"Fewer children starting school can speak in sentences, prompting an investigation by education chiefs. ..Schools around the country have noted a decline in the spoken language abilities of new entrants from all backgrounds.. School leaders and a specialist in linguistics suspect the problem could be down to children using gadgets too often and parents not talking to them enough.
The ability of youngsters to express themselves in the classroom is essential to their cognitive development and future learning. ..
New starters could have the spoken-language ability of 2- or 3-year-olds, and even those whom teachers viewed as "average" often came in at levels below a 5-year-old. ..
Julie Cowan, deputy principal at Willowbank School in Auckland, believed there were many causes:'Maybe the fact that children are spending more time on devices and watching television is part of it. Talking as a parent, you are so busy and you have to get to work and drop the kids off.. we spend a lot of time talking at our kids, not necessarily talking with them.'..
Dr Jannie van Hees of the University of Auckland completed her doctoral study on oral language in the classroom for 5-and 6-year-olds. .. 'Children are spending too much time in front of the digital devices and hurrying from one place to the other. It is simple, free and easy to have conversations with your children. But increasingly, I think, families aren't...You can't take for granted, just because you are educated parents, that you talk effectively with children.
The best growing linguistic time...is just those simple times of doing plain things with children but doing lots of conversational exchanges.'"
Nicholas Jones: NZ Pupils Struggling to Speak. Weekend Herald. The New Zealand Herald. Saturday September 6, 2014.
"He may have been dubbed 'the master evangelist of the digital age', but even the late Steve Jobs worried about the effect technology has on children.
While he persuaded millions that Apple's chic but pricey gadgets were a must-buy,..he prevented his own children from using iPads and limited their access to the internet generally.
..the Jobs' children would instead sit around a long dinner table in the kitchen and actually talk to one another. ...
Walter Isaacson, the author of the biography called simply Steve Jobs, told him later that 'every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things.'...
Chris Anderson, ex-editor of technology magazine Wired, who has five children aged 6 to 17, agreed with the Jobs family approach.
'My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and openly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules' ..'That's because we have seen the dangers of technology first-hand. I don't want to see that happen to my kids.'"
Ian Johnston: Apple Guru Kept His Kids Away from iPads. Weekend Herald. The New Zealand Herald. Saturday September 13, 2014.
More newspaper excerpts this week, sounding an alarm for parents to take stock of home life.
Again, over use or inappropriate use of technology is being painted as the cause that is thwarting children's development.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ no matter if your child is 5 or 17years old, how is their speaking ability? Are they relaxed in speech and involve themselves voluntarily in conversations (I don't mean arguments and criticisms)? If your answer is an honest 'yes', then they are obviously doing well and you can assume that their technology use is appropriate. If you are unsure or they are not communicating, are recluse.. then the suggestion has been given for you to intentionally start today to talk with your child and not at them, during the simple, plain times of the day. You could also take up the Jobs' example at the mealtime table.
If you know right now that this is a problem at your house, you are the only people who can change the situation, so you need to make a plan, or there will be no change.