Running head: LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
Language Development Interview Amy Martinez ECE 315: Language Development in Young Children Professor Milagros Marchese May 6, 2013
Language Development Interview The purpose of this interview is to determine what level of knowledge I have when it comes to language acquisition. In this paper, I will answer five interview questions to demonstrate my knowledge for a future professional role as an elementary school teacher. I will give my answers and then analyze them according to what I have learned from the course text and other sources in regards to language development in small children. Question One: Interviewer: “What experience do you have working with children with communication disorders?” Amy Martinez: “I have personal experience in that I have a son who has Autism Spectrum Disorder with moderate speech delay. I noticed my son was not using as much language as other children his age when he was 2 years old. He developed his own form of babble at around one year of age, but he never progressed past that. At my son’s fifteen month check up the pediatrician asked me how many words he was able to say and my answer was 2 or 3, to which the doctor expressed some concern but explained that some children develop language at a slower rate than their peers and that we would follow up at his next visit to see if there was any progress. Needless to say, my son’s language usage did not progress by the time he turned two, so I had him evaluated by Early Childhood Intervention, and they determined that there was speech delay due to the fact that he had lost over 40% of his hearing at an early age. They also noted that the sounds of his voice were very different and tingey. My son had to have implants to help him hear better, and we began speech
therapy directly after his surgery. I sat in his therapy sessions and worked with his therapist so that I would know what exercises to use at home between sessions. I learned a variety of speech exercises as well as the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to assist in language development. I also attended hours of ASD and Communicative Disorder education through a special program for parents of children with ASD at the local University as recommended by my son’s therapists.” Analysis: My answer to this interview question clearly demonstrates a situation that was described in the course text (Piper, 2012), in which the author explained that if a child is showing a language delay at the age of 2, there is not necessarily reason to believe there is a problem. The text explained further that language delays are identified as children who are developing language through the normal stages, just on a different timetable as their typical peers (Piper, 2012). The experience I have with my son’s pediatrician backs up that claim.
In my answer, I also demonstrated an understanding of the difference between
language delay and speech delay. My son had a speech delay because not all of the mechanisms for speech were working properly (Piper, 2012), however, once we had surgery and were successfully progressing in his speech, we also turned our focus to language development through the use of PECS to strengthen the intervention. Question Two: Interviewer: “After giving a language assessment, what are your next steps in planning?” Amy Martinez: “If I assessed a child and determined that there was a language delay, for instance, the first thing I would do is to contact the parents to set up a meeting to discuss
what I had observed. The purpose of the meeting would be to partner with the parents to figure out what the underlying problem may be and how we can work together to help the child progress in their language development. It would be important for me to gather as much information as possible about the home life of the family to determine if there is possibly difficulty due to having a different native language than what they are being taught in school, or cultural differences, maybe the child grew up in a language impoverished environment, etc. Once I have a complete picture of the situation with the help of the parents I could then suggest a plan of action that both the parents and myself can agree to.
Most likely, if this is the first time a language delay has been identified in that
particular student, I would employ a Tier I Intervention strategy where I would designate specific goals that are measurable over a specific frame of time. At a Tier I level, this could be that I give this child an additional block of reading or word identification time during the school day, for example. During this time of intervention, I would also give the parents some practical steps they could employ at home as well to help reinforce the learning happening at school. At the end of the designated period, I would reassess the child and communicate my observations to the parents. At that point, either progress will be made or not; if progress is made then the intervention was successful and we can continue to move forward, but if adequate progress was not made we would have to move to a more intensive Tier II Intervention strategy.” Analysis: In my answer to this interview question I demonstrate the importance of meeting with the parents and how the data they can provide can make a big difference in how you go about intervention (Piper, 2012). Obviously, if a delay is identified, it must be addressed through intervention strategies, but it depends on the unique situation of the
child as to what interventions are used. In this example I discussed, the child was not an English as a Second Language Learner, so my intervention strategies were pretty basic. However, if this child was an ESL, I might have chosen to seek the assistance of our district ELL Teacher who could implement specific ESL strategies in the classroom.
I also demonstrate an understanding of Response to Intervention in my response
and the importance of assessment in the classroom, even for language development. If this child went on to Tier II Intervention strategies and was still unresponsive, I would then have to refer the child for an evaluation for eligibility of Special Education services. At that point, all of my observations and assessments would be used by a team of professionals and the parents, along with evaluation tools to determine eligibility for services. So it is important, as a teacher, to document observations and assessments as well as all communication with the parents so that the appropriate decisions can be made for the child. Question Three: Interviewer: “What techniques would you use to help support language development in children?” Amy Martinez: “There are many different strategies I could use to encourage language development in my classroom, depending on the background of the class population. In any case, the first thing I would do is to include a lot of language and reading centers and activities in the classroom environment. A lot of language development happens through children simply being read to and then being exposed to and using language in various ways to reinforce their learning. I would have a daily story time, but I would also allow the children free time everyday where they can choose to do things such as listening to books
on an MP3 player while looking at the illustrations, playing in the play kitchen with their peers where they have an opportunity to listen and communicate with each other in a social context. Allowing children to choose from various activities where they can use their language or experience language supports language development in the classroom***.” Analysis: Here I demonstrate an understanding of how the classroom environment and the types of activities incorporated in that environment work to support language development. I could also go on to explain how I would set up time during the day to conduct various intervention strategies for those students needing either Tier I or Tier II intervention. I might choose to set up a time where I differentiate the lesson assignment so that there are groups working in different centers or activities specific to their level of language level or need. I could have one group sitting in the reading area working with a felt board to act out a story together while I focus on another group by conducting picture and name games. Question 4: Interviewer: “When it comes to working with children who are learning a second language, which method do you think works best?” Amy Martinez: “Personally, I think Pull-‐Out Programs are very effective. I worked at a school that used this method, and we had our ESL students in the mainstream classroom for most of the day where they learned content in English, but they would also attend a specific class for ESL students during the day to focus on their learning English (Piper, 2012). I think there is a lot of benefit from learning alongside English speaking students because they learn to communicate with their peers and get practical practice and experience communicating in this way. However, I think the Pull-‐Out class is a great
supplement for those ESL students who need additional support with their language development in English.” Analysis: This is where I have to be honest and admit that although I do have some knowledge of ELL programs and have completed hours of training in this area, I have never actually worked with ESL students, so I do not have a lot of specifics to share. However, I demonstrate here that I importance of ESL students learning alongside their English speaking peers and how it can support their learning English. Question Five: Interviewer: “How do you work to meet the language goals of all children in your class individually?” Amy Martinez: “All children have their own strengths and weakness, and that includes when it comes to language development. They all have different needs and learn in different ways, and because of this we have to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning in various ways. There’s not a one-‐size fits all for learning, so I would differentiate my instruction for the individual needs in my classroom. Like I touched on earlier, I might divide up my students into pre-‐determined groups that will have specific learning experiences already prepared specifically for them and their collective goals, while establishing completely different activities for other groups. Differentiation can be accomplished through groups, or on an individual basis depending on assignment and individual/group goals. I would also employ the support of resource aides and other support staff to help with interventions and differentiation during the school day.”
Analysis: My response here shows that I understand the importance of addressing the individual needs of students and know how to use several different strategies to do so successfully. I can also refer back to my response detailing Response to Intervention with this question, because RTI has to do with addressing the specific goals and needs of individual students according to their specific needs.
Reference: Piper, T. (2012). Making Meaning Making Sense: Children's Early Language Learning. San
Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. .