Speech Communication – Children’s Communication Development

January 29, 2001

This course will be offered fall semester 1999 for the first time as a four semester unit course with at least one full semester unit devoted wholly to service-learning. Students will be introduced to service-learning pedagogy through lecture, discussion, readings, and in-class presentations. They will experience service-learning by engaging in a service4earning project involving preparation, action, reflection, and celebration (PARC).

Course Description: This 3-semester-unit course covers the language and communication behavior of children from birth through early adolescence. Strategies for facilitating language development in children and for improving communication with children are emphasized.

Course Objectives

1. To provide you with working definitions of communication, language, competence, performance, acquisition, learning, communication climate, multiculturalism, and multilingualism.

2. To give you an overview of children’s development in terms of verbal and nonverbal communication.

3. To introduce you to the major theories of language and communication development.

4. To give you models of communication relevant for working with children in a variety of situations.

5. To make you aware of the role of communication and culture in children’s thinking, attitudes, and actions.

6. To provide you with strategies designed to aid language and communication development.

7. To give you a firsthand opportunity to explore an area of personal and professional interest in children’s communication development.

Brenda Miller Power and Ruth Shagoury Hubbard. Language Development: A Reader for Teachers. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. 1996.

Course Grade:
Your grade for SC 422 will be based upon the number of points you earn during the course of the semester. Your points will be based on three exams, a course project and your participation in History Day at HSU.

Exam #1 40 points (Feb. 2)
Exam #2, 105 points
(Feb. 18)
Exam #3 105 points (March 11)

Course Project:
You are to develop a course project in which you explore an area of personal and professional interest in children’s communication development The project may cover children’s communication anytime between birth and the age of fourteen. You are to “go beyond the textbook” and work with people in the community. You may do your project individually, with a partner, or in a small group of 3 people.

I would like to talk to each of you about your project on or before Feb. 9. Be sure to sign up for an appointment with me.

Course Project product: 50 points
Listed below are several options from which to choose. Please note that deadlines are different for the various options!

a. Lesson plans,resources,and/or assistance for “This Is Not a Pipe Dream (Community Service-Learning Project with the Vagabond Players, a local non-profit children’s theater group involving Americorps)

Write lesson plans and collect materials for the play “This Is Not a Pipe Dream,” a play to be performed by a local children’s theatre group for elementary school children. The lesson plans and resources are due by 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 23. You may also work with the director during rehearsals.

b. Public service announcement scripts (Community Service-Learning Project with the Humboldt County Public Health Department and KEET-TV, our PBS station)

Option 1: Write a 15-second, a 20-second, a 30-second, and a 60-second script for a public service announcement against domestic violence which could be performed by children. If you choose to write scripts for the project, the rough drafts of the scripts are due by 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 16. The fine-tuned scripts are due by 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 25.

Option 2: Work with (or direct) the children in Manila on performing the scripts which will be turned into PSA’s for our local community. Write up a report in which you record and reflect upon your work with the children. This write-up is due by 3:00 p.m. on March 6.

c. Paper Option(Community Service-Learning Project with an agency/school of your choice)

Your paper may be based mainly on your own firsthand observations of/experiences with children this semester. You must use and cite at least 2 references in your bibliography (other than class notes). Cite your references on a separate sheet at the end of your paper. Attach a cover page with the tide of your paper, your name(s), your instructor’s name, the course title, and the date. The maximum length of the paper is up to three pages typed single-spaced for an individual and up to four pages typed single-spaced for groups of two or three people. Note: The maximum length does not include the cover page or reference page). The paper is due by 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 27.

d. Children in Manila (Community Service-Learning Project involving Americorps)

Work with the children in Manila in an after school setting for a minimum of 6 hours. Your write-up on your experiences is due by 3:00 p.m. on March 4.

e. Board game option (Community Service-Learning Project with an agency/school of your choice)

Volunteer your time to work with children in our community. Develop a board game with rules which quizzes players on concepts which you learned through your interaction with the children. The board game is due by 3:00 p.m. on March 4.

Course Project Poster & Oral Presentation: 20 Points
The poster is supposed to highlight the main ideas or findings of your course project. One poster is required per project (if you worked with a partner or partners, all of you submit one poster together as a group. A person who worked alone must submit her/his own poster.) The oral presentation time limits are as follows: individual 5-8 minutes; 2 people 7-10 minutes; 3 people 10-14 minutes. You are to present your poster when you give your oral presentation.

History Day participation :20 points
You are to attend and participate in HSU’s History Day event. This community event involves children, their teachers, and their parents throughout the county, Children from grades 3 through 12 participate in this annual event. You will be given specific judging assignments. We will roleplay the judging event in class. You will receive up to 20 points toward your course grade based upon your participation in the, event and our discussion about the event History Day is scheduled for Sat., March 7 from 8 a.m.-2 P.M.

Your final grade for SC 422 will be calculated as follows:

340-307: A 306-305: A- 304-303: B+ 302-273: B 272-271: B- 270-269: C+
268-239: C 238-237: C- 236-235: D+ 234-205: D 204-203: D- Below 203: F

Note of special interest: Excellent attendance and positive participation in class will be noted throughout the semester and may prove beneficial to you if your final course grade falls between two letter grades. By the way, if you do not miss any classes and do all assignments on time, you will be rewarded with 12 points of extra credit! (Such a deal!) If you miss no more than hours of class during the whole semester and do all assignments on time, you will be rewarded with 6 extra credit points. (Hey, not too shabby!)

Late/Make-up policies:

Exams: A Make-up exam will be given only if I give my approval before the exam is given in class. ( You must contact me before the exam is administered.) If I find your excuse reasonable, I will establish a time for you to take the make-up exam. (Please note: You may be asked to show a doctor’s note or other documentation.)

Course project product: The due dates and times have been stated earlier. If you miss the designated deadline date
and time, you may still turn your project product in until 6:00 p.m. on March 11 with a penalty of 12 points.

Course project poster and oral presentation : If you fail to give your oral presentation and exhibit your poster on the date you are scheduled for, you will be penalized 10 points. No oral presentations or posters will be accepted after 6:00 p.m. on March 11.

History Day participation: If you are unable to participate fully in our March 7th session (8 a.m.-2 p.m.), you must contact me immediately.

Please note that since I will be leaving for South Africa in April, our course is scheduled for the first half of the semester.


Week 1: General overview and importance of the field: Heath (1)
1/21-1/23 Miller Power (1), Shagoury Hubbard–pp. 265-271(3), Rice (1)
Week 2: The components of language and communicative competence; development in infancy:
1/26-1/30 Extension: Historical Perspectives & Landmark Studies (1)
Extension: Talk in Schools (II)
Week 3: Test #1 on 2/2 Preschool development; Cognition; Language Models
2/2-2/6 Piaget (1), Vygotsky (1), Chornsky (1), Gardner (1), Halliday (1)
Week 4: Talk in School : Part R articles: pp. 79-116
Week 5: The Great Language Acquisition Debate on 2/16; Test #2 on 2/18
2/16-2/20 Talk in School: Part II articles: pp. 117-180
Week 6: Sociocultural & personal perspectives: Labov (1), Part III articles: pp. 187-213 & pp. 221-
2/23-2/27 261; Second language and culture acquisition
Week 7: Sociocultural & personal perspectives: Part III articles: pp. 262-263 & 272-284
Week 8: Children with differences and disabilities: Martin (1), Wolkomir (3)
3/9-3/11 Test #3 on 3/11

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, insights, etc. My telephone number is 8263779. Let’s have a great mini-semester!

Service-Learning Project, Part 1: 50.points
You will assist in the development of a potential script for A Wrinkle in Time to be performed by the Vagabond Players, a local children’s theater group.

Service-Learning Project, Part 2 250 points
You are to engage in a community-based project in which you provide authentic service to children and/or children-oriented agencies. A minimum of 15 hours of verifiable contact time is required to earn full credit. Keep a journal (written or taped) in which you report on what you did and what you learned. Specific questions/assignments will be given during the course of the semester. At the end of the semester you are to create a visual display in which you illustrate key concepts which you experienced by doing your service-learning project. You are required to write four letters summarizing your experiences: one to the community partner, one to your professor (DOC!), one to Ms. Erika Freihage (Service-Learning Coordinator at the CSU Chancellor’s Office), and one to Governor Gray Davis.

Note: Excellent attendance and positive participation in class will be acknowledged. If you do not miss any classes, participate actively and positively in class, and do all assignments on time, you will be rewarded with 15 points of extra credit! (Such a deal!)

Late/Make-up policies: Exams: A make-up exam will be given only if I give my approval before the exam is given in class. (You must contact me before the exam is administered.) If I find your excuse reasonable, I will establish a time for you to take the make-up exam. (You may be asked to show a doctor’s note or other documentation.) Service-Learning Project Due Dates: For each assignment turned in late, five points will be deducted from the total possible points.

School: Humboldt State University
Professor: Dr. Armeda C. Reitzel
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