more emphasis on social contributions to the process of
development whereas Piaget emphasized self-initiated discovery. According to
Vygotsky (1978), much important learning by the child occurs through social
interaction with a skilful tutor. Therefore, social interaction will become one certain
part of childrens development.
Moreover, Vygotsky also stated that language is a kind of communication.
Everyone can learn language through the social interaction. Generally speaking, the
childrens social interaction is firstly occurred in the family. Thus, at the beginning,
childrens language acquisition will take place with their parents. For instance,
Shaffer (1996) gives the example of a young girl who is given her first jigsaw. Alone,
she performs poorly in attempting to solve the puzzle. After strategies the father
then sits with her and describes or demonstrates some basic strategies and provides
a couple of pieces for the child to put together herself and offers encouragement
when she does so. As the child becomes more competent, the father allows the child
to work more independently. According to Vygotsky, this type of social interaction
involving co-operative or collaborative dialogue promotes cognitive development.
Basically, language plays two critical roles in cognitive development which are it is
the main means by which adults transmit info to children and language itself
becomes a very powerful tool of intellectual adaptation.
Apart from that, according to Piaget, children are born with a very basic
mental structure (genetically inherited and evolved) on which all subsequent learning
and knowledge is based. Children construct an understanding of the world around
them, and then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what

they discover in their environment. There are three basic components to Piagets
cognitive theory which are schemas, assimilation and accommodation and four
stages of development. Through adaptation, children understand what a cat from a
picture book is. The next is through assimilation, children using an existing schema
to deal with a new object or situation. For example, children expand knowledge by
observing what a cat is. Then, children see a cow. A new schema must be formed to
acknowledge this is a different animal. When the existing schema (knowledge) does
not work then it needs to be changed to deal with a new object or situation. For
instance, children seek assistant from the parents by asking why the cat moo. The
parents provide feedback and reinforces that is a cow. A schema about cow is
formed. Piagets theory is very influential especially in primary schools.
According to humanistic psychologists believe that an individuals behaviour is
connected to their inner feelings and self-concept. Most children have developed
their capacity for regulating their own emotions. As well as their social knowledge
and appreciation of their cultures rules for display of emotions (when and where it is
appropriate to display particular emotions, how much is allowed, what expressions of
emotion are acceptable, and whether the rules are different for boys or girls) is
improved, enabling them to recognize whether or not it is appropriate to express
specific emotions in specific situations and then take steps to display an appropriate
amount of emotion. By this time, children will have typically learned that it is not okay
to hit someone when they are angry. In addition, most children will have developed
enhanced self-soothing skills and have become capable of calming themselves
down when they are angry or upset. Moreover, most children will have started to be
capable of making sense of complex emotional content present in interpersonal
situation. For example, seeing someone cries and laughs at the same time and then
they begin to appreciate the reality of mixed and complex emotions. As children
practice interpreting peoples complex emotional displays, their perspective taking
abilities and their empathy skills increase. Children's perspective taking abilities
involve their capacity for imagining what other people must actually be thinking and
feeling, and appreciating what it must be like to see and feel the world from the
perspective of other people. Empathy skills have to do with children's ability to
sympathize with another person's emotions so deeply that they start feeling those
same emotions.