Essay on The Theory Of Language And Literacy Development

1164 Words Nov 15th, 2015 null Page
How language and literacy develops has long been a matter of theoretical debate, where numerous academics have been unable to decide on a single theory which can explain the most effective method of learning which can have the greatest effect on the cognitive development of an individual. B.F. Skinner’s (1957) theory of behaviourism and Lev Vygotsky’s (1978) Social Interactionist theory are two such learning models, each with their own distinct differences and implications when applied within an early childhood setting. This essay will focus on comparing these two theories through an analysis of each method’s key characteristics, comparable features and their educational implications within a teaching environment. This discussion will be utilised to shape a perspective to establish what theory of language and literacy development is the most effective learning style, and which yields greater results within a modern educational context.

B.F. Skinner’s (1957) Behaviourist theory was founded on the idea that “language is learnt by means of imitation, practice, feedback or reinforcement of accomplishments” (Hulit & Howard, 2006, p. 19; Lightbown & Spada, 2006, p. 10). This model of learning considers a child to be an “Empty Vessel” where they are born with no knowledge or context as to the world around them. Relying on the surrounding environment, diverse stimuli and experiences are required to provide prospects for imitation and reinforcement to establish learnt…

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