Essay- What is Language? What is Literacy? How are they different?
Teachers must have a sound knowledge and appreciation for language and literacy to be able to make the two concepts a valuable part of a student's curriculum.
This essay will explore the importance of language and literature in a students learning and how they assist in enhancing their development. Most importantly the similarities and differences will be distinguished so that the relationship between the two can be understood. Defining both language and literacy as different entities, but also closely linked concepts, allows readers to bridge together their affiliation when taught to children in a classroom environment.
We can see literacy in having a relationship with language and vice versa. Language and literacy are not seen as separate entities; rather a way of understanding one is part of understanding another. The way in which the two can be integrated can vary. For example, learners cannot develop literary competence without an adequate competence in language. Literacy assists learners in developing their overall language awareness and knowledge about language (Paran 2006). Children must have a sound understanding of the English language to be able to apply their skills into their literacy. When engaging in literacy experiences, children need to have a purpose for applying their language skills and an audience to apply it to (Kervin 2010)
Language is essential in development and growth of a child, as they seek knowledge and understanding, and gain skills through language to explore their world around them. A child requires language to effectively communicate and express their needs and wants and thus, is able to grow and develop as an active member of their community. Language is how we communicate and how we learn. ‘Language is functional- it enables us to get things done’ (Droga & Humphrey 2003, p.1)
Prior to their schooling years, children achieve knowledge through language. Children use language as a tool for making sense of their world and surroundings. This is achieved through various forms of communication, including body language, spoken language, gestures and expressions. Children seek information and knowledge through language to gain understanding and achieve clarification. ‘It is impossible to overestimate the role of language in child development’ (Vialle et al, 2003 p.101). The development of a child’s language, including their vocabulary, begins and takes place in their first years of life, right from birth.
Children’s language is expanded by the many interactions they participate in with both adults and other children. I believe this is how children develop a large vocabulary that is constantly growing and how they make sense of their language that is being used and its purpose and meaning.
As children progress to their schooling years, their language and how they use it will surely differ from that they used at home. Their use of language at home has evolved and been influenced by their immediate environment such as their parents, family and siblings. I believe that each individual family, form their own personal language, as we all grow up in unique, diverse backgrounds, cultures and nationalities. Children will use a less formal yet more intimate language at home, in comparison to the language they will be required to use at school. Once at school, children will come across a more structured and consistent form of language that will be more formal. The child’s language will develop more broadly as they are exposed to increased influences and resources regarding learning. Their language will be used for a greater purpose and they will have many opportunities to apply and practice their language knowledge through literacy. The purpose for the child’s language will differ and be used in greater forms, amongst the KLAs in their schooling. Language is used to...