Describe how Literacy is related to Language Development
Literacy is characterized by an individual’s ability to read and speak in a particular language. The two components are vital to the intellectual growth of children. A literate child is able to listen, speak, watch, understand, and also draw. Literacy in children can be enhanced via the use of pictures, objects, words, letters, and sounds that makes it easier for the children to be able to develop literacy skills.
A child can be assisted to develop literacy skills by making sure that he or she is communicated to. Reading along with the child can also assist in the development of the child. Teaching the child various sounds helps in the creation of the brain connection. These connections are vital in enhancing the level of understanding, thinking, and language. In the absence of such techniques as singing, talking, and also reading, it is quite challenging for a child to be able to develop a network of connections. Communication thus assists in the language development of a child.
My Experiences in Literacy Development
I have a passion for learning other people’s languages including their cultures. I started as a teacher at the North Borders University which is situated in Saudi Arabia. I worked in the translation and the language department where I was able to learn that writing and speaking are the most effective strategies for attaining literacy development. The education system that mainly focuses on memorizing deters the process of attainment of the literacy levels required. It inhibits students from becoming creative.
I grew up in an area that is characterized by a high level of cultural diversity since it is close to the border point. I have been a teacher at the 7th High school and an elementary English teacher where I used my linguistic knowledge and skills in assisting the students to understand the learning process. I have also ventured into research with an aim of determining the most effective strategies that would be successful when it comes to literacy development. My greatest motivation in pursuing the doctorate is to improve my linguistic skills so that I can contribute to improving the quality of learning and teaching in schools by training the teachers.
Language and Literacy
Personal Experiences in your Literacy Development
Having worked as an assistant teacher for nine years at Northern Border University, I realized that the most effective strategies of acquiring language skills are through writing and speaking as opposed to teaching and learning. This is the main reason why I focus on establishing a strong connection between research and practice as a way of improving my linguistics and language skills. I grew up in a region where there were diverse cultures all using different languages. My home town in Saudi Arabia shared a border with other nations such as Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. I thus grew up appreciating the culture and I naturally became a linguist. I also have a passion for learning other people’s cultures and languages. By taking an initiative to learn other people’s languages, I was able to understand the challenges that people go through in acquiring and becoming fluent in a language.
I have served in various institutions mainly in the area of language and education. Once I completed my master’s degree mainly in the English/ linguistics, I went back home where I focused on improving my skills and knowledge in the linguistic, translation and education field. I usually read a lot of research work and also books such as the one by Steven Pinker and Noam Chomsky which is mainly about language and mind. I have a target of learning to speak more than three languages in the next five years.
Work of an Individual that has influenced my Professional Practice
The works of Noam Chomsky on the language and mind has been a great influence in the pursuit of my professional practice. Chomsky developed the generative grammar which mainly focused on shifting the behavioral approaches to the cognitive approaches in understanding the language and the mind. He was able to publish the book in 2006 which is being used in many institutions across the United States and globally. He argues that language is just a way in which people are able to express their thoughts. The human being thinks in the visual image or the auditory image as opposed to the use of a language to think. We can thus be able to study the human mind through the study of the languages they use. He also suggests the possibility of the existence of a universal grammar since human beings are usually related to a single origin.
This is an interesting area of research that I would love to pursue in an effort of understanding the challenges that the students face when they are trying to learn another language. The concept of universal grammar provides a basis to which all other languages in the world would conform to. A language is usually made up of words and a set of rules that defines the manner in which we combine these words. Effective learning of a language takes place in social interactions since a language is socially embedded to a particular culture. The cognitive abilities of an individual are vital in the understanding of the language which forms the basis for the language and the mind theory. Language processing involves mental computations. A child will most likely develop the language that reflects the linguistic environment that he or she grew up.
Primary needs within the field of literacy
The primary needs in the literacy field include the understanding and the formulation of the written and the spoken language. The processing and the production of the speech sound is also another aspect that must be considered. Understanding a language irrespective of the social concept is vital in enhancing literacy skills. The main challenge in the present curriculum in Saudi Arabia is that it lays emphasis on teaching and learning as the strategy of attaining literacy development. This limits the level of creativity of both the student and the staff as they were limited to the two.
The students should be given an opportunity to participate in discussions as a way of enhancing their literacy skills. It is also important that the teachers are able to use the appropriate vocabulary that most of the students at that level understand. The small children have a challenge of distinguishing the language to use in the different social contexts. Some do not understand the time to use jokes, sarcasm and may also be unable to differentiate between the language to use for the adults and that which they can use for their peers. The aspect of verbal reasoning is a vital aspect of the curriculum that can be enhanced through debates and discussions.
Fostering Change in the Field of Language Development and Literacy
The experiences and skills I have gained from my childhood through school and also from the research of other people show that the most effective strategy for improving language development and literacy in writing and speaking. In order to bring change to this field, I have been able to train the school teachers on effective literacy development skills. I have also been involved in the policy development in various institutions such as in the Northern border University and also served in my capacity as an English teacher at the 7th High school.
I have participated in various workshops such as the teaching vocabulary workshop and the course preparation workshop where we brainstormed ideas and came up with strategies of making the process of literacy development effective. I have also ventured into research on what other people in the field have done. This has given me a lot of motivation to advance my education with an aim of bringing about change in the education sector in Saudi Arabia.
Inhibitors and Facilitators of Change
The greatest inhibitor of change is the curriculum. The present curriculum mainly focuses on passing examinations at the expense of understanding the concepts. The students as a result focus on memorizing and cramming the contents. This reduces the level of creativity of the students and the staff. The vision, mission, and beliefs of an institution determine the success of the change. The students are usually motivated by the mission and vision of the institution which must be in line with the goals of learning. The support of the teaching staff is important in enhancing the skills of the learner where they must facilitate the discussions and also encourage the learner’s discussions, writing, and the learning process. The education priorities thus need to change for the learning process to be effective.
The facilitators of change include the research that has been done with regards to literacy development. The training of the teacher can also assist in the development of the literacy levels in the nation. The government policies as well the institution policies that promote effective learning policies that focus on understanding and acquisition of knowledge act as facilitators of change. The adoption of participatory learning practices through the trained facilitators enhances the learning process. This develops the community as well as bringing about social change. The learner should be treated as the subject where learning is linked to action.
Goals for Doctorate in Language and Literacy
Goals and expectations for pursuing this doctorate
My goal for pursuing the doctorate is to be able to engage in research, teachings, and also in the publication of major research works. I also want to be involved in policy development and the process of changing the curriculum. I would also get the chance of supervising the federal or state literacy programs. My greatest motivation will be to share the knowledge gained with the educator by providing them with the teacher’s education. I would also be engaged in the analysis of the existing educational policies, research, and development of effective policies that would promote participatory learning.