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Talk to your Body

Jul 04, 2015



A presentation by Jan Townend, a member of our online e-Consultancy Team and a speech and language therapist, and specialist teacher in dyslexia and literacy, currently working on a project Talk to your Baby in Tanzania.

Dyslexia International May 2012 Newsletter.

  • 1. Talk toYour Baby Janet & DavidTownend

2. Improving early language development leads to Bigger vocabulary Better sentence construction Earlier reading and writing readiness Readiness for learning other languages Enhanced cognitive potential but, are babies in Tanzania getting a good enough early language experience? 3. Encouragements and Challenges Are you sure Tanzanian mothers dont talk to their babies? Of course mothers interact with their babies That makes complete sense to me Go for it! and finally, from MoEVT Lets do it Many meetings followed..... 4. We went to the field We piloted the attitude questionnaire We taught a lesson to Standard 5, about the importance of talking to babies We talked to groups of mothers in village churches 5. Now the project looks like this Key activities (to be completed): Community-based research Focus on community reach for intervention Incorporation of learning into existing early childhood development (ECD) provision Incorporation in curricula (primary, adult & training of relevant professionals) Training of trainers Learning packs for self-study Information campaign 6. Partner organisations (so far): Inter-ministerial Task Force (3 ministries) UDOM WAMA Children in Crossfire VSO TECDEN Monduli Pastoralist Development Initiative + UDSM, UWEZO, World Bank, Save the Children, TAWREF, CSWD (Mafia) are getting involved 7. What the stakeholders are doing now Shifting ownership from volunteers to Tanzanian stakeholders. Expressing their strong desire to bring about behaviour change, starting now. Distributing responsibilities between stakeholders. Following up their commitment to using existing routes Focusing on rural poor, as the most needy group Making progress on the key activities 8. Research evidence 9. Nobel prize winning economist and child development expert, James Heckman, wrote recently: Skill formation starts in the womb. The early years of a childs life before the child enters school lay the foundations for all that follows 10. Neural connections for language (Harvard University) Are established mostly in the first year Depend upon a good language environment Question: How many words do you think an infant in Tanzania typically hears at home in one hour? 11. Number of words heard 12. Literacy acquisition depends on language levels at 24 months (Blanden, 2006) Academic success correlates very highly with size of vocabulary at age 5 (Roulstone et al., 2011) 13. International researchers agree that: Language skill is central to intellectual and social development in children (Cain & Oakhill, 2007) Some say it is the most important factor (Harvard University) Language development is most active in the first year of life (Ryan & Deci, 2000) Early language experience is the most important experience for children to achieve their potential (Sylva et al., 2008) 14. Why start early? 15. Cost to benefit ratio of interventions in early education Is highest in the first three years (Doyle et al., 2007) This is before the start of formal education (Heckman, 2011) 16. What affects ECD? 17. What affects ECD? Home environment is even more important than length of time at preschool 18. Conclusion Parents must be their childs first teachers Education starts at birth 19. Effects of socio-economic status 20. The rich win on Better school readiness Larger vocabulary Fewer behaviour problems This is why Zungumza na Mtoto Mchanga must target the disadvantaged. In Tanzania, that means the rural poor. 21. What do we already know in Tanzania? Anecdotal & observation evidence so far: Little verbal interaction between parents and babies Parents do not expect babies to need / understand language Hardly anyone knows of the importance of early language 22. There is now a need for: Baseline research to establish present language experience of babies Attitude survey to establish current beliefs & practice about language & babies Investigation of the effectiveness of capacity building among families Reporting of the findings 23. References Harvard University Centre on the Developing Child. In Brief: the science of early childhood development. . 2007. Blanden, J. Bucking the trend what enables those who are disadvantaged in childhood to succeed later in life?. 2006. Cited in DfE/DoH Supporting families in the foundation years. London, UK: HMSO, 2011. Roulstone, al. The role of language in childrens early educational outcomes. London, UK: DfE, 2011. Cain, K. And Oakhill, J. Childrens comprehension problems in oral and written language. Guilford Press, 2007. Harvard University Centre on the Developing Child. In Brief: the science of early childhood development. . 2007. Ryan, R. and Deci, E. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: classic definitions and new directions. Journal of Contemporary Educational Psychology, vol. 25, pp. 54-67. 2000. Sylva, K. et al. Effective pre-school and primary education 3-11 project: pre- school, school and family influences on childrens development during Key Stage 2 (age 7-11). 2008. Cited in DfE/DoH Supporting families in the foundation years. London, UK: HMSO, 2011. Taylor, M. The politics of parenting. In Brack, D. et al. Re-inventing the state: social liberalism for the 21st Century. 2007. Doyle, O. et al. Early childhood intervention: rationale, timing and efficacy. 2007. Heckman, J. The American family in black and white: a post-racial strategy for improving skills to promote equality, 2011.