What does it mean when you hear someone say “My child has good communication skills”?
It means, the child probably has good relationships with classmates and other children of their age, with the help of his or her ability for starting a conversation with others, but also to end it. This is something that belongs to pragmatic language development, which can be improved by playing a variety of interaction and imitation games.
Lipa Village has 3 suggestions on what you can do to improve child’s language development. Feel free to adjust them to your own style and the children you work with. We are sure you’ll come up with great ideas on how to put sparkle on them.
First, choose stories you plan to read or tell that have a specific behavior background. With stores like that, children can learn about acceptable behaviors and propose a solution for an unacceptable behavior.
Then, you can choose a picture book and encourage children to go through specific situations shown in the book. Listen to them telling the story as they see it in the book, and motivate them to create words and express feelings with nonverbal gestures, just like the characters in the picture book.
And last but not least, you can ask children to choose different identities, someone from their family or classroom for example. Assign specific tasks that will require them to respond to situations while pretending to be someone else.
The similarity of pragmatic rules between languages
Look at how nonverbal gestures break language differences in early age. We absolutely loved this interesting research found on Literacy Organization “The Talking Page”:
Because of egocentric thought and social inexperience, young children do not fully understand the indirect requests. For children, the simple pragmatic functions of language are often more important than the specific meanings of sentences. When English speaking preschool children meet in small groups with preschool children who speak another language, they may play together for days without seeming to notice their language differences. An English speaking 4 year old walked up to French speaking 3 year old and spoke in English. The 3 year old answered in French and they proceeded to play, acting as if they both understood, taking turns, nodding in agreement, and so forth. This interaction emphasized the similarity of pragmatic rules between languages while the meaning of words is generally obvious from the context and from other nonverbal cues such as tone of voice.