So much more transfers through the face, hands and voice than we realize. Children need to see a face connected to the sounds and meaning of words. ‘Smart technology’ cannot do this. A image on a screen cannot project and radiate the feeling of language.
Literacy is a living art. A human face tells a story, relates a context, produces a whole theater surrounding a word or even a single letter. Young language learners hunger for the song and color of words that human expression naturally produces.
Two of the most powerful desires in the universe are communication and connection.
Children need to see your face and hear your voice in all its micro-expressive subtlety and warmth. It comes through the eyes. It comes through the vocalizing of sounds and what the mouth and tongue are doing. They need to see and hear it. Blind language learners will tell you they are acutely aware of what the mouth does to produce words and how distinct words land in the ears.
Language also comes through the hands. We speak with our hands, without really thinking about it. Language passes through the emotional intelligence of the speaker expressed in this most wonderful theater of the hands.
Smart technologies cannot interact and sing-talk with you, making micro adjustments as you react inside. There simply is no substitute for actual human warmth and connection.
Just recently we were preparing to do a session of Talking Hands Talking Feet in a kindergarten classroom, and the teacher was using the smart board to teach reading. There was a short, simple word on the board and the computer was pronouncing the individual phonemes in the word with abstract shapes and colors associated with the letters. The teacher got very frustrated and impatient with the children when they simply could not get this.
The same teacher lit up when she saw the very same students stringing similar words together in sequences through alternative versions of the Dump Truck Song.
It’s all to do with communicating from inner life to inner life, intelligence to intelligence, hearts to hearts, neurons mirroring neurons, eyes to eyes, sound to sound, gesture to gesture, face to face, nerve pathways to nerve pathways… That’s where language learning happens, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Be confident in your abilities…your own, inbuilt ‘smart’ technologies. Your face, your hands, your voice…are beautiful.